Glute exercises can play an important role in making you a more efficient and injury-free triathlete. This is because strong glutes help you to be able to move your legs independently of any movement in your spine or hips.
In other words you need to be able to control your pelvis and spine, and allow the work that your legs are doing to propel you forward without wasting energy or putting undue stress on any part of your body.
Weak gluteal (buttock) muscles can also result in lack of control of the hips. Weak glutes have been associated with all sorts of injuries, from knee problems to shin splints and Achilles tendinitis. In fact if you ask an elite triathlete, the chances of them doing specific exercises to strengthen their glutes is very high.
As you can see in the picture below, the athlete's weak glutes and poor hip stability are meaning her hip drops as her foot lands. This causes pressure on her knees, ankles and feet. Energy is wasted.
For all of the exercises below it is important that you start off by making sure that engage your abdominal muscles. You will then start off with good posture which you need to maintain throughout the movement.
Have a look at our core strength workouts page for how to do this.
Here is a range of glute exercises to give you a backside of steel, and help you avoid injury. We have included videos so you can see exactly how to do the exercises.
You can start from the beginning and run through all the exercises in one conditioning session, or pick and choose some of the glute exercises as part of a circuit session or after another training session.
As your glutes get stronger you can start to use a theraband to provide resistance.
If you have any questions about any of these exercises then please ask us.
Floor-based glute exercises:
These first exercises can be done in a circuit. Start of with 15 seconds for each exercise and build up until you can do at least 30 seconds for each.
Throughout these exercises ensure that your hips are stable and that the only thing moving is the active leg.
The video below illustrates the following exercises:
Standing Dynamic Glute Exercises:
Crab Walk With Theraband:
Start off with doing two sets of 15 steps one way and 15 steps back the other way, and increase the number of steps and sets until you can do at least three sets of 30 steps in both directions.
Hurdle Trail Leg Exercise:
Keep hips and upper body completely still. Do not let your shoulders or hips shift to the side as you move your leg over the hurdle. You will feel this in your glutes on both the moving leg and also the supporting leg.
Aim to do 10 repetitions on each leg three times. Keep the movement slow and controlled.
Full Body Exercises For Hip Control:
Planks and side plank (keep hips up, shoulders down, back flat). Start off holding for as long as you can maintain good posture in these positions. So don't let your hips drop or back sag. You should aim to build up to being able to hold these positions for two minutes.
Position yourself on your hands and knees on the floor, with your back flat. Without letting your hips move or your back sag, slowly stretch out one hand and the opposite foot. Don’t bring your leg or arm above horizontal. Lower and repeat on the other side. Start of with 5 each side and build up to 10 - 15 on each side.
Lie on your back with your arms raised above your head and your knees bent (90 angle at hip). Then extend your arms and legs so that you are in a straight line, but don’t allow your arms or legs to touch the floor. Return to the start position and repeat. Keep your abdominal muscles activated and maintain a neutral spine position.
Start off with doing as many as you can whilst maintaining good posture and build up from there to a target of 30 repetitions.
Side Plank Circuits For Hip Control:
These are great exercises to do once you have built up a good level of glute strength. They put pressure on your core and glutes to maintain hip alignment.
You do them on your side and they can be done balanced on your knee.
Aim to be able to do 10 repetitions of each exercise and build up from there. You can vary the exercises by doing a side plank for say 15 seconds then doing 15 seconds of one of the leg-moving exercises and repeating the two for a set duration, building up the duration as you are able to hold the position for longer.
These exercises can also be done with your supporting leg straight and your weight being supported by your arm and foot:
Standing Hip Control Exercises:
Keep your pelvis and ribcage moving together. You can progress this by adding a stick or bar. Aim for 5 repetitions on each leg initially.
Hold a stick, bar or barbell with weight and the lean forwards from the hip. Flex forward to at least 70 degrees. Keep your hips facing forwards and the movement slow and controlled. You can progress to doing these single-legged, with the non-standing leg raising up behind you as in the aeroplane exercise. Aim to do 20 repetitions three times without a weight, 8 - 10 if you progress to using a weight.
Maintain form – keep lower back with lumbar lordosis (slight curve in the lower back) until hips are parallel to knee. Don’t go all the way down if your back starts to hinge forwards - ie your hands go in front of your knees. You can add a barbell with a weight above your head instead of a stick as you progress. Aim to do 10 repetitions with perfect control and posture and then start adding some weight.
Got any questions about these glute exercises?
Then ask us!
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