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What are the Different Types of Gluteus Maximus Exercises?

Jessica Ellis
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The gluteus maximus is the largest and outermost muscle that makes up the buttocks. The shape and tone of the gluteus maximus, or “glutes,” can play a major part in creating a firm, strong, overall silhouette. Gluteus maximus exercises help build strength and improve the muscle tone throughout the whole buttocks, hips, and thighs. It is important to remember that spot training isn't possible, and an overall strength and exercise program may be necessary to maximize results.

It is nearly impossible to work only the muscles of the buttocks; nearly every exercise for the glutes will also work the hips, lower back, and thighs. This can be extremely beneficial, as it packs muscular work into fewer exercises. There are many different exercises that can benefit the glutes, from ballet to weight machines.

Strength training moves are often an effective way to work the glutes. Some of these require no equipment and can be endlessly modified to focus on specific muscle groups. Squats are one of the simplest and most versatile gluteus maximus exercises. To perform a basic squat, stand with legs hip-width apart and bend legs as if sitting down in a chair. Do not let knees travel over the toes; for best results, keep weight firmly in the backside.

Squats are great gluteus maximus exercises because there are so many variations. Add dumbbells for arm work, or try walking squats or lunges to work the thighs as well. Be sure to push back to standing using the muscles of the buttocks; it is important to remember that both holding a squat position and performing up-down repetitions can be beneficial. Keep the spine straight and remember to resist against the movement to provide extra work for the muscles.

Hip extensions are another type of exercise that can be done with or without equipment. For these gluteus maximus exercises, put forearms and knees on the ground and lift one leg behind the body and up. To add resistance, tuck a dumbbell behind the knee and keep the leg bent while extending. Weight machine versions of this exercise allow the user to adjust weight load to increase muscle work.

Many cardiovascular workouts are great gluteus maximus exercises as well. Almost any sport or fitness routine that relies on the legs for propulsion will provide some glute work. Hiking, biking uphill, soccer, and dance are all great gluteus maximus exercises. Many experts recommend cross training with a cardiovascular routine and a strength training workout to improve strength and fitness level faster.

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Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for The Health Board. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.
Discussion Comments
By cloudel — On Feb 08, 2013

I started doing gluteus maximus strengthening exercises when I was a teenager, and this really helped me develop curves. I had a flat rear before I began!

The exercise that worked best for me was using the stairstepper. It was attached to my dad's weight machine, and it had five different settings, so I could adjust the resistance.

I worked my way up to number four over time, and it provided a lot of resistance. If I wanted more of an aerobic workout, I would do it on one or two and just work out for a longer period of time, but if I was just concerned with developing my glutes, I would set it to number four and do ten minutes of stair stepping.

By StarJo — On Feb 08, 2013

@kylee07drg – You can just stand still and squeeze your glutes together. Squeeze them for one second and then release, and do maybe twenty of these to start out.

I have worked up to doing fifty every other day. I believe that this exercise keeps my glutes tight and toned.

It can look a little strange to other people, so you might want to do it in private. I caught my neighbor watching me doing the glute squeezes one day, and I felt embarrassed!

By kylee07drg — On Feb 08, 2013

What would you say the best gluteus maximus exercises are? I am looking for some that focus mostly on the glutes, though I know that it's impossible to use only these muscles.

By healthy4life — On Feb 07, 2013

To me, all gluteus maximus muscle exercises are challenging. I made the mistake of starting out doing ten squats in a row, and I was sore for days afterward.

When doing any of these exercises, whether you're biking or squatting, it's important to start off slowly and build up to a more challenging routine. If you do too much at first, you'll just injure yourself and have to postpone your exercise.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
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