Last Updated: July 8th, 2022
Glutes are one of the most important muscles of your body. They support almost all the movements of your body. From walking to running to even a simple forward bending, everything is supported by glutes.
If you have weak glute muscles your range of motion will get reduced along with your chances of injury.
However, this problem is easily fixable by using targeted strength training for your glutes. This is what we will be covering in this post.
How to improve glute strength for improved mobility and performance?
To improve glute strength for improved mobility and performance, you will have to target all the glute muscles with your strength training. Include exercises such as bridge, donkey kickbacks, free cross lunges, etc. in your exercise routine.
We have described all of these exercises below, along with step by step video, so that you can easily create your own routine or strength training.
However, before that, let’s check out all the parts that make up the glutes…
Glutes are made up of three primary bones and two main muscles…They work together to support all your activities.
The bones that are there are:
The sacrum bone is a triangluar-shaped bone or of the shape of the shield. It is present at the end of the lumbar vertebrae that are connected to the pelvis. This bone helps in strengthening and stabilizing the pelvis.
This is the upper portion of the hip bone and the pelvis. This is the largest and the topmost bone of the pelvic girdle. This is one of the primary bone structures that bear the weight of your body. Also, it supports the spine when your body is upright.
The femur is the thigh bone. It is the longest and the strongest bone in your body. It helps you to stand and move and also supports many important muscles in your body.
Apart from these bones, the glutes have these very important muscles:
This muscle is attached from the pelvis to the side of the hip bone. It is responsible for almost all the action that involves glutes whether directly or indirectly.
They are most active in actions like extension, abduction, and lateral and medial rotation. Also, along with gluteus minimus, it helps to stay the hip in place when you walk or run.
If you stand on one leg, these are the muscles that come into play for supporting you.
This is the biggest muscle in your glutes and probably one of the biggest muscles in your body. It connects the sacrum or the lower spine with the femur and the Illiotibial band (ITB).
Not only that, it has fascial connections to the latissimus dorsi muscle linking in the arms and shoulder. This makes Gluteus Maximus one of the most important muscles of your body which control a major part of your movement.
If you have a weak Gluteus Maximus or have tightness in it, it can have an effect on your shoulder and your knees. Also, the lack of stability in the hip can lead to injuries in the lumbar spine, hips, and pelvis such as disc injury, facet joint injury, Sacroiliac joint injury, hip labral tears, etc.
You will have trouble doing any or all of the following activities:
- Climbing the stairs.
- Standing up.
- Getting out of the chair.
- Balancing your body when you push your body forward.
This is another muscle that along with the other glute muscles helps in hip stabilization. It also comes into play for internal and external rotation of the Femur bone.
If you want to specifically target these muscles in your workout, you can do that with the following exercises:
- Crab walking.
- Single leg deadlifts.
- Single leg toe touch.
- Pistol squats.
- Bulgarian split squats.
- Any form of exercise that can be done on a single leg as these muscles then will act as a stabilizer.
- Side plank.
What is the main function of the Glutes?
The main function of the glutes is to protects the coccyx bones. If your glute muscles are weak, your chances of a coccyx bone injury is more. Also, you may end up having a spine injury, or lower backbone injury.
With weak glutes muscles, if you fall down, you may end up having an injured tail bone.
With weak glutes:
- You can have back pain and/or serious hip/pelvic issues.
- Your hamstrings may become too tight and can cause tendinopathies or tears.
- The erector spinae and quadratus Lumborum will become overactive causing lower back pain.
- Unstable hips put a lot of stress on the hip joint, sacroiliac joints, lumbar facet joints, and discs leading to lower back pain.
- It may cause knee pain.
- May cause an anterior tilt of your pelvis.
How to improve the mobility of Glutes muscles?
To improve the mobility of the glute muscles as well as to strengthen them, including the below exercises in your routine will help you a lot. Include these exercises whenever you work on your legs or your squats and you will be able to feel the difference in a couple of weeks.
List of mobility exercises
When it comes to hip mobility exercises, there are some exercises that you can do with equipment and some that can be done without equipment.
We are including both of them in this post so that it is easier for you to build your own routine.
Hip mobility exercises without any equipment
- Lie down on your back on the floor or on your mat.
- Bend your legs at the knees so that your feet are completely on the floor and around 10-12 inches away from your body.
- The feet should be hip-width apart.
- Place your hands to the side of your body.
- Now raise only your hip and push it upwards with the help of your glute muscles.
- Raise it as high as possible without lifting your legs or your hands.
- Do this 20 times, three sets.
- Come on all fours on your mat.
- Your legs should be hip apart and your wrists under your shoulder.
