Have you ever contemplated the importance of a toned butt, specifically the muscles that create it – glutes? If not, then you should reconsider it because it is more essential than you could imagine. First of all, well-toned glutes are responsible for the shape of our buttocks. If we train our glutes we end up with a juicy, tight butt. Secondly, it is not only about the appearance of your butt you do want to brag about wearing new skinny jeans or sweat shorts. The point is that glute muscles are the foremost parts of our body since they stabilize our body, prevent injuries, and aid in better athletic performance. Therefore, isolation glute exercises are the best ways to train your glute muscles. Moreover, you do not necessarily need to search for the nearest gym and buy a membership there to activate your glutes. There is a whole range of glute isolation exercises at home and in the gym. All you need to have is motivation, a bottle of water, and determination to work out those glutes. This article is going to cover the importance of glute muscles and how to get a toned butt with effective glute isolation exercises.
What’s Glute Isolation?
Before we jump into the term “glute isolation” we need to learn more about the anatomy of glutes. The point is that if we know only little about our body anatomy we can’t effectively train our muscles because we rarely understand their importance.
Glutes are essential muscles that connect the lower back with our legs (7). When our glutes are tight we might feel pain in our back and have difficulty moving.
Glutes consist of three muscles: gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, and gluteus maximus (6).
- Gluteus minimus. The smallest gluteal muscle is situated beneath the gluteus medius. It helps to keep the hips level during movements, abducts the hips, and aids in moving the legs forward and backward.
- Gluteus medius. A thick muscle in the upper outer side of the buttocks. It stabilizes hips, plays a crucial role in hip extension, aids with external and internal hip rotation, and abducts the hips.
- Gluteus maximus. One of the prominent hip extensors (3). This biggest and strongest muscle creates the round shape of our buttocks. It provides hip extension, body stability, hip external rotation, hip adduction, and abduction.
Thus, glute isolation means doing exercises that target this specific group of muscles and involve the movement of one joint. Unlike compound exercises that are focused on involving multiple joints, glute isolation is focused on targeting glutes and involves the movement of a hip joint.
The benefits of the best glute isolation exercises are versatile:
- They activate glutes and prepare you for greater compound training.
- Glute isolation can improve posture.
- This type of workout engages smaller muscles.
- They alleviate back pain.
- Glute isolation workouts help you avoid injury in other muscles.
- They give your booty a toned attractive shape.
Clearly, glute isolation is a cornerstone of attractive buttocks, better posture, and more prolific training. In the next paragraphs, you are going to discover the top booty isolation exercises you can perform at home and the gym.
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What Are Some Isolation Exercises For Glutes?
Among different isolation exercises for glutes, I have decided to highlight the top 6 trainings. 3 of them you should perform at the gym with the help of cable machines and the other 3 can be performed at home. Let’s get started!
Best glute isolation exercises at the gym:
Pause Hip Thrusts
This is a great exercise that activates gluteus maximus and allows you to lift heavy weights without putting pressure on the lower back. The weight is loaded horizontally and it helps you stimulate new muscle growth while increasing the strength and power of the glutes.
How to do it:
- Set up a barbell parallel to a bench with weight plates wide. Use a towel or pad on the bar to avoid discomfort.
- Sit on the bench and roll the bar over your legs.
- Place your feet on the ground and bend your knees.
- Hold the bar on the outside of your knees.
- Lean back into the bench and lift your butt off the floor.
- Squeeze the glutes and lift the bar until your hips are fully extended.
- Hold at the top for a few seconds.
- Lower the bar slowly.
- Repeat again.
Barbell Glute Bridge
The barbell glute bridge looks similar to the hip thrust. But in this case, your upper back will be on the ground. Therefore, this is going to reduce the engagement of the quads.
How to do it:
- Prepare the barbell with weight plates wide.
- Sit down, then place a bar over your legs.
- Lie down, bend at the knees and place your feet close to your glutes.
- Grab the barbell and lift your butt off the floor.
- Squeeze your glutes and hold briefly at the top.
- Slowly lower to the starting position.
- Repeat again.
