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What are the Best Glute Exercises?

In my experience as a practitioner, the glutes are arguably the most important muscle group when dealing with athletes. When working specifically with runners and triathletes, this muscle group is neglected more often than any other. But, our social media timelines are filled with declarations of “the best glute exercise” and “get stronger glutes with this secret” and the like. But what does the research say about this all-important group?

First, let’s discuss the glutes as a group. You should be familiar with gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. Here is a picture:

The most aesthetic glute of the bunch is the gluteus maximus. This is the largest and most visible of the three, and acts to perform primarily hip extension (among other actions). Hip extension is how you generate power and drive when pushing off the ground or driving through your pedal stroke. Gluteus medius is a bit deeper than glute max and has the primary function of hip abduction, meaning pushing your leg away from midline. This muscle is responsible for stabilizing your pelvis and knee when running and riding. Gluteus minimus also performs important actions, but we will not discuss it during this post.