4 Best Glute Exercises You're Not Doing

Strong glutes are critical for running, jumping and changing direction. STACK Expert Josh Williams offers 4 glute exercises you are probably not doing.

Glute Exercises

If you want to run fast, jump high, change direction on a dime, and be explosive, you need strong glutes. The majority of your power comes from your hips. That's why it's important to incorporate plenty of glute exercises into your training program.

To help mix things up a bit, here are four glute exercises you're probably not doing—but should be!

Glute Exercises

1. Barbell Glute Bridge

Why you should do it

The Barbell Glute Bridge might just be the best exercise to isolate the glutes. By putting your weight directly over your hips with your knees bent—which takes your hamstrings out of the movement—you move your weight with your glutes and little help from other muscle groups.

Set Up

  • Place your shoulders on the edge of a bench.
  • Roll a barbell over your hips (place a pad over your hips to make the exercise more comfortable).
  • Position your feet underneath yourself.

Coaching Points

  • Drive through your heels.
  • Push your hips all the way through.
  • Don't hyperextend your lower back.
  • Sets/Reps: 3-5x3-8

2. Low Trap Bar Deadlift

Why you should do it

The trap bar has two sets of handles—the commonly used high ones and the oft-forgotten lower ones. By switching to the lower handles, you increase your range of motion, making it similar to a conventional Deadlift but with the safety and comfort of a trap bar.

 Setup

  • Set your feet hip-width apart.
  • Grab the bar and keep your back tight.
  • Start with your straight back.

Coaching points

  • Keep your chest up.
  • Drive your heels through the ground.
  • Spread the floor with your feet (push your knees out).
  • Sets/Reps: 3-5x3-6

3. Glute Ham Raise

Why you should do it

The Glute Ham Raise is a great exercise for training both your glutes and your hamstrings. Due to its long eccentric (lowering) phase), it is good for improving deceleration when running or sprinting. The ability to decelerate quickly will improve your speed when changing direction.

Setup

  • Lock your feet into Glute Ham Raise machine (if you don't have one, lock your heels under a rack or ask a friend to hold your ankles).
  • Push yours knees into the pad.
  • Straighten your legs, leading with your hips.

Coaching points

  • Lead with your hips.
  • Drive your heels into the plate.
  • Keep your ribs down (don't extend your lower back).
  • Sets/Reps: 3-4x6-10

4. Barbell Single-Leg Deadlift

Why you should do it

The Single-Leg Deadlift confers the same benefits as a Romanian Deadlift for working the glutes. The main difference is that the SLDL requires more hip stability. Controlling your hips leads to better balance and overall coordination of your body.

Set Up

  • Grab the bar and keep your back tight.
  • Lift one leg off the ground and stretch it behind you.
  • Lower the bar to just below the knee.

Coaching Points

  • Keep your back flat.
  • Pretend you're a seesaw
  • Sets/Reps: 3-5x5-8
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Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: GLUTES | LOWER BODY | STRETCHING | POWER | EXERCISE | BARBELL | LOWER BACK | HEELS | TRAP BAR | HANDLES | GLUTE HAM RAISE