Dr. Yolanda Fisher (Osteopath)

Three Fave Glute Exercises

From my personal experience in the gym and in the clinic, time and time again I see the importance of gluteus muscle strength.  Improving glute strength has been seen to improve over all performance in weight training (like the dead lift) and symptoms of low back, pelvic and hip pain. 

The gluteus muscles (comprised of the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus) are some of the largest muscles in the body and are responsible for much of the pelvic and hip movement and stability. As a power lifter, as well as an osteopath, I know the gluteus muscles can withstand significant training and load, but they are often those most neglected. 

Here are my top three favourite exercises for gluteus strength: 

1. Glute bridge

For extra resistance, add a light resistance band around the knees (this is particularly useful for people who struggle to “find” and activate their glute muscles).

For extra resistance, add a light resistance band around the knees (this is particularly useful for people who struggle to “find” and activate their glute muscles).

The glute bridge is one of the best ways to build over all glute strength. It is relatively easy to perform and for most people helps them create a good mind-muscle connection (something I find a lot of people struggle with). 

Starting position: - Lying on your back with your knees bent with feet placed about a hands distance away from your bum, slightly wider than hip width and turned out. 

  • From here, lift your bum off the ground, pushing through the heels and visualising the tip of your tail bone tilting towards the ceiling.

  • As you lift up ensure your upper back remains in constant contact with the floor, rib cage down and knees remain separated. Lower hips back to the ground and repeat.

Repeat 5-10 slow and controlled repetitions for beginners, 10-15 for intermediate and 20-30 for advanced.


2. crab walk

Starting position: - Standing with band placed around knees, ankle or balls of feet (the latter being the hardest). 

- ‘Hinge’ through the hips by pushing them backwards and bending slightly, keeping back flat and relaxed through the knees. Weight in the heels. 

  • Keeping constant tension on the band and knees separated, walk to the side leading with the outside of the heel.

  • Feet should always remain at least 30cm apart (this means taking small shuffle steps with each foot).

Repeat right and left 15-20 slow and controlled repetitions for beginners, 20-25 for intermediate and 30-35 for advanced. 

3. Hip extension/kick back. 


Starting position:  - Kneeling on all fours, with hands directly under shoulders and knees under hips. 

  • Straighten one leg behind you with toe touching the floor. 

  • From here, lift the straight leg up off the ground until the thigh is about horizontal, squeeze the gluteus muscles and slowly lower back to the ground. 

  • At all times during the exercise, the lower back should remain flat (no arching as you lift the leg) and core relatively engaged. 

Repeat right and left 10-15 slow and controlled repetitions for beginners, 15-20 for intermediate and 25-30 for advanced. 

During these exercises, if you struggle to feel the muscle engage, place your hands on the buttock muscles to help strengthen the mind-muscle connection. If you can feel the muscle harden under your finger tips, chances are you are doing it correctly.