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7 Best Glute Activation Exercises

7 Glute Activation Exercises That Belong in Every Fitness Routine

7 Best Glute Activation Exercises

Activating your glutes is one of those workout terms that's often said, but rarely explained (similar to engaging your core!). But glute activation, or firing up your glute muscles, is super important — and for more than just strength training workouts. When your glutes aren't working properly and engaged, the rest of your body suffers the consequences, resulting in potential pain or injury.

Take for example how often we're seated in our daily lives. Extended periods of sitting can cause hip flexor muscles to tighten and even "turn off" your glutes entirely, leaving you with a very real case of dead butt syndrome, per the Cleveland Clinic.

Especially during COVID, our time sitting down increased, and continues to be a major part of our work day, whether we're WFH or in office. "[We're] sitting for work, sitting in cars, sitting once we get home. Because of this, dead butt syndrome has become its own epidemic," says Ife Obi, ACE-certified personal trainer and certified Pilates trainer. This typically manifests as muscle tightness and numbness in the glutes, but can gradually escalate to more severe pain and inflammation.

Glute activation exercises are the answer for protecting your entire body — not just your butt — from unnecessary discomfort. "Whether in a workout or walking up stairs, if our glutes aren't kicking in, then it will throw our alignment out of whack leading to key issues like back and knee pain," says Obi. She emphasizes that many people don't even realize how much we use our glutes throughout the day, relying on them to keep us upright, stable, and moving forward.

Strengthening your glute muscles is crucial in ensuring that they're ready when you need them, whether that's during a workout or squatting down to pick up your kid. Ahead, we've rounded up seven of the best glute activation exercises, all of which can be done without any equipment. For the record, you don't need to do them all together — choose three moves from the list ahead, and complete two to three sets of 10 to 12 reps for each exercise. For energizing sleepy glutes, protecting against injury, and building a stronger butt, aim to do these glute activation exercises about three times a week.

— Additional reporting by Lauren Mazzo and Chandler Plante

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