Floor Exercises for the Butt
Your glutes might be some of the biggest and most powerful muscles in the body, but you can still work them with simple floor exercises that require little to no equipment. Pick exercises that isolate the glutes and force them to work against your bodyweight. There's no excuse to avoid doing these because you can do them almost anywhere.
The glutes are the most powerful hip muscles. There are three glute muscles. The gluteus maximus -- your butt muscles -- are the biggest muscles in the body. The gluteus medius and minimus are smaller hip muscles that are on the outside of your hips.
You can work these powerful muscles most effectively when you turn off your hamstrings. The hamstrings, which run down the back of your thigh, help the glutes when you run, jump or do movements like the deadlift.
The hamstrings also help extend your hips or pull your leg back. If you can take the hamstrings out of a movement you'll force the glutes to do all of the work. Bending your knee shortens the hamstrings, which stops them from assisting the glutes.
This exercise puts very little pressure on your lower back and is perfect for a beginner because it doesn't take too much strength to do.
How to: Lie on the ground on your back with your knees bent and feet planted on the ground. Push through your heels and drive your hips up into the air. At the top of the movement your body should be in a straight line from your knees to your chest.
Squeeze your glutes at the top and then lower your butt back down to the floor. You can do up to 20 reps per set of this exercise.
Single-Leg Glute Bridge
If the regular glute bridge wasn't difficult enough for you, try this single-leg variation that works your butt muscles one side at a time.
How to: Lie on your back on the ground in the glute bridge position with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Raise your right leg off the ground, keeping the knee bent. Reach your left arm across your body and press your left hand against the top of your right thigh.
Press your leg into your hand and vice versa, creating tension in your leg and arm. Keep that tension and press through your left heel to drive your hips up into the air, squeezing your left glute. Do 10 reps and then switch sides.
The donkey kick isolates your glutes by shortening your hamstrings and taking them out of the movement, forcing your butt muscles to do all of the work.
How to: Start in an all-fours position on the ground with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Lift your left knee off the ground and keep it bent at 90 degrees. Extend your left leg back and up until your knee is facing the wall behind you and the bottom of your foot is facing the ceiling.
From here, squeeze your left glute and press the bottom of your foot towards the ceiling. Bring it back down to complete one rep. Do 10 reps with that leg then put the knee back down and switch sides.
While this exercise may look awkward, it isolates the glutes by forcing them to do the two things they do best -- extend your hips and rotate your legs out.
How to: Lie on the ground on your back. Bend your knees and put the bottoms of your feet together. Let your knees fall down to the side. Press your feet together and down into the ground as you press your hips up into the sky. There is a small range of motion in this exercise and your hips might only rise up a few inches but you should still feel it in your glutes.
It's important to work the small glute muscles, the medius and minimus, in addition to the big gluteus maximus.
How to: Lie on your side with your legs stacked up on top of each other and knees completely straight. Your shoulders should be completely vertical. Raise your top leg up vertically with the knee straight. Make sure it goes up straight instead of forward or backward.
Raise up the leg as high as you can, without turning your toes up, and pause for a second before lowering back down. Do 10 reps on that leg and then flip over to work the other side. You can make this exercise harder by putting a resistance band around your ankles.
Prone Hip Extensions
This is one of the most simple glute exercises that you can do, but it isolates the glute well.
How to: Lie on your stomach with your arms folded under your head and your forehead resting on your forearms. Your legs should be straight and on the ground. Bend one knee until it's at 90 degrees and the bottom of the raised foot is facing the ceiling.
Press that foot straight up to the ceiling while keeping your knee bent. Squeeze your glute as you press up. Hold it at the top for a second, then lower it back down to the ground.
- Duke Medicine: Pre-lab Exercise: Surface Anatomy of the Gluteal Region
- Bret Contreras: Frog Pumps And Frog Thrusts
- International Journal of Physical Therapy: ELECTROMYOGRAPHIC ANALYSIS OF GLUTEUS MEDIUS AND GLUTEUS MAXIMUS DURING REHABILITATION EXERCISES
- Built Lean: Top 7 Glute Activation Exercises to Build Strength & Power