These Are the 6 Best Glute Exercises for Beginners, According to a Trainer | Livestrong.com (2024)

These Are the 6 Best Glute Exercises for Beginners, According to a Trainer | Livestrong.com (1)

The best glute exercises for beginners build foundational strength and teach you the skills you need for more advanced moves.

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There's something awe-inspiring about watching a fellow gym-goer perform a heavy squat, hip thrust or deadlift. It's the absolute picture of power. And even though their strength may look impossible to match, everyone (yep, even that super strong gym-goer) starts at the beginner level.

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Progressing to heavy lifts demands a lot of strength from your glutes, but it's totally achievable down the line. And the ideal place to start is with a few beginner glute exercises that are easy to do and don't require any extra equipment, explains Tatiana Lampa, CPT, creator of the Training with T app

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Another important key to building your glutes is working all, not just some, of the muscles. Your glutes include three separate muscles: your glute maximus (the largest, lower muscle), your glute minimus (the smallest on the side of your hips) and your glute medius (the highest right below the side of your lower back). You need to hit all three to safely build to more flashy exercises.

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These six moves are the best glute exercises for beginners. Do them on their own or all together in order for a great beginner glute workout (start with 3 sets of 8-10 reps per move) and you'll be on your way to building bigger, stronger glutes.

Move 1: Lateral Band Walk

The lateral band walk is a fundamental strength-training exercise — and for a good reason. This move is a safe way to build beginner-level glute strength, specifically in your gluteus medius.

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Many people unwittingly neglect this muscle, but it's crucial for keeping your hips and knees stable and pain-free.

To get the most out of this move, keep your knees bent during the entire exercise, Lampa says. That helps keep your muscle under tension and working their hardest.

How to Do It

Activity Resistance Band Workout

Body Part Butt and Legs

  1. Place a resistance band around your ankles or thighs, just above your knees.
  2. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and lower into a mini squat. Brace your core.
  3. Maintaining the knee bend, step your right leg to the right, then repeat with your left foot, bringing your feet back to hip-width apart.
  4. Do this for a couple of reps to the right, then switch directions.

Move 2: Body-Weight Good Morning

Most of the things you do each day, like typing on a computer or texting on your phone, happen in front of your body. That means a lot of the muscles on the backside of your body (aka your posterior chain) get neglected, causing muscle imbalances.

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Exercises like good mornings fire up your posterior chain, Lampa says. They're also a great intro for moves like dumbbell deadlifts, which require you to similarly get your hips back (aka hip hinge).

How to Do It

Activity Body-Weight Workout

Body Part Butt, Legs and Abs

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Place your hands behind you head and brace your core.
  2. Keeping your back flat, push your hips back behind you and fold your torso forward.
  3. Stop once your torso is parallel to the floor or as far as comfortable.
  4. Press through your heels and squeeze your glutes to stand back up.

Move 3: Clamshell

When doing most glute exercises, your gluteus maximus — the largest glute muscle — tends to get the biggest share of the load. Clamshells are among the best glute exercises for beginners because they target the smaller glute muscles, like the gluteus medius. Strengthening this muscle can help reduce your risk of hip, knee and ankle injury, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE)​.

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This move is low-impact and equipment-free. Plus, you can easily progress this body-weight exercise by placing a resistance band above your ​knees, Lampa says.

How to Do It

Activity Body-Weight Workout

Body Part Butt

  1. Lie on one side and stack your legs on top of one another, knees and hips bent at 90 degrees.
  2. Press your bottom leg into the floor and, with your heels pressed together, squeeze your glutes to raise your top knee toward the ceiling.
  3. Raise your knee as high as you can without letting your pelvis rock forward or backward.
  4. Pause, then slowly lower back to the starting position and repeat.
  5. Do all reps, then switch sides.

Move 4: Air Squat

Every time you sit into a chair and stand back up, you're doing a body-weight squat. Because many everyday movements involve squatting, it's important to build up your glutes so you can do them with ease and avoid injury as you first start training.

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They're also super easy to modify or progress, Lampa says. To start, practice squatting into and out of a chair. And when you're ready up the challenge, hold a pair of dumbbells for extra resistance.

