Top Glute Strength Exercises - The Barbell Physio

Top Glute Strength Exercises


Top Glute Strength Exercises

Sub-optimal glute strength is one of the most common faults I see in athletes. This can lead to a host of injuries as well as decreased performance.

We’ve previously discussed using the push press as a test of hip (glute) versus knee dominance in athletes. Analyzing an athlete’s movement while doing high rep push press’s will show their default mechanics. Below left, the athlete is not effectively load her hips and demonstrating a quad dominance pattern. To the right, she is loading her hips to most efficiently develop power.

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The Push Press is a great full body #exercise that allows for transfer of forces from the #hips through the #core and to the upper extremities. It also makes a great assessment tool in athletes to see if they are effectively using their #glutes. In the picture to the left, the athlete is #quad dominant and not effectively loading her hips. To the right, she loads the glutes and hamstrings, which will allow for a more powerful push press. Read more in my #CrossFit Journal article “Hip and Athletic Performance” at #wod #mobility #fitness #workout #barbell #heavysquatsfixeverything #pickitupandputitdown #weightlifting #CSCstrong #biomechanics #getglutes #functionalmovement #CrossFit

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You can read more about this test, and another glute activation test in my CrossFit Journal Article “The Hip and Athletic Performance”.

If your glute strength is sub-optimal, here are my favorite glute activation drills. These can be used as part of a program designed to build up glute strength or as a warm up drill to get the glutes ready to work.


Side-Lying Clams

A very simply, low-level drill but when you really focus on pushing your foot into the wall and keeping the foot flat this clamshell variation will make your glutes light up. Works great as a warm up drill or as a way for those having trouble feeling their glutes work or always cramping in their hamstrings  to get back in touch with their glutes.

Frog Pumps

This is another lower level exercise that I’ll transition athletes towards for higher reps making it (1) a great glute hypertrophy exercise and (2) another great drill for those who tend to feel their hamstrings take over glute exercises.

McGill Side Plank

Another great exercise that also incorporates more lumbar stabilization at the same time.


Glute Bridge Variation

This simple variation on your standard glute bridge takes it to the next level. Emphasize a glute squeeze prior to each repitition.


Side Plank with Hip Abduction

I’ve written about this exercise previously….this exercise will like your butt on fire. Take your standard side plank and raise/lower the top leg repeatedly. HUGE glute medius and maximus activation.

Single Leg Deadlifts

When performed properly there are few exercises that work the hips as well as the SLDL does. Focus on the keys discussed in this video to get the most out of this exercise.

Hip Thrusts

Whether banded, with a barbell, bodyweight, or single legged, hip thrusts are an awesome glute exercise to build serious butt strength!


Ready for your four week glute fix? Check out out BULLETPROOF GLUTES program for four weeks of workouts designed to build up your back side!