glute exercises

May 23, 2021

I just completed a cec course called Glute Reboot for my ACSM Exercise Physiologist certification. Lots of them were refreshers but then they got technical and in the weeds so I’ll pass on the need to know and broad strokes. One of the instructors worked in Miami as a group fitness instructor. When she first arrived in Miami an individual approached her to say “Let me tell you what we care about for fitness in Miami….flat tummies and big firm butts!”

Men, do you need this post and these exercises too? Yes, as the body doesn’t distinguish from male and female muscle fibers. You need strength in the glutes and supporting muscles to help you lift heavy and correctly without getting hurt.

When talking about developing or keeping a strong and functional backside, we’re talking about more than just the gluteus maximus (the largest butt muscle) as there are other supporting and synergestic muscles that aid in our movement. I coach our clients to move their bodies in different planes. A plane is an invisible way of dividing the body in sections, like front to back, left to right and rotational.

Planes of movement example exercises that get the booty: tranverse, frontal and sagittal:

Sagittal plane: squatting, Lunging, running, walking

Frontal plane: side lunge, outer thigh or lateral movement (side to side), jumping jacks, roller blading

Transverse plane: roman twist, medicine ball throw to side, curtseys, chest press with rotation, paddling and racquet sports

HOW MANY REPS should you do
to build muscle mass and definition?

60% of 1 Rep Max until muscular fatigue. If I tell a client 12 reps and they do 13 and still can still keep going/have more in the tank then they haven’t reached muscular fatigue.

In order for a squat to be done properly an individual needs to have the ability for flexibility in the femur (upper thigh bone) to be able to internally and externally rotate (rotate in/medially or out/laterally). A weakness in this or in the inner thigh muscles or the gluteus medius muscle then optimal glute function will not exist.

The next time you are working out pay attention to how fatigued you really are, or are you just bored and going for a number. Sometimes we have clients do pause sets in which you pick a weight in which you think you can do multiple sets of let’s say 10 reps with a 5 seconds break between them. If you indeed picked the right weight you would maybe only be able to do 1.5 to 2 sets of 10 reps. The goal is to get a set of 10 reps, rest 5 seconds and maybe not be able to get more than 5-7 reps with that short break. Of course these reps should have perfect form.

When a fitness professional like myself or other qualified and trained fitness staff give you exercise suggestions, we are giving you the broad strokes. For those of you that like the science then at the most basic to work the glutes you have to have hip extension, hip adduction, hip abduction and medial and lateral rotation of the femur at the hip ball and socket joint. Don’t forget that there is an concentric contraction (shortening of the muscle) and an eccentric contraction (lengthening of the muscle). In the lowering phase of a lunge the glute is stretching getting ready to load the muscle for explosive or concentric contraction. Any weakness along the chain the spine or other joints take the load leading for possibility of injury.

Here’s a few exercises below in my library. I couldn’t just stop at 3 for those of you that know me:

This is a curtsey or bowler squat with movement in the frontal plane.This exercise also hits the rotational or tranverse plane by medially and laterally rotating the femur especially since there is a balance on one leg component.

Frontal plane movement. This is a kneeling outer thigh…remember to go for fatigue and for this with no weight will likely require higher reps.

Sagittal plane movement: (can be done with a loop band or band anchored to door as well.

Sagittal plane…One leg squat to bench

Tranverse Plane/Rotation..The staggered chop squat is a golden exercise as it get’s multiplanar movements.

This lunge twist can be done without the back knee being on the floor to fire more glutes. The leg is working hard to stabilize and avoid going in or out which can turn off the glutes. I have clients also do this with a band during zoom online training or for an extra at home exercise. Remember…we’re going for fatique and proper form. Breathe!

So the next time you may wish to poke fun or think it’s boring when you see someone working with a band doing different angles and lots of reps you may want to join in or take note. Often times we need a little push to work harder or up your game to get the body you want. Many of you may remember Abel, one of our personal trainers for several years until he moved to Austin. I follow him on social media and recently saw a post he did that included putting a weight plate on his back whilst doing ab roll outs with the wheel. I messaged him thanks for giving me the inspiration to pump up my own ab routine. Next workout was 25 lbs plate and 2 sets of 10 reps (on my knees of course like him, I don’t wish to throw out my back in the pursuit of a great core).