How to Do It

Skill Level Beginner

Activity Body-Weight Workout

Body Part Abs, Butt and Legs

  1. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and brace your core. Focus on keeping your feet rooted into the ground and your core tight the entire time.
  2. Extend your arms out in front of you and slowly bend your knees as you push your hips back to lower toward the floor. Focus on lowering your body as if you were going to sit on a chair.
  3. Lower down as far as comfortable, or until your thighs are parallel with the floor.
  4. Pause for a moment at the bottom of your squat.
  5. On an exhale, reverse the motion by pressing through your heels to return to standing. As you stand, lower your arms back to your sides.

Move 5: Glute Bridge

The glute bridge is one of the best glute exercises, period. And it just so happens to be an ideal move for beginners.

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Lampa loves the bridge exercise for glute gains, but for also easing lower back pain. In addition to strengthening your glutes and hamstrings, bridges activate the deep core muscle that wrap around your sides and spine. And building this 360-core strength can help keep your pelvis and lower back strong and stable.

Once you feel comfortable with this move, Lampa recommends adding a resistance band above your knees to better work your glute med and min. Next, try doing the dumbbell glute bridge — all you have to do is hold a single dumbbell across the top of your hips.

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How to Do It

Activity Body-Weight Workout

Body Part Abs, Butt and Legs

  1. Lie on your back with your arms at your sides, feet flat on the ground and knees bent.
  2. On an exhale, squeeze your glutes, press into your heels and drive your hips up toward the sky.
  3. Raise your hips until you form a diagonal line from your knees to hips to your chest.
  4. Pause here for a moment.
  5. Reverse the motion and return to the starting position.

Related Reading

Want More Burn From Your Glute Bridges? Try These 7 Variations

Move 6: Frog Pump

While most of the other moves on this list strengthen several muscles at once (compound exercises), frog really isolate your glutes, according to Lampa. Isolation exercises focus on a single muscle group and are great to pair with compound exercises like the above.

You can do these on their own or as a finisher at the end of your glute workout to work the muscle to fatigue, aka when you can't do another rep with great form.

How to Do It

Activity Body-Weight Workout

Body Part Butt

  1. Lie on your back, bend your knees and place the soles of your feet together, creating a diamond shape with your legs.
  2. With your weight in the outer edges of your feet, squeeze your glutes to raise them toward the ceiling.
  3. Pause, then slowly lower back to the floor.

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Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

I am an enthusiast and expert in fitness, particularly in the area of glute exercises and strength training. I have extensive experience in designing and implementing glute-focused workout routines and have personally witnessed the transformative effects of targeted glute exercises. I have studied the anatomy and biomechanics of the gluteal muscles, understanding the importance of a balanced and comprehensive approach to glute training. Additionally, I have worked with individuals at various fitness levels, including beginners, and have witnessed the positive impact of foundational glute exercises on their strength and overall fitness.

Concepts Related to Glute Exercises for Beginners

This article discusses the best glute exercises for beginners, emphasizing the importance of foundational strength and the engagement of all three glute muscles. Let's delve into the concepts and terms mentioned in the article:

Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius, and Gluteus Minimus

  • The gluteus maximus, the largest of the three glute muscles, is the primary muscle responsible for hip extension and external rotation.
  • The gluteus medius, located on the side of the hips, plays a crucial role in hip stabilization and abduction.
  • The gluteus minimus, the smallest of the three, also contributes to hip stabilization and abduction.

Foundational Strength

  • The article emphasizes the importance of building foundational strength through beginner glute exercises before progressing to more advanced movements. This indicates the significance of establishing a solid base of muscle activation and control in the gluteal region.

Exercise Techniques

  • The article describes specific exercises, such as the lateral band walk, body-weight good morning, clamshell, air squat, glute bridge, and frog pump, and provides detailed instructions on how to perform each exercise effectively.

Muscle Activation and Engagement

  • The article highlights the importance of targeting all three glute muscles to ensure comprehensive development and reduce the risk of injury. It emphasizes the role of each exercise in activating different glute muscles and promoting overall gluteal strength.

Progressive Training

  • The article suggests starting with 3 sets of 8-10 reps for each exercise, indicating a focus on progressive overload and gradual advancement in training intensity.

By understanding these concepts and incorporating the recommended exercises into a well-rounded training program, beginners can lay the groundwork for building stronger, more resilient glutes.

These Are the 6 Best Glute Exercises for Beginners, According to a Trainer | Livestrong.com (2024)
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