The Glutes and Hamstrings Workout That'll Change Your Butt Forever
Long hours of sitting in front of a computer and too little time for exercise are the main causes of weak glutes, tight hamstrings, and lower back pain.
The only way to get rid of this problem is to do more exercises that target these muscles. But it's hard to find effective exercises that don't take up too much time.
This workout will give you an amazing booty without spending hours at the gym! After doing this routine two times per week for eight weeks, you should notice stronger glutes and hamstrings with less back pain when standing up from a seated position!
Hamstring and glute muscles “Backside” Anatomy
The gluteal muscles are three muscles that attach to the iliac crest and sacrum and extend to the femur. The three muscles:
- Gluteus maximum.
- Gluteus medius.
- And gluteus minimus.
They are all involved in the extension of the thigh. They also externally rotate the femur. The hamstrings are made up of three different muscles that originate at the knee joint on the tibia and fibula:
- Biceps femoris
These muscles attach to the tibia near the knee joint. In addition, the hamstring muscles assist with flexing or bending at the knee joint and extending from a flexed position.
The importance of your glutes and hamstrings
Your glutes and hamstrings mainly act as a supporter of your body weight when walking or running, as well as helping to extend the hip joint.
In addition, your glutes control the position of the pelvis and are important in a wide range of other movements such as bending or squatting.
Your hamstring muscles are located on the back of your thighs, and they help to straighten your knee joint.
They are also important in supporting a wide range of movements involving bending, such as moving forward or kicking a ball.
Regular exercising of these muscles can help keep them strong, flexible, and injury-free so that you enjoy greater performance in any activities you participate in.
Top Glute and Hamstrings Activation Exercises
Many different exercises can strengthen the glutes and hamstrings, but which ones are the best?
The following is a list of what I consider to be some of the most effective glutes and hamstrings activation exercises.
Squats may very well be the most effective glute and hamstring activation exercise in existence. You can squat with a barbell on your back, dumbbells, a Smith Machine, or just bodyweight.
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointing out slightly.
- Bend knees to lower hips to 90 degrees.
- Keep hip bones back and chest up.
- Don't let the knees travel over toes as you lower; instead, push the knees out and don't let them buckle inwards either.
- Hold for a brief count and stand up straight while squeezing the glutes.
- Bend over and pause at 90 degrees.
- Keeping back straight, push hips forward until upright. Make sure you keep your knees pushed out throughout the entire movement.
- Hold for a brief count and return to the start position.
Squat to parallel knees at 90 degrees is where you should aim for when squatting. If your knee angle is not greater than 90 degrees, then you're using your quads too much and not activating the glutes/hamstrings as well.
If your knees are tracking over your toes in any way, shape, or form, then you are rounding forward and using your lower back to squat, which is a terrible practice.
If this is happening to you, stop squatting with a rounded back and instead stand up tall when you squat, keeping your chest out. With time and practice, you'll find that form improves dramatically.
Bulgarian Split Squat
The Bulgarian split squat is a variation of the regular back lunge and allows you to focus on one leg at a time.
- Hold dumbbells in each hand with arms straight down by sides.
- Place your left leg in front of your body, keeping the shin vertical with your left knee directly above the ankle. Place your right foot on a bench or chair. Make sure that there isn't too much distance between your left foot and your right leg.
- Slowly lower yourself down until the knee of the rear leg is almost touching the floor and glutes/hamstrings are fully engaged. Hold for a brief count at the bottom, pushing yourself back up to start position tall and squeezing glutes/hamstrings hard throughout the entire movement.
- Do not allow the front knee to travel over toes, and make sure the front shin stays vertical.
- Alternate the movement with your right leg.
The Dumbbell Deadlift is an exercise in weight training that activates the hamstrings and glutes. It is a variation of the conventional deadlift but only uses one dumbbell, which allows more balance to be directed into the movement.
A prevalent exercise, but one that still works incredibly well.
- Keep your back straight and chest up throughout the movement.
- Hold dumbbells in each hand with arms hanging down at sides to start.
- Begin by bending from the knees and hips while keeping the back flat; maintain a natural arch in your lower back during this motion.
- Keep pushing the hips forward and stopping when your back naturally curves.
- Stop if you feel any strain or stretch in your lower back. This is where you have to maintain a neutral spine position throughout the movement. For example, if your body wants to round during the movement, that means it's not supposed to be done with weights until you achieve proper form.
- Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the start position and repeat.
- Generally, 2-4 sets of 8-10 reps work well for this exercise.
The Romanian deadlift is another variation of the conventional deadlift, which has a slightly different movement pattern while activating most of the same muscles—a prevalent exercise that still works incredibly well.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes facing straight ahead.
- While maintaining a natural arch in your lower back, bend forward from the hips until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings/glutes.
- Hold for a brief count, resisting the urge to round forward and return to start position with a flat back.
- The key difference between this exercise and an overhand deadlift is that when you are bent over at the waist, you want to keep your chest out and shoulder blades back, making the arms parallel to the floor.
- Don't round forward because that's not what this is supposed to do for you--rather, it helps strengthen your hamstrings/glutes from a different angle than an overhand deadlift does.
- This motion does require balance and coordination, so beginners should start with a lower weight and more reps, gradually adding weight when the form gets better.
- 2-4 sets of 8-10 reps work well for this exercise.
