Gluteus maximus exercises to try at home
From Medically reviewed by Danielle Hildreth, CPT — Written by Zawn Villines
Regularly doing gluteus maximus exercises can help strengthen the buttocks, hips, and legs.
A group of three muscles makes up the hips and buttocks. The gluteus maximusTrusted Source is the outermost part of this group, and it is the largest of the three.
The gluteus maximus provides important for motions such as standing, walking, and running.
Several gluteus maximus exercises can be easy to practice at home. They can benefit most people, especially those interested in strengthening their hips and buttocks.
Below, learn about several of these home exercises, why strengthening the gluteus maximus matters, and more.
An ideal beginner exercise, glute bridges are safe for most people. To perform one:
- Lie on the back with the knees bent and the feet flat on the floor.
- Engage the abdominal muscles and slowly lift the hips. Aim for the knees to be at angle close to 90 degrees.
- Hold the raised position for a few counts, lower the hips, and repeat.
Sometimes called a leg lift, the side-lying hip abduction is an equipment-free exercise that is accessible to most beginners. To increase the difficulty, a person can add an ankle weight to their top leg.
To perform a side-lying hip abduction:
- Lie on one side with the legs straight. Support the head with one hand, resting on the elbow.
- Flex the foot of the top leg, and lift the leg while engaging the core. Keep the top leg straight. Lower it slowly.
- Repeat 10–12 times.
- Lie on the other side and repeat.
This variation on the traditional lunge directly targets the glutes. Also called a curtsy lunge, it effectively targets the glutes while being less strenuous on the knees.
To perform this lunge:
- Stand straight, with the feet together and the arms at the sides.
- Engage the core and step the left foot back, crossing it behind the right. Keep the body’s weight in the right foot.
- Bend both knees to squat, then stand up.
- Alternate sides and repeat.
This challenging exercise is more intense than a traditional lunge. It works the glutes and the cardiovascular system.
To perform a lunge jump:
- Stand straight, then take a step forward with the right leg.
- Bend both knees to lower the body into a lunge.
- Jump up, switching the position of the legs so that the left is now in front. Land, going into a lunge with the knees safely bent.
- Jump again and repeat.
This low-impact exercise is easy on the knees and ideal for beginners. It requires no equipment, but to increase the difficulty, a person can add ankle weights.
- Begin on all fours, with the knees bent.
- Keeping the back straight and the core stable, contract the left glute muscles and slowly lift the left leg, keeping the knee bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Return to the starting position, then repeat on the other side.
Activation exercises target large muscles or groups of muscles. They “wake up” the muscles, preparing them for exercise.
A person might use them as part of a warmup, physical therapy routine, or a regular workout.
According to a 2020 reviewTrusted Source, an exercise called the step-up likely offers the best gluteus maximus activation. To perform it, stand up straight with a step or block in front of the body. Step up onto the block with one foot first, then the other. Then step back down.
Other exercises that activate the glutes include:
Squats: Starting with the knees hip-width apart, bend the knees and lower the hips and buttocks slightly backward, as if sitting in a chair. Return to the starting position.
Lunges: Take a step forward, then slowly bend the knees and lower the body so that the knees bend at a 90-degree angle.
To increase the intensity of these exercises, try holding weights while performing them. Gradually increase the weights to build strength.
Strength training is important for overall health.
As a 2020 study found, spending 2 or moreTrusted Source hours on strength training each week correlates with a lower risk of death. Other factors — such as diet, stress levels, and sleep — likely also contribute to this risk.
Other benefits of strength training includeTrusted Source:
- Stronger muscles: Strengthening exercises help the muscles work more effectively. Glute exercises may help a person gain strength to do regular activities, such as lifting, standing, or walking.
- Reduced pain: Strengthening exercises may relieve chronic pain from certain conditions, such as arthritis.
- Improved metabolism: Over time, increasing muscle mass may increase the metabolism.
- Lower the risk of falls: Strengthening the muscles can improve coordination, reducing the risk of falls. It can also help strengthen the bones, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
Strengthening the gluteus maximus may help the body feel more stable while walking, climbing, standing, or lifting.
A person can do gluteus maximus exercises at home, with little or no equipment. This makes them easy to incorporate into an existing fitness routine.
Muscle strengthening exercises can make a person feel stronger, reduce chronic pain, increase metabolism, and lower the risk of falls.