12 Best Glute Isolation Workouts You Never Knew

Updated on  September 4, 2022 by  Samrudha

Being located at the center of the body, the glute is an important muscle group that supports upper body posture and lower body movements. Any movement that involves legs, hips, and thighs is possible through glute strength.

Glutes are a vital muscle group for the body, and isolating them through a single exercise is impossible. Many glute exercises reduce the activation of muscles and release stress. Whether you want a shaped butt, build muscle mass, or gain strength for sports, isolating glutes is essential.

Many compound exercises can automatically activate your glutes and fix your flabby butt. Keeping in mind the struggle that fitness freaks face while looking for the right exercise, we have come up with the 12 best exercises to isolate your glutes at home.

However, before getting into the details of the workouts, you must know about the anatomy of the glutes muscles first.

woman doing yoga on stability ball


Glute Anatomy

From an outer perspective, you can see only one glute muscle on each leg. However, it is not true that there are three big muscles in one glute complex, and all of them work differently. If you want a shaped butt, isolating these three gluteal muscles is essential. Following are the three muscles included in glutes.

Three Muscles

1

Gluteus Maximus

The most significant muscle in the glutes and the strongest muscle in the body, the gluteus maximus, provides shape and power to the glute muscle group. This specific muscle is targeted when you move your thighs and hips together. Isolation exercises on the gluteus maximus focus on working explosively on the hips and thighs to isolate them from the rest of the two muscles.

2

Gluteus Medius

The most significant muscle in the glutes and the strongest muscle in the body, the gluteus maximus, provides shape and power to the glute muscle group. This specific muscle is targeted when you move your thighs and hips together. Isolation exercises on the gluteus maximus focus on working explosively on the hips and thighs to isolate them from the rest of the two muscles.

3

Gluteus Minimus

Gluteus medius and gluteus minimus, when working together, are involved in hip abduction to move the hips away from the body. Also, they prevent too much movement in other directions and direct it towards the midline. Both muscles are involved in hip extension and rotation while walking and running. Moreover, they stabilize the hips and thighs during sudden pivots in various directions.

Below is the list of exercises for glutes recommended by our head trainer. And performed in video by our coaches.

Best Glute Isolation Workouts At Home

Here are some glute isolation exercises to help you gain strength and shape your hips.

1. Donkey Kicks

Donkey kicks are straightforward, stress-free to learn, and easy to perform. No special equipment is needed to perform this exercise. Therefore, you can do it at home without worrying about going to the gym daily. You can also do it at the gym with Smith's machine.

How to do it?

  • Kneel on your legs and hands. Your shoulders should be directly over your hands and hips all over your knees. 
  • Keep the hands shoulder-width apart with arms straight. Tuck your chin and extend the length of your neck.
  • Keep the lumbar spine slightly arched and engage your core.
  • Extend the hip while keeping the knee bent. Lift one leg out and behind while pushing your heel upwards. Avoid hyperextending your back. Keep the hips pointed straight towards the floor.
  • Lower the leg back to return to the starting position and repeat the exercise with the alternate leg.
  • You can step up the exercise by wearing ankle weights.

For a quick demonstration of this exercise, watch this video.


2. Fire Hydrant

Like donkey kicks, the fire hydrant exercise targets the gluteus medius, the most difficult muscle to isolate. Though the main action point of this exercise is the gluteus medius, it also targets the gluteus maximus. For this exercise, you just need a resistance band to do it easily at home. It is the best exercise for people who cannot lift heavy weights due to injuries.

How to do it?

  • Take a resistance band and loop it around the top of your knees.
  • Put your hands on the ground below your shoulders and kneel on the floors while your knees are stacked under your hips.
  • While keeping the knees bent, lift the right leg to the side and extend until the right thigh is parallel to the floor. 
  • Before lowering the backdown, pause for a second and return to the starting position.
  • Repeat the exercise with the left leg until the desired reps are completed.

For a quick demonstration of this exercise, watch this video.


3. Glute Bridges

Glute bridges are a great exercise you can do at home while lying on the floor. Though this exercise targets the glutes, you can also feel your hamstrings being worked out during it.  The uniqueness of glute bridges is that it targets all three gluteal muscles. However, the gluteus maximus is most involved in the workout.

How to do it?

