10 Glute Activation Exercises to Keep Your Butt Strong

10 Glute Activation Exercises - create your own glute activating dynamic warmup for your next run or strength training workout.

Recently I’ve been working with two athletes who are recovering from injury. We’ve been incorporating glute activation exercises into each of their warm-ups, to prepare their muscles for the session, and ensure they are using their glutes as effectively as possible during their workout. Maybe you’ve used some of these glute activation exercises yourself, if you’ve ever had an injury partially due to weak glutes.

Here’s the thing, though – nearly all of us have weak glutes.

It makes sense, since if you take a look at your daily life, the vast majority of us do an awful lot of sitting, sometimes for long stretches at a time. Office jobs, driving, Netflix and chill – it all contributes to us becoming lazy asses…literally. šŸ˜‰ Sitting on our glutes, compressing them and not using them for periods of time leads to lack of blood flow and oxygen to the tissue. When we walk, or squat, or lunge, or run, then, our glutes are not going to be the muscles doing the majority of the work. Instead, other lower body movers like the quadriceps and hamstrings are going to take over. This puts us at risk of injury, and is also just an ineffective way to work out. The gluteus maximus is one of the strongest muscles in our body – imagine if it was working to potential, how much more effective would your workout be?

The three muscles that make up the glutes are gluteus maximus (used primarily for hip extension and external rotation); gluteus medius (used primarily for hip abduction and internal rotation), and gluteus minumus (which assists in hip abduction and internal rotation). The glute activation exercises I’ve put together for you here target all three muscles.

How to Use These Glute Activation Exercises

As I note in the video below, you do not need to do all of these exercises at once for your warm up! Select 3 or 4 of the exercises and put them together to do before each workout or run. I suggest aiming for somewhere between 15 and 20 repetitions, and usually 1 set or maybe 2 is enough to get your glutes firing.

What Else Can You Do?

Tight hip flexors can also potentially inhibit your glutes from working properly, so it can be helpful to incorporate a couple of hip flexor stretches, or some hip flexor foam rolling, into your glute activation warm up. 

These are all bodyweight exercises, but you can add a band to increase resistance and difficulty once these exercises become easier (either a loop band like these, or one you can tie to your required resistance, like this one. <– affiliate links). You can also use the band around the bottom of your knees to do lateral leg lifts, lateral lunges, or monster walks, to add even more variety to your glute activation warm up.

Check out my video below, detailing why glute activation exercises are useful, followed by video description of each exercise. (If you want to skip the intro and get right to the exercises, you can start watching at 2:30! šŸ™‚


Do you use glute activation exercises?

How do you warm up before running or strength training?