Kickbacks With A Cable Machine
This is one of the best glute isolation exercises for bodybuilding because it involves all three gluteal muscles. Plus, it allows you to concentrate on the mind-muscle connection. On top of that, standing on one leg activates your gluteus minimus and gluteus medius more.
How to do it:
- Set up the cable machine at the lowest point and attach the cuff.
- Stand in front of the machine and strap the ankle cuff to your leg
- Kick your active leg back until it’s parallel with your torso.
- Squeeze your glutes at the top for a few seconds.
- Slowly lower your leg.
- Repeat at least 5 times and switch legs.
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Glute isolation exercises at home:
Squats are a top-notch exercise that strengthens your glutes and gives your buttocks better looks (2). You can do them everywhere: in the park, at home, or even on top of the mountains (be careful with this one). Everyone can perform this exercise. One quick tip: if you desire to bring more intensity to this type of training you can add weights and perform squats with them. Plus, the resistance band around your knees will give even more benefits.
How to do it:
- Stand in front of the chair or a bench with your feet hip-width apart, and bend slightly forward from the waist.
- Inhale and lower your body toward the chair by keeping your back straight.
- Touch the edge of the chair with your glutes (but do not sit) and keep your knees over the ankles.
- Exhale, squeeze your glutes and return to the start position.
- Repeat 10 to 12 times. If you can do more then do more (2).
Clamshells is an excellent glute isolation exercise that you can perform with bodyweight or added resistance. It is recommended to add a resistance band to this exercise to give more tension to muscles. This exercise is perfect for isolating the glutes.
How to do it:
- Place the resistance band around your legs above your knees.
- Lay down on your side and keep your head on your arm. Place your other arm’s hand on the floor in front of your chest.
- Bring your feet back towards your butt with your knees at a 90-degree angle.
- Keep your feet together and raise your top leg up as far as you can. Hold briefly by squeezing your glutes.
- Lower the leg slowly to starting position.
- Repeat 10 times and then switch sides.
All you need to have for this amazing exercise is your bodyweight and added resistance bands. Lateral walks increase the time under tension on your glutes, as you’re doing this workout in a half squat the whole time.
How to do it:
- Place a resistance band above your knees.
- Get into a partial squat with your knees bent and your butt down. Keep your feet at shoulder width.
- Take a step to your right keeping your glutes, core, and legs engaged.
- Take a couple of steps to one side, then complete the equal number in the other direction.
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Do Glute Isolation Exercises Work?
When we lead a sedentary lifestyle by only sitting on the chair all day long or watching some shows on the couch we end up with weak glutes. Unfortunately, this will negatively affect your posture, raise the risk of back pain, and give you fewer chances to effectively engage in intense workouts.
Therefore, glute isolation exercises are the best solution for you to transform weak muscles into stronger glutes that will improve your performance. Exercises that isolate glutes work because they target three important gluteal muscles simultaneously reducing engagement of other large muscles like quads and hamstrings. Once you check out the benefits of the glutes isolation workout you will consider adding it to your weekly training.
- Better performance. It doesn’t matter whether you are an athlete or not. Toned glutes help you move better because they support the upper body. Simple walking, running, jogging, or even sitting require glutes. Thus, healthy glutes not only aid in better athletic performance but also make your everyday actions easier.
- Back pain elimination. We are aware that glutes help us stabilize the spine. Weak glutes do not do a very good job of stabilization which leads to back pain. By performing butt isolation exercises you protect your back from future possible pain.
- Reduction of knee pain. Sometimes during a workout some amateurs or even professional athletes get ankle or knee injuries. One of the most common reasons is weak glutes. With the help of glute isolation exercises, you strengthen the glutes and lower the risk for future knee or ankle pain.
- Toned booty is always a plus. Who doesn’t want to look good in new tight jeans? Our appearance affects our emotional state and self-esteem no matter what we say. Therefore, when we stick to a glute isolation workout plan we raise the chances to get well-shaped buttocks. Because glute muscles create the shape of our booty these exercises are perfect since they are focused mostly on our butt. The more we do them, the more a well-rounded peachy tush we get.
How Do I Isolate My Butt?
