Wrong. Try this smart no-gear workout from Glute Guy Bret Contreras , Ph.D., C.S.C.S.*D, author of Glute Lab, and youll realize thats anything but true.
By working through a circuit of seven glute exercisesincluding split-squats, hip-extensions, and hip-adduction variations as well as deficitsContreras manages to fatigue every function and fiber of the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus.
Do three rounds of the following exercises, ideally in bare or grippy-sock-clad feet.
Deficit Split Squat
15 reps per side
- Set up two ottomans (or any equal-height, low, sturdy surfaces will work) in line and a couple feet apart from each other. Get in a split stance with one foot on each ottoman, and transfer your weight to the front foot.
- With your arms out in front of you for balance, lower straight down so that your back knee lowers between the platforms. Pause, then then raise back up, letting your back foot rise briefly off the ottoman at the top of the movement.
- Note: If you dont have two very sturdy elevated objects, go ahead and perform this with both feet on the floor. Youll miss out on a fuller range of motion, but you wont risk busting your head.
Single-Leg Hip Thrust with Pause
12 reps per side
- Sit on the floor with your back against the edge of a couch, and your feet flat on the floor in front of you, spread hip-width apart. Place your arms out to your sides on the edge of the couch for balance. Brace your core, transfer your weight to one foot, and raise your other off of the floor.
- Drive through your heel and squeeze your glutes to raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from knees to shoulders. Hold this position for three seconds before lowering back to start. Keep your head still and eyes pointed on something straight in front of you throughout the entire exercise.
- Note: If you feel this more in your hammies than in your glutes, step your planted foot a few inches closer to your body. If your quads are killing, step your foot a few inches away from you.
Extra-Range Side-Lying Hip Raise
10 reps per side
- Set up two ottomans (again, any equal-height, low, sturdy surfaces will work) in line and a foot or so apart from each other. Place one forearm and knee on each, place your top hand on your hip for balance, and brace your core.
- Lower your bottom hips between the two platforms, then raise your hips as high as possible. Simultaneously squeeze the glutes of your top hip to raise your top knee toward the ceiling and away from your bottom knee. Pause, and lower your hips back between the platforms.
- Note: Again, if you dont have anything sturdy to use, opt for performing this exercise on the floor.
1 Bulgarian Split Squat
10 reps per side
- Stand a few feet in front of a couch or sturdy chair, and place the top of one foot on its edge. Place your hands on your hips and brace your core.
- Bend your hips and knees to lower your torso straight toward the floor, then drive through your front heel to raise back up. Add in an additional pulse at the top of the movement.
Extra-Range Side-Lying Hip Abduction
20 reps per side
- Sit on the edge of a couch or sturdy chair, leaning on one side with your bottom foot on the floor and your top leg straight and in line with your torso.
- Squeeze your glutes to raise the top leg as high as possible, pause, then lower back to the floor.
Feet-Elevated Frog Pump
- Lie on the floor in front of a couch, place both feet on its edge, then let your knees fall out to the sides to press the soles of your feet together. Dig your arms into the floor to help keep you stable, and brace your core.
- Squeeze your glutes to raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from feet to shoulders, then immediately lower part-way to the floor before driving into the next rep.
Quadruped Leg Swing
20 reps per side
- Set up two ottomans (any equal-height, low, sturdy surfaces will work) in line and a foot or so apart from each other. Place your hands on one and knees on another to get into a strong table-top position.
- Pull one leg toward your chest, then squeeze your glutes to swing (with control) your leg behind you and above your hips, maintaining a slight bend in your knee throughout. If youre on top of two large platforms, you will need to scoot your hands and knees toward the side of your swinging leg.
- Note: On this one, if you dont have two elevated objects of the same height, your best option in to perform the leg swings from a standing position with your hands on a wall or counter.