  • Load the barbell with your desired weight and place it on the floor. If you are a beginner, start with a 45lbs weight.
  • Lie on the floor so that the barbell is above your hip adductors.
  • Bend the knees while keeping the feet flat on the floor and hip-width apart.
  • Hold the bar in your hands and keep it outside your legs (only a few inches away).
  • While keeping the neck, shoulder, and head on the floor, lift the torso so that the hips make contact with the bar.
  • By using glutes, drive the bar up and squeeze your glutes. Pause for a second and slowly lower the bar to complete one rep.
  • Repeat the exercise until the desired number of reps is reached.

For a quick demonstration of this exercise, watch this video.


4. Single Leg Bridges

Single leg bridges are a great exercise that targets the gluteus Maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus, and hamstrings and are a great way to isolate glutes. No equipment is required for this exercise, so you can perform it at the gym, home, or while traveling to another place. If you are a beginner and want to do glute isolation exercises, you can start with single-leg bridges.

How to do it?

  • Lie on the back and keep your hands by your side. Bend the knees and keep the feet flat on the floor under the knees.
  • Lift one foot and extend the leg to make a 45 degrees angle with the floor to achieve the starting position.
  • Raise the hips while the muscles of your abdomen should be kept tightened. Draw support from the buttock muscles keeping shoulders and knees in a straight line
  • Squeeze the cord and try to pull the belly button towards the spine. Pause for two to four seconds.
  • Lower your hips to the floor while keeping the leg extended, and return to the starting position.
  • Repeat the exercise until desired reps are achieved.

For a quick demonstration of this exercise, watch this video.


5. Barbell HipThrust

Though barbell hip thrusts are the best exercise to isolate the glutes, people find it awkward to perform in crowded gyms. Professional gyms have hip thrust machines, but if you want to do this work at home, you can use a barbell to get the most out of the workout.

Hip thrusts work on all three gluteal muscles: gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. However, the gluteus maximus is the most targeted one. Hamstrings and quads are also involved in this exercise, so it is the best way to stabilize your core, shape glute muscles, and shape your hips.

How to do it?

  • Put a barbell on the floor with your desired weight.
  • Sit on the floor with your back against the bench. Thrust the hip but make sure to stay static.
  • Place the barbell across the hip and roll it while making it lie in your hip crease. Keep the feet hip-width apart.
  • Hold the weight, tuck your chin, and drive the weight upwards through your glutes.
  • Squeeze your glutes and pause for two seconds. 
  • Lower the weight back and come back to the starting position.

Repeat the exercise until the desired number of reps is achieved.

For a quick demonstration of this exercise, watch this video.


6. Glute Kickback

You can do glute kickbacks at the gym on a cable machine, but if you want to do this exercise at home, you can use a loop band. All three glutes, gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus, are targeted during the glutes kickback workouts.

How to do it?

  • Stand while keeping the feet hip-width apart and loop a band around the ankles,
  • Kick one leg up behind you as much high as you can. Make sure to take it back to the hips.
  • Squeeze your glutes and pause for a few seconds. 
  • Return your leg to the starting position
  • Repeat the exercise with the second leg.   

For a quick demonstration of this exercise, watch this video.


7. Cable Glute Kickback

Cable glute kickbacks are great exercises to isolate the glutes. The target muscles are all three gluteal muscles, and hamstrings are also stabilized alongside.

How to do it?

  • Adjust the pulley on the cable machine to the lowest height.
  • Attach the ankle cuff to your ankle. Lean over and make sure that the back stays flat.
  • Keep the second leg straight and bend the knee. Kick the other leg behind and squeeze your glutes at the top.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat the exercise with the other leg.

For a quick demonstration of this exercise, watch this video.


8. Side-Lying Weighted Hip Abduction

Side-Lying weighted hip abduction is an effective unilateral exercise for targeting the glutes. It is easy to perform and offers maximum activation for supporting the body.  If you want a shaped butt in minimum time, you can add side-lying hip abductions exercise to your daily workout plan.

How to do it?

  • Lie on the side and keep the legs stretched. Keep one leg on the other.
  • Leave your hand tucked to support the upper body with an elbow.
  • Lift the top leg as high as possible and bring it back down.
  • Complete the desired reps. Switch to the second side and repeat the steps with an alternate leg.

For a quick demonstration of this exercise, watch this video.