The kettlebell swing is a great glute/hamstrings exercise that works the posterior chain. Because it is done at high speeds, coordination and balance must also be part of the movement.
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent with arms down to sides (this will help your body remain steady).
- Holding the kettlebell with both hands at the center, squat down to start (the knee bend must be deep, but not past 90 degrees).
- Forcefully push your body up into a standing position while swinging the kettlebell upward in an explosive motion.
- Continue chest out and shoulders back as you swing upwards and return to starting position. The key is to make sure the kettlebell is swinging fast--this will engage your glute/hamstring muscles and give you an incredible workout.
- Repeat for as many reps as possible with good form (you have to do at least 15-20 swings per set).
Because this is a demanding exercise, beginners may want to start with no weight or be lightweight and focus on perfecting the form.
According to experts, Good Morning exercises are one of the most under-utilized and underestimated leg exercises.
I was following hamstring exercises, but when I found the good mornings, my seek was over. What an exercise!
Yet, it is a fundamental exercise that targets many muscle groups, including glutes, lower back, femoral muscles, and core and quadriceps.
- At the beginning of every Good Morning exercise, you have to stand up with your legs separated at a distance equivalent to that from shoulder to shoulder.
- Then you have to take hold of an overhead bar and put it behind your head (approximately under trapezius muscles).
- To start the movement, bend forward while keeping your back upright like a bow. When you reach full flexion in this position, make sure not only that your torso is parallel but also keep bending slightly at the knees as well!
- You can hold the final position for one or two seconds, where you will feel your abdomen tighten.
- Once you do this, return to the starting position.
The lunge is the perfect exercise to strengthen your legs. It also improves balance, increases hip flexibility, and corrects posture while working on coordination too!
- With your feet together, tuck in your hips and engage the core to stabilize.
- Slight bend your right leg and take a big step out to the front with your right foot.
- When you take your leg forward and your foot hits the ground, hinge forward at the hips while keeping your left leg straight.
- Your palms should be up as you bend down in this pose known for its stretch benefits!
- Remain mindful not to overextend by bending just so far before coming back up again into a stand position.
This is a lower-body exercise that targets the glutes, hamstrings/quadriceps, and groin muscles.
- To make a side lunge, stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Take a big step to the left, bend both knees until they're at 90 degrees each, and nearly touch your left heel.
- This should take around two seconds before pushing back up into starting position for all of them or just switching legs after every other one on whichever leg you start out doing it on first!
The glute bridge exercise is a great hip extension exercise for the glutes and hamstrings. It can also help strengthen the lower back and create stability in the hip area when done properly. It can also be used as a warm-up exercise before heavier lifts.
- A simple way to do a glute bridge is by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Lift your hips so they are in line with your knees and shoulders. The glutes should really be stretching at the top of this exercise.
- Hold for two or three seconds before lowering back down to starting position.
This is not only a good glute workout but can also help strengthen your lower back muscles. This is because when you do this exercise, it engages all of these muscles at once!
Barbell Hip Thrust
The Hip Thrust is one of the most efficient ways to work your butt. This exercise increases horizontal force production and focuses on hip extension, primarily activating the gluteus maximus versus hamstring activation.
- Pace the barbell on your hips.
- Begin lifting the bar upward, driving your hips up as high as possible, and keeping your back against the ground.
- At the top position, squeeze the glutes, hold for two seconds, then return to the starting position.
The stiff-leg deadlift is a fierce strength training exercise that changes the form of the conventional deadlift. The straight leg engages your posterior chain muscles, including glutes, calves, lats, and hamstrings.
- Stand up straight with the bar on the floor, placing a 5-10 lbs plate under each foot for balance if needed.
- Next, bend down and grab the bar with an overhand grip. Again, go as low as possible while maintaining good form.
- The key is to keep your back straight and not bend forward at the waist when doing this exercise.
- When you're in the bottom position, slowly push up just until your upper body comes back to a fully standing position while squeezing and contracting your hamstrings.
- It would be best to perform 5 sets of 10 reps for each of these exercises.
This is a basic yet very effective and easy, to begin with, workout for beginners who are interested in getting started exercising their glutes!
Glute and hamstrings 2 days workout routine
This glute and hamstring workout routine I'm going to show you is for two days. You can train the third day, but only if you're looking for muscle definition! Leave one to two days of rest between workouts, though.
You know that you can mix and match the exercises I've shown. Find your favorites.
|Squats||3 x 15 reps.|
|Good-mornings||3 x 12 reps.|
|Barbell hip-thrusts||3 x 15 reps.|
|Stiff-leg deadlift||3 x 12 reps.|
|Lunges||3 x 15 reps.|
|Bulgarian split squat||3 x 12 reps.|
|Romanian deadlift||3 x 15 reps.|
|Glute bridge||3 x 15 reps.|
I leave you an easy-to-do glutes and hamstrings workout with dumbbells by Caroline Girvan.
Conclusion paragraph: I bet you didn’t know that your glutes and hamstrings are the most powerful muscle groups in your body.
The muscles get worked during everyday activities such as walking, running, or even sitting.
To keep them healthy and toned for life-long fitness benefits, it is important to work for these 2 muscle groups regularly!
Here's an easy routine to do with some basic equipment like barbells and weights. You can find more exercises here if this seems too simple! (Trusted sources 1*, 2*, 3*)
Medically reviewed and approved by Nataniel Josue M D.