What Are Glute Muscles & Why Should You Train Them?

Train your glute muscles (Photo by Meghan Holmes on Unsplash)
It's important to train the glute muscles. (Photo via Unsplash/Meghan Holmes)

Training the glute muscles is as important as training the chest or back. You won’t be able to train the glute muscles just by doing heavy squats, as the muscle group is big and powerful.

Before understanding the exercises you can do to improve your glute muscles, you must understand the anatomy of the muscle group. That will help you have some basic foundation about the muscle group and why you must train them.


The anatomy of glute muscles

Glute anatomy (Image sourced via Google/Mind Muscle)
Glute anatomy (Image sourced via Google/Mind Muscle)

Glute anatomy or butt muscles are formed in three parts:

  1. Gluteus maximus
  2. Gluteus medius
  3. Gluteus minimus

Gluteus maximus

This is the most dominant and biggest part of the glute muscles. The primary function of this part of the muscle group is the extension and lateral rotation of the hips. The hamstring curls machine is one of the best exercise machines for bigger glutes.

In other words, the muscle helps with hip extension while walking and enables the legs to move forward, backward, or pivot in any direction.

Gluteus maximus exercises include a variety of movements that can target the largest muscle in the glutes, helping to strengthen and tone the hips, thighs, and lower back, while also improving posture and athletic performance.


Gluteus medius

It’s the upper part of the glutes, and the gluteus maximus wraps over it. So, at first glance, it looks small, but it follows behind the gluteus maximus in terms of size.

The primary function of this part is lateral and medial hip rotation along with abduction. In other words, it allows the legs to move or rather swing away from the body.

Incorporating gluteus medius exercises strengthens the lower body and significantly reduces injury risk.


Gluteus minimus

This is the smallest of the three parts. It’s underneath the maximus and medius and is attached to the femur.

As it’s the smallest of the three muscles, it acts more like assisting and stabilizing muscles for hip rotation and abduction. While the glute anatomy showcases three parts of the muscle group, it’s crucial to understand that all three parts play a role in whichever exercise or movement you do that involves the glutes.

Gluteus minimus exercises can help improve hip stability, support pelvic alignment, and enhance overall lower body strength and function.


Why should you train butt muscles?

Split squats (Photo via Unsplash/Matthew Sichkaruk)
Split squats (Photo via Unsplash/Matthew Sichkaruk)

As mentioned above, the glutes are a powerful muscle, and trying to strengthen them by doing squats is not enough. You need to train them beyond squats and work on them as an individual muscle group.

It’s understood that the butt muscles help with hip rotation and extension. Both these functions are essential for walking, running, and weight lifting. For example, the glutes play a secondary role in deadlifts.

It’s important for the entire lower body to be strong enough to assist with the lift. If one part of a muscle group fails to take the weight, it falls on the other secondary parts included in the motion. You could injure yourself, or the motion could remain incomplete due to uneven weight distribution.

Glute muscles are an important part of the lower body. To ensure that the lower body and overall physique appears to be well developed even with the distribution of muscles, you must train every muscle group, including the glute muscles.


Exercises to develop glute muscles

Deadlifts (Photo via Unsplash/Victor Freitas)
Deadlifts (Photo via Unsplash/Victor Freitas)

The following are some of the exercises you can do at the gym if you want to work more on the glute muscles:

1) Deadlifts with a shoulder-width stance

To do it:

  • Keep the glutes squeezed and core engaged
  • Push the knees out against the elbows.
  • Drive your hips forward when standing up.
  • Do a walking lunge by leaning your upper body forward.
  • Don’t simply step up but step forward after each lunge.
  • At the bottom of each lunge, push your knees inwards.
  • Push your knees back into your hands.

2) Glute kickback

Glute kickbacks. (Image via Freepik/ Halayalex)
Glute kickbacks. (Image via Freepik/ Halayalex)

It's done as follows:

  • Keep a slow and controlled movement. Use a cable pulley machine
  • Put the strap around your ankles. Hold onto the machine for balance
  • Swing your legs back and slightly outwards

3) Barbell glute bridge

Barbell glute bridge for mighty glute muscles. (Image via Pinterest/ Anniemiller)
Barbell glute bridge for mighty glute muscles. (Image via Pinterest/ Anniemiller)

Barbell squats or hip thrusts are done as follows:

  • Focus on the movement first without the weight.
  • Push through with your ankles while extending your hips with controlled movements.
  • If there's lower back pain, it indicates incorrect form.
  • Progressive overload is important to develop the muscles.

The following are some of the exercises for glute muscles at home:

  1. Bodyweight lunges
  2. Bodyweight glute bridge
  3. Lateral leg swings
  4. Pulse squats

Glute muscles are the powerhouse of our lower body. It goes without saying that glute muscles should never be excluded from your workout routine. So, whenever you’re planning a routine, make sure you’re taking every aspect of the body into account.

If you don’t have a well-developed and symmetrical lower body, you won’t be able to achieve your desired physique at all.

Edited by Bhargav