9. Smith Machine Kickback

Smith machine kickback offers a good combination of squats and hip thrusts and beats the mass in your buttocks. You can combine it with other unilateral exercises to get fast results and symmetrical glutes. Hip extensors are the main target of this exercise. You just need a smith machine and workout mat to get started.

How to do it?

  • Place the exercise mat under the smith machine bar.
  • Set safety catches at the bottom and unloaded bar on top.
  • Get on your hands and knees like you do while doing pushups. 
  • Straighten the back and stare at the floor to keep the spine extended under the limit.
  • Place the foot's arch under the barbel so that the upper and lower leg makes 90 degrees angle. Inhale and push the bar upward. 
  • Stop when the glue contraction limit is reached.
  • Pause for a second and lower the bar down to release tension. 
  • Repeat the exercise until the desired number of reps is reached.

For a quick demonstration of this exercise, watch this video.


10. Lateral Band Walk

Lateral band walking looks strange but is the perfect exercise to isolate the glutes, stabilize the core and strengthen the hips. The main target of this exercise is the gluteus medium. You can adapt this exercise as an everyday warmup exercise before going for hectic hip exercises.

How to do it?

  • Place the band above the ankle while it is wrapped around both legs.
  • Set the feet shoulder-width apart while keeping the band taut. 
  • Bend the knees slightly and take a half-squat position to the target gluteus medius.
  • Shift the weight on one leg and take a sideways step with another leg. 
  • Move the leg in and out while keeping the hips leveled.
  • Shift the weight to the other leg after coming to the starting position and repeat the steps until desired reps are reached.

For a quick demonstration of this exercise, watch this video.


11. Single Leg Deadlift With Kettlebell

Single leg deadlift is a versatile exercise that strengthens the legs, hips, back and core. It is a deadlift variation but involves complex movements to improve balance and strengthen core muscles.

How to do it?

  • Stand on your feet with hip-width apart. Hold a kettlebell or dumbbells in your hands.
  • Lean forwards and shift your weight onto one leg while the alternate leg engages and extends straight at the back.
  • Lift the extended leg while keeping the other leg bent and form a T shape. 
  • Bring the leg down and return to the starting position to repeat the exercise with the other leg.

For a quick demonstration of this exercise, watch this video.


12. Prone Glute Squeeze

Prone glute squeeze is one of the best glute exercises to strengthen core muscles, shape your weak glutes and support spinal extensor and postural muscles. These single leg glute targets are three glute muscles gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus, and the abs. It is best for those who are suffering from back pain.

How to do it?

  • Lay on your stomach and squeeze your glutes. 
  • Lift one leg three times and take it upward.
  • Count three times and bring the leg back. 
  • Switch legs and repeat the exercise.

For a quick demonstration of this exercise, watch this video.

Bonus Video: Leg Press Alternative 

Benefits Of Glute Isolation Exercises

  1. Glute isolation workouts are essential in glute activation and development and help shape your weak glutes.
  2. They work around the hip joint and support the upper body weight. Moreover, they work on other lower body muscles too.
  3. Best glute exercises like side-lying hip abduction, donkey kicks, and deadlifts help get the perfect butt.
  4. Glute isolation exercises generate power, increase athletic strength and help eliminate laziness and weight gained due to sitting all day.


Frequently Asked Questions

How do you isolate and activate glutes?

You can isolate and activate the glutes by glute isolation exercises. Many people think the glutes are only one muscle, but the glute complex consists of three muscles. Therefore, targeting each muscle is necessary to get a shaped butt.

How do you isolate the gluteus medius?

Glute medius is isolated when a particular exercise targets its muscle directly. Many glute isolation exercises like the Romanian deadlift, single-leg glute isolation exercises, and exercises involving external hip rotation can shape this versatile muscle of the human body.

What are the benefits of glute isolation exercises?

Glute isolation exercises target gluteus muscles and causes glute activation to shape the butt. They stabilize the core, increase strength and give athletic power. Moreover, they help eliminate laziness and fatigue due to office work.


Final Verdict

Glute isolation exercises are the best way to get a shaped butt and stabilize the body's core. If you want to do these exercises at home, then make sure to combine two or more to get fast results. With consistency and an appropriate diet to go with the workout plan, you will achieve your goals in no time. 

About the Author

Samrudha

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