You can’t completely isolate your butt because by performing a glute isolation workout you also put pressure on lower body muscles and legs. However, there is nothing bad in training different muscles at the same time. Still, you can put more pressure on your butt with specific glute isolation exercises.
Here are two winning workouts isolation you can perform at home:
To perform this workout you will need to prepare a bench or any other elevated surface. This glute isolation exercise at home is going to burn your glutes.
How to do it:
- Lie your face down on a bench or elevated surface.
- Keep your hips on the edge of the bench with your legs hanging off the edge.
- Bend your knees at 90 degrees.
- Raise your legs to make a straight line and squeeze your glutes.
- Lower back to the starting position.
Single Leg Glute Bridge
Do this exercise slowly on the yoga mat so that you won’t arch your back. Do not forget to breathe during each exercise.
How to do it:
- Lie your feet flat on the floor, bend your knees and keep your arms on the floor by your sides.
- Raise one foot off the floor.
- Push through your heel to lift your hips off the floor and create a straight line from your shoulder to your knee. Squeeze your glute at the top.
- Lower back down to the starting position slowly.
With the help of these simple exercises you will strengthen your muscles, and strength training is essential to overall well-being. According to a study in 2020, spending 2 hours or more on a strength workout each week reduces the risk of death (5).
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How Do You Isolate The Gluteus Maximus?
Gluteus maximus is the most powerful muscle in the human body and plays an essential role in body functioning as well as athletic performance (1). With that in mind, it is a great idea to add gluteus maximus isolation exercises to your training. If you perform them consistently you will strengthen your buttocks, legs, and hips.
We have highlighted the top 3 isolation gluteus maximus training that mostly targets this specific largest muscle. The best part about this workout is that you don’t need to use any equipment except for the mat and a spacious place.
Top Gluteus Maximus Exercises
Also, called glute activation lunge this workout aims to tone your glutes with less stress on your knees (4).
How to do it:
- Stand straight, keep your feet together and your arms at the sides.
- Step the right foot back and cross it behind the right. Keep the body’s weight on the left foot.
- Bend both knees to squat and stand up.
- Repeat on each side (4).
Bend-Knee Hip Extensions
With the help of this low-impact exercise, you won’t feel pressure on your knees. Plus, you can make it more challenging using ankle weights.
How to do it:
- Get on your fours, with the knees bent.
- Contract the right glute muscles and lift the right leg. Keep the knee bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
Side-Lying Hip Abduction
This equipment-free exercise works well for beginners and targets both gluteus maximus and legs. You can lift a leg with a resistance band if you feel like it’s too easy for you. Moreover, hip abductions improve stability and agility.
How to do it:
- Lie down on your side with your legs straight. Support the head with your arm or a pillow.
- Lift the leg while keeping your core engaged. Lower it slowly.
- Repeat 10–15 times.
- Lie on the other side and repeat.
The Bottom Line
Clearly, it is possible to get a toned butt with effective glute isolation exercises. Glute isolation means performing exercises that target glute muscles: gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, and gluteus maximus. All of these muscles create the shape of our buttocks, improve posture, and protect us from back pain. That said, it is important not to neglect training glutes.
There are different variations of isolation glutes workout. You can do these exercises at the gym with different professional equipment or even at home only on a mat.
Indeed, it is hard to solely isolate glutes without engaging other muscles and legs. Still, the combination of glute isolation workout with other strengthening exercises will only benefit your overall being and athletic aesthetics.
While performing glutes exercises at home, try to add a resistance band and extra weights so that your workout would become more challenging and effective.
In case you feel any pain in your knees, stop the workout immediately and consult a specialist.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- ASSESSING AND TREATING GLUTEUS MAXIMUS WEAKNESS – A CLINICAL COMMENTARY (2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Fitness Challenge: Abs and Glutes (2014, webmd.com)
- Gluteus Maximus Activation during Common Strength and Hypertrophy Exercises: A Systematic Review (2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Gluteus maximus exercises to try at home (2022, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Relationship Between Muscle-Strengthening Activity and Cause-Specific Mortality in a Large US Cohort (2020, cdc.gov)
- Slideshow: How to Build a Better Butt (2020, webmd.com)
- Tight glutes: Stretches and prevention (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)