by Tony Gjokaj March 18, 2020 3 min read

The Glutes are one of our bigger muscles on our body, and the most desirable for every physique – yes men, even for you.

The Glutes are comprised of three major muscles: The Gluteus Maximus, Minimus and Medius.

We will discuss each of the major muscles in this muscle group and each function.

This is a chapter from our eBook, The Muscle Compendium.

Anatomy and Function of the Glutes

The Gluteus Maximusis the larger muscle that makes up over 2/3rds of the glute. The Gluteus Maximus is trained through hip extension and posterior pelvis tilt.

The Gluteus Mediusis the stabilizer muscle that is targeted through Hip Abduction and external rotation. They are the next biggest muscle in the glutes.

The Gluteus Minimusis the tiniest muscle in the inner portion of our glutes. This muscle will be targeted through the Maximus and medius training.

The Glutes operate with various angles and should be targeted in that way. The following are the specific functions of the Glutes:

  • Kicking your legs forwards or backward (Hip Extension)
  • Kicking your legs outwards to the side (Hip Abduction)
  • Rotating the Hip outwards (External Rotation)
  • Moving the hip up and down (Posterior Pelvic Tilt)

With these four functions in mind, we can optimize developing our booties in the following section.

Glute Training Strategies

  • Try pre-exhausting the Glutes: Recall that the glute is targeted through external rotation (rotating the hip outwards). To start your glute training, a great way to warm up is by doing “clamshell” exercises.
  • Utilize Lunges for Glute Development: Lunges will emphasize the Gluteus Medius, along with the quadriceps and hamstrings. This is why we love lunges!
  • Use higher reps for the Gluteus Medius: Recall that the gluteus medius is a smaller stabilizer muscle in the glutes. They respond to higher repetition ranges (10-20 reps), so use a lot of reps in your lunges and one-legged hip thruster variations.
  • If your Glutes are lacking, emphasize development by using a hip-thrusting exercise: Barbell Hip Thrusters or Single Leg Hip Thrusters will provide excellent development for the glutes, It’s been said that single-leg hip thrusts provide a bigger muscular activation for the glutes than the squats. In addition, they target the hamstrings through hip extension as well!
  • Be aware that you use Glutes during other leg exercises like the Deadlift: Keeping this in mind, you should do about 4-12 total sets of direct glute work weekly.

Glute Exercises

Glute exercises have been popularized as of late, and most of them properly replicate the movements desired when you want to train the glutes. Recall that using Deadlift variations like the Romanian Deadlift will also help you develop your glutes drastically. 

The following exercises are ideal for every movement of the glute:

Glute Extension and Posterior Pelvic Tilt

  • Barbell Hip Thrusters:The OG of butt development. Do it right, please.
  • Single-Leg Hip Thruster
  • Glute/Hamstring Extension on Back Extension Machine

Hip Abduction and External Rotation

  • “Bad Girls” (Hip Abduction Machine)
  • Weighted Hip Abductions

Hip Extension

  • Machine Glute Kickbacks:I have a machine like this at my gym and it’s AWESOME.
  • Cable Glute Kickbacks

Glute Training Summary

As the glutes are a major muscle group that is frequently hit with other leg exercises, 4-12 direct sets weekly will perfectly suffice for this muscle. 

When it comes to direct glute work, I personally recommend the 10-20 rep range for solid development. With direct glute work, it is advised that you train with a glute extension exercise like a hip thruster or a glute kickback, and a hip abduction exercise like a “bad girl”. 

When it comes to exercises like lunges, it is advised that you should hit at most 20 reps on each leg. Anything more than that, you will feel it in your quads more than directly in your glutes due to fatigue. Now get out there, and work that booty.

Thanks for reading Legion!

Until next time!

Tony Gjokaj
Tony Gjokaj

Tony is the Owner of Reforged Performance Nutrition. He is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and has been in the fitness space for over a decade. His goal is to help bridge the gap between physical & mental health through fitness.



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