Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In



6 Exercises to Work Your Glutes

A few exercises that will get your butt in gear.

It’s almost common knowledge now that runners need to have strong gluteal muscles. They are important for extending your hips and for creating stability at your pelvis and knees. Due to the low knee lift involved in distance running, the gluteals don’t really develop the way they do in sprinters. This is why you need to incorporate glute-strengthening exercises in your weekly routine.

RELATED: Is Your Butt All That It Could Be?

Here are my go-to glute strengthening exercises for runners:

These exercises can be performed 3-5 times per week. To be more time efficient, you can perform one exercise right after the next for a total of two sets.

Exercise 1: Low Band Split Squat

For: Improve length of the hip flexor muscle group; allows for better hip mobility and better gluteal recruitment.

How: Hold a handle of a band that is attached to a low anchor point with your right hand. Step back to remove slack from the band then take a large step back with your right leg. Land on your big toe joint, get tall and squeeze your right butt-cheek. Keep your arm straight and without loosing your butt squeeze, bring your right knee toward the ground. You should feel a burning stretch in front of your right hip and thigh. Pause just before your right knee touches the ground. Hold this pose for 5 seconds. Return to standing and perform 10 reps. Complete 2 sets per leg.

Exercise 2: Glute Bridge with Leg Extension

For: Improve gluteal strength and stability.

How: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat. Lift your hips upward while pivoting from your shoulders. Your neck should be flat. Achieve full hip extension with a strong butt squeeze. Without dropping your hips, lift one leg upward. Hold for 2 seconds. Return the leg to the ground. Switch sides. Hold for another 2 seconds. Return your leg back down and perform 10 reps per leg. Complete 2 sets.

Exercise 3: Low Band Single Leg Deadlift to Knee to Chest & Row

For: Improve pelvic and ankle stability

How: Hold a band attached to a low anchor point with your left hand. Stand on your right foot and soften your right knee. Raise your left leg up behind you as you bow forward. Let your left arm reach forward toward the anchor point—notice a stretch in your right hamstring. Next, bring your left leg down and stand tall. Bring your left knee toward your chest and row the band toward you. Lock your right knee and hip—do not lean back or bend forward. Return to the starting position and complete 15 reps. Complete 2 sets on each leg.

Exercise 4: Squat with Leg Lift

For: Improve leg strength and pelvic stability

How: Place a band around your knees and stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Squat down while keeping your heels flat on the ground. Stand and lift one leg in the air. Focus on keeping tension in the band. Bring your foot down and squat down again. Stand and lift the opposite leg in the air. Perform 30 squats and complete 2 sets.

Exercise 5: ¼ Squat with Wall Push

For: Improve leg strength and pelvic stability

How: Stand next to a wall and press your inside foot into the wall. Hold your arms in front of your chest, keep your outside knee tracking straight and squat down roughly 6-8 inches. Keep pushing into the wall with your inside leg as you squat up and down. You should notice a reflexive activation of your glutes on your outside hip as you go through the set. Perform 20-25 reps per leg and complete 2 sets.

Exercise 6: Hip Thrust

For: Gluteal strength

How: Sit next to an exercise bench. Carefully place a barbell or mini-barbell across your hips. For comfort, place a pad underneath the bar to protect your pelvis. Hold the bar in position and place your shoulders on the edge of the bench. Drive your hips upward while keeping your feet flat on the floor. Achieve full hip extension while pivoting your back on the bench. Lower your hips and pivot off the bench. Keep your head inline with your body at all times. This exercise works better if you open your knees and drive through your heels. Find a weight that is challenging for 15 reps. Complete 2 sets.

* * *

About the Author: Jon-Erik Kawamoto, MSc, CSCS, CEP is a runner, strength coach and Managing Director of JKConditioning in St. John’s, NL, Canada. Jon specializes in strength training endurance athletes and is currently in the middle of preparing a strength training resource for runners. Stay in touch by checking out and finding him on Twitter at @JEKawamoto.