Find Tonya online with live personal training/coaching or hire her to write a program for you with your own personalized 4-6 minute demo of each of your custom workouts included. Greenville, South Carolina site to be available this year in the town of Travelers Rest, South Carolina. Stay tuned for more details as we are working on securing a location. Memphis location 552 South Main, Memphis, TN 38103 is no longer onsite for training, massage and nutrition coaching.

Tonya Tittle, M.S., ACSM, LMT, TPI Level 1
Energy Fitness
Owner/Dir. of Training

If you haven’t had a functional movement assessment with a professional observe the way you move different joints and movements with your hips, shoulders, and spine then how do you know you are doing the most effective strength training, flexibility or cardio program? Hire someone like me to get you on track with a program to help you reduce current pain, eliminate pain, improve your current program or enhance your athletic performance.

September 7, 2019

Our clients both female and male at Energy Fitness, personal training studio in Downtown Memphis have simple and complex goals for their body transformations.Many of course just say I want to be stronger and more tone (If I had a dollar for every time I heard the word tone in the last 26 years in the fitness industry I could own my own private island 🙂

I’ve been personally incorporating more functional movement testing with our clients since my Titlest Performance Level 1 certification as well as the most recent Rock Tape certification. We’re currently in process of overhauling our fitness assessment for all trainers and clients.

Simply asking you or our clients to move the body in different movement patterns and looking for tightness, weakness and limited range of motion is a key to customizing the core or other exercises we choose as part of a personal training program. Tightness or lack of range of motion in one or more areas of the body may lead to injuries and pain in other areas of the body which is known as referral pain.

This post is about engaging those glutes!’s a real thing or gluteal amnesia, is a condition that occurs when your gluteus medius gets inflamed and forgets to function normally.

Access or Measure what you wish to improve. Can you pass or fail the below assessments? Look at the pictures and try it.

1 Leg bridge test (Accesses the ability of you to engage or activate your glute muscle.)

Can you do the below exercises without your hamstring cramping? You should be able to hold for up to 20 seconds or longer.







Standing 1 Leg Balance eyes open and then closed Can you hold your leg at 90 degree flexion and hold for 20 seconds with and without your eyes closed? 


correct position







How did you fare? Did you have airplane arms or have to put the other foot down or wiggle it around to not fall down?

If so, maybe you need work with those glutes or balance or just want to improve the overall look of your backside and keep darn gravity from making you have saggy or flat butt.




incorrect position


Try these exercises to teach your body how to use those butt muscles. Hold on it you need to and yes, actually touch your butt to bench or chair. Lean forward as necessary to get up. Use a dowel, golf club or broom handle for assistance if needed. Master your own body weight first before adding weight. For an added challenge try G3 below without weight and the back leg not touching the floor, in fact hold it off the floor and in front of your body the whole time. You may need to hold your arms out in front of you for balance.

How many times should I do the exercises? 1-2 times per week, 1-3 sets of 10-15 reps


h20 is a great exercise as you get a hip flexor stretch also. Especially great for runners or those with excessive curve or sway back as it help the pelvis get back into posterior tilt which can also help make the stomach smaller.

This exercise is a great one to separate the feeling of “Am I using my hamstring or my glute to execute each movement?” as you get instant feedback especially if you are only using your hamstring then cramping. Try 20 reps.

Below is one is a tough one. No problem? First you have to be flexible enough to even get the leg across your body then attempt to lift your butt off floor.  Put your elbows on floor to help if you additionally which to work on posture. Make it harder by keeping the bottom leg off the floor while lifting butt and leg up and down. Try 15-20 reps.






Adding a band for resistance for the 1 Leg Heel Pushes is a great way to overload the muscle and get more results. Try 20-50 big range or small pulses reps.







Happy glute work. Keep that butt high and engaged so all your movement patterns are in sync.



Tonya Tittle, M.S., ACSM, TPI Level 1 Certified
Owner/Dir. of Training, Energy Fitness (established 2002)

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