- Now raise one of your legs in the air keeping the bend of your knees.
- Raise the leg with some force with the help of your glutes as is shown in the video.
- Do this 20 times for each leg, 3 sets.
Free cross lunges (Curtsy Lunges)
- Stand in the lunge position.
- Now instead of pushing your back leg straight behind, push it backward in a cross fashion.
- The cross-ward movement of the leg should be as much as your flexibility permits.
- While doing the movement engage your glutes. This will help you to have a stable movement and will also help you to keep balance.
- Do this 20 times for 3 sets.
Glute mobility routine
Along with the above exercises, we are also providing you with two more glute mobility workouts that will not only improve the strength of your glute muscles but also will improve their flexibility.
- Lie down on your back with your knees bent and feet hip-width apart.
- Now bring your right leg on top of the thigh of your left leg.
- Hug the right leg’s thigh from the underside by intertwining your fingers.
- Now release your left foot keeping the bent of your knees.
- Bring the whole leg unit as close as possible to your chest.
- Hold for some time and release.
- Do this with the other leg as well.
With this exercise, you should be able to feel a stretch on your glutes and hamstring area.
Glue mobility routine 2
- To perform this exercise, you can use a chair or any elevated surface as high as your knees.
- Stand with your knees hip-width apart.
- Now place one leg on the chair or the elevated surface as shown in the video.
- Try to stretch the side of your thigh along with the glutes.
- Hold this for 30 secs and repeat with the other leg. Do this for 3 sets.
Hip mobility exercises with equipment
This is very effective to improve the strength of your hip and glutes.
Equipment: 6-feet pipe
- Stand straight with your legs slightly apart.
- Hold the pipe or the stick straight on your back.
- Place one hand on the back of your head to hold the stick and the other on your lower back over the stick.
- Now keeping your back straight, push your hip backward until you feel a stretch on your hamstrings.
- Keep the knees soft.
- Once you feel the stretch come up with an explosive motion driving through the hip.
- Do this 20 times, 3 sets.
Barbell Hip thrust
This will help you to improve glute strength a lot.
Equipment: Barbell, a sofa, or a weight bench.
- Sit with your shoulder blades aligned with the edge of the sofa or the weight bench.
- Bend your knees with your feet flat on the ground shoulder-width apart.
- Your neck should be in a neutral position.
- Now come up so that your back is on the bench.
- Hold the barbell at your hip.
- Release the tension of your lower back so that you have the space to come up with your hip.
- Now use your hip and glute to push the barbell up.
- Come up until your knees are at 90 degrees.
- Do this 20 times, 3 sets.
Equipment: One Kettlebell (You can use any weight starting from 4kg to 12 kg. Choose it according to your strength)
- Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart.
- Rotate your feet slightly outwards as this will help you to maintain balance.
- Hang the kettlebell with both hands in between your legs.
- Now bend your knees and push your hips backward as you did in a hip pinch. You should feel a stretch in your hamstrings.
- The kettlebell also should the swinging back between your legs.
- Now come up with an explosive move driving it through your hips and glutes.
- The Kettlebell should be just swinging forward. Don’t raise your hands at all.
- Do this 20 times, 3 sets.
Bentover rope pull
- Adjust the weight of the weight rack based on your strength.
- Stand with your legs hip-width apart.
- Have a slight bend in your knees.
- Lean forward with your back straight.
- Hold the rope with both hands raised above your shoulder and near to your ears.
- Now pull down the rope as low as possible for you.
- Keep your glutes engaged all the time during this movement.
- Do this 20 times, 3 sets.
Why is glute mobility so important?
If you don’t have glute mobility, your day-to-day activities will be affected, like your walking will get slow, you will run slower, for any kind of bending movement, you will feel stiffness. Also, your chances of getting injured from day-to-day activities will also get aggravated.
If you have limited glute mobility, there will be a lot of limitations when you will try to focus on your fitness. You will have problems performing many common exercises like:
- Barbell row
- Kettlebell swing
In short, anything that involves bending will be severely limited, if you don’t have glutes mobility. Also, with limited glute mobility, you cannot perform a lot of exercises with proper form.
Madhusree Basu (Author, Admin)
Blogger and a fitness enthusiast. She loves running and Yoga and everything in between. She started running to manage her weight and to eat to her heart’s content. A true foodie at heart she shares whatever knowledge she has gained throughout the years about weight management and fitness.
Sourav Sarkar (Reviewer, CPT)
Certified fitness trainer and an ex-professional bodybuilder, he has trained more than 500 fitness enthusiasts and has more than 15 years of on-the-job experience.