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5 Exercises to Engage the Glutes

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Weak glutes are linked to Achilles tendonitis, runner's knee, and IT band syndrome. 

Your gluteus maximus is responsible for your hip extension as your leg extends out behind you. Sprinters use their kick for maximum power, but long-distance runners conserve energy throughout their run by not coming to a full extension, which can leave the gluteus maximus weak.

Here are five exercises you can do at home that will engage your glutes!


The Glute Circuit

Reverse lunge 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions

Rear leg extensions 3 sets of 15 alternating legs

Donkey Kicks 3 sets of 15 alternating legs

Lateral Leg Raise 3 sets of 15 alternating legs 

Clam 3 sets of 15

Perform these exercises 1 - 2 times per week to keep those glutes activated!



5 Exercises to Help Engage the Glutes:

Reverse Lunge

Stand tall with one foot on a sliding disc or cloth. Rest the hands firmly on your hips and set your feet shoulder-width apart. This is your starting position.

Slide the foot that is on the disc backward and lower your hips so that your knees form a 90-degree angle—your weight should be in the heel of the front foot—pause at the bottom. Drive the front heel down into the floor and pull the other leg forward to return to standing position. 


Rear Leg Extensions

Start in an “all-fours” position, with hands directly under shoulders and knees directly under hips. Extend your left leg out fully feeling the contraction in the glute.  

Do not hyperextend your back on this exercise, keep your core fully engaged, draw knee back in and extend again for a second repetition. 

You can use a resistance band in this exercise for progression. 


Lateral Leg Raise

Start by lying on your left side with your left knee bent slightly for the stability of the left hip. Extend your right leg fully out, make sure your hips are stacked one right over the other. Your right toe points down to the floor – this way your gluteus medius is the muscle that is worked. Lift the leg up to approximately a 45-degree angle and then lower with control back to parallel with the floor.


Donkey Kicks

Start on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and knees directly under your hips. Engage your core so that balance is maintained throughout the exercise. Raise your right leg up, with a 90-degree bend in your knee, and dorsi flex the foot so the sole of your shoe is parallel to the floor.

Engaging your glute, pulse the heel of your foot up toward the ceiling. This is a small movement directly from the glute not from the lower back. Add a resistance band to increase resistance.



Lying on your side with hips, knees, and ankles all stacked on top of each other. Bend knees toward your chest at a 90-degree angle from your hips. Lift the top knee up and rotate it back in an arch, do not shift the hips at all. Lower the top leg back so that it is parallel to the floor and repeat 15-20 times.  

To progress this exercise add in the booty blaster by raising your heels off the floor. Keep ankles together, and lift your top knee to open through the thighs and contract the glute medius.  Open and close your knees together in a movement that looks similar to a clam.

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