Glute Strengthening Exercises Pt. 2

Now that marathon training has started, I really need to make sure to work on my glutes, especially my glute medius. I wrote a previous post (that somehow blew up on Pinterest) on strengthening your glute medius (and why it’s important).

Today I wanted to talk about some of my favorite glute exercises. I haven’t been strength training much, mainly because I have been balancing running, cycling and yoga. But I need to get back into the gym this week.

Your glutes are your powerhouse. When you’re running, you need strong glutes to push off the ground and give you, well, power. It’s not uncommon at all for runners, and most people in general, to have weak glutes from sitting all day and not really activating them. So here are a few exercises you can start incorporating into your routine. Plus, you can do them anywhere, either bodyweight or with dumbbells. So add a few reps and sets in after your runs and you’ll be on your way to buns of steel.

Here are my top 5 exercises to strengthen and grow your glutes! |


These are so easy to do anywhere! If you’re out for a run, you can find a park bench or table to use. If you’re at home, you can use a chair or your stairs. You want to make sure your form is right with these, and that you’re not using your back leg to bounce you up onto the step. Your back leg should stay completely straight, and you should focus on using your front let (the one on the box) to push you up. Here’s an example of someone using that back leg to power them up (which means your front leg and glute are working less):

It might take a little practice, which is why it’s good to start off with your bodyweight only, and then progress to adding dumbells. Here’s an excellent tutorial video:

Walking Lunges

Another one that can be done anywhere, with or without weights. If you have knee issues or knee pain, you may want to stay away from walking lunges. You can do do split squats (stationary lunge) or reverse lunges instead. You can also switch those up by elevating your front foot. Lots of options here.

With walking lunges, take a step forward and really focus on keeping your chest up and shoulders back. Lower your knee as low as it can go, and then switch. Do not force yourself to go lower than what is comfortable. You also want to make sure that your heel on the foot that is stepping forward is planted on the ground. If you step forward and your heel is up or you’re on the balls of your feet, it means you’re not taking big enough steps.

Hip Raises

Hip raises are probably my favorite exercise, mainly because I can lie down while doing it :-P

Did you know hip raises are more effective at growing your glutes than squats are? Start off with just body weight hip raises. Lay on your back with bent knees. Plant your feet and lift your hips up as high as you can. Squeeze your glutes as you lift and really focus on utilizing those muscles. You may feel this in your hamstrings and calves too. Hold at the top for about 2-3 seconds, lower and repeat. In order to see if you’re using your glutes and not your hip flexors, try doing a single leg hip raise with one knee bent. What I mean is, take one knee to your chest and hold it there with your arms. THEN, do a hip raise. You should really feel that in your glute. Once you get the hang of it, you can add a weighted plate or barbell on top of your hips in order to make the move more challenging. 

Bulgarian Split Squats

This is a more advanced exercise, and a variation on lunges. You can work up to this by doing reverse lunges with your back foot elevated on a small box or step. Eventually, you’ll be able to do it with your back foot on a bench. Here’s what it looks like (including good cues and common mistakes):

Remember to always keep your chest up and shoulders back. You don’t need to lower yourself all the way down if you can’t. Go until you can, and then come back up. Work your way lower and lower over time.

Back extensions

You will need a back extension machine for this one, or you can get creative and use the end of your couch or bed. I’ll show an example after I explain.

Doing back extensions on an incline back extension machine will target your hamstrings and glutes, maybe your calves too if they’re a little weak. If your lower back is weak, you’ll feel it in those muscles as well. Lower down all the way, then squeeze your glutes to lift yourself up. Be careful not to hyper-extend. See how he is in a straight line?

Photo source

If you want to add weight, hold a weighted plate to your chest to make it more challenging.

Start incorporating these exercises into your routine and not only will you have stronger glutes, you’ll be helping your body stay injury free. Writing this just motivated me to get my butt to the gym this week. Another thing I need to work on ASAP is my core strength. Please leave me your favorite core workouts below because core is my least favorite thing to do haha.

What is your favorite glute exercise? How often do you train your legs/glutes?


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  1. I’m all about squats! I also need to strengthen my hips and up my hamstring mobility. I hope we can meet up for a training run at some point!
    Nicole @ Fitful Focus recently posted…The Best Red, White & Blue Recipes for SummerMy Profile

  2. Yes! I swear all the glute/hip work I do has kept me relatively injury free during marathon training

  3. Love hip raises!
    Carmy recently posted…Monday on the Run #46My Profile

  4. Also some of my favorite glute exercise! I have not done the back extension in a while might have to hit that up next time.
    Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner recently posted…Vegan Bourbon Baked Beans Meatless MondayMy Profile

  5. These are all great exercises for your glutes and now you’ve got me doing hip raises in my office! I never knew about back extensions though! Strength training is sooo important, I always have to make sure I make time for it!
    Janelle @ Run With No Regrets recently posted…Philly Marathon Pre-Training Week 3 RecapMy Profile

  6. My BF does squats while she blow dries her hair- yea, that did not work so well for me! LOL! I do love all the instructional videos, very helpful!
    Mary Beth Jackson recently posted…Happy June Week Four- Back HomeMy Profile

  7. My glutes are one thing I really do well. I love hip raises and any kind of squat and stepping and all of it. It’s really important to keep them strong to stay healthy as a runner and I am glad you are focusing on them for this training cycle. It will pay off in the long run.
    Jenn recently posted…weekly wrap: 6.18 – 6.25My Profile

  8. My coach is all about those glutes! Looks like you hit all the essentials!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Rewind, Reset, RechargeMy Profile

  9. Great tips! I am going to save this on Pinterest so I can try these workouts sometime.
    Lindsay @ Fit & Awesome recently posted…Keeping Healthy Inside the Office and OutMy Profile

  10. Great reminders!!! I do these moves, but not very consistently. I have had an ongoing hamstring “issue” for several years…and I’m sure working my glutes more often (and more effectively) would make a huge difference.
    Kimberly Hatting recently posted…Hills. Heat. Humidity. UGH.My Profile

  11. I do most of these exercises already to work on my glutes. Strengthening those glutes does wonders for so many other activities, including running.
    Kathryn @ Dancing to Running recently posted…Weekly Recap – Week of June 20thMy Profile

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