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Four great glute exercises

Posted by Elizabeth Comeau  February 27, 2013 07:00 AM

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RyanHealy100.jpgRyan Healy is a personal trainer for the Lynch/van Otterloo (LVO) YMCA in Marblehead. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA, and earned her BS in Exercise Sports Science from Elon University. Find more posts by her in conjunction with the LVO YMCA at She can be reached at

Remember; please consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.

The glutes are an underutilized but vitally important muscle group. If you want to run faster, jump higher, perform better, and reduce your risk of injuries; strong glutes are where it’s at. Many people, from athletes to desk jockeys, have weak glutes from something called reciprocal inhibition. This is what happens when the opposing muscle group, the hip flexors, is overactive. As a result, this can lead to a loss of strength and activation in the glutes. This can also lead to the hamstrings and muscles in the lower back working overtime to compensate for weak glutes, something known as synergistic dominance, and can contribute to poor performance or injuries to those over worked areas. Now that you know the importance of building a good derriere, besides just looking good, here are 4 great exercises to work into your routine.
1. The Clam shell

- Great for those with knee or back issues
- Can be included as part of a warm-up for more advanced exercisers
- Teaches glute and external rotator activation
- Rotate from the hips instead of twisting from the spine

2. Band Side Steps

- Band can be worn above knees or around ankles
- Lead with the heel instead of pointing toes out
- Keep chest and toes pointed forward
- Lift the trailing leg up and bring it in about halfway, instead of letting it drag
- Peform on both sides
- Keep tension on the band throughout the movement

3. Hip Thrust

- To progress this exercise, you can use one leg instead of two, or place a barbell on the hips to add additional resistance
- Squeeze the glutes and lift the hips until a straight line is formed between shoulders and knees
- Feet may be on the floor or on a raised bench or platform for increased range of motion

4. Weighted Bird Dog

- To make this exercise easier, try doing this same exercise without the weights
- Lower and raise the limbs with control and not momentum
- Keep hips stable throughout the movement

Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy. This blog will offer exercise tips from experts as well as share the personal journeys of Globe staff members committed to fitness. No matter your age or energy level, we invite you to join in and share your own story. How do you find time to work out? What are your daily challenges? Let us know and read along -- and together, we can all get moving.


Elizabeth Comeau is a social media marketing manager at She will be blogging about her personal fitness journey and using a device called a FitBit to track her weekly goals and progress (see below). Follow her journey and share your own. Read more about Elizabeth and this blog.

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