Anatomically Focused Glute Training for Men and Women

  Thick, toned glutes are on trend and today I am dishing out just how to pump that peach. I will highlight how to target 3 gluteal muscles: The gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus.

 Before we jump into glutes, let’s review some important terminology.

  • Extension – a straightening movement that increases the angle between body parts (ex. Going from seated to standing)
  • Midline – an imaginary vertical line that divides the body equally in left and right parts
  • External Rotation – to turn away from your midline
  • Internal Rotation – to turn towards your midline
  • Abduction – to move a limb (ex. Leg) away from your midline
  • Adduction – to move a limb (ex. Leg) toward your midline
  • Trunk – the main portion of your body that includes the chest, abdomen, pelvis, and back

 Now, let’s discuss just what your gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus do for you, and what you can do to help these muscles get and stay strong.

Gluteus Maximus:
The gluteus maximus, is just as it sounds – LARGE! It’s actually the largest skeletal muscle in the human body and creates the shape of your glutes.

• Function 1:  Extension of the thigh at the hip joint.
Think about that big stretch you feel when you perform squats or deadlifts. This feeling occurs because the gluteus maximus muscle is stretching like a rubber band, and then shortening as you return to your starting position.

Ex. Hip Extension Exercises
• Squats • Deadlifts
• Step Ups
• Glute Bridges
• Bulgarian Split Squats

• Function 2: External rotation of the thigh + thigh abduction/adduction1
Think about that big stretch that occurs when you use the hip abduction/adduction machine at the gym. Without your gluteus maximus, this movement wouldn’t be possible.

Ex. External Rotation, Hip Abduction/Adduction Exercises
• Walking laterally while under resistance (glute band above the knees)
• Abduction Machine
• Adduction Machine

Think about that big stretch that occurs when you use the hip abduction/adduction machine at the gym. Without your gluteus maximus, this movement wouldn’t be possible. 

 Gluteus Medius 
Gluteus Minimus

The gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus directly beneath it have the same function.

Function 1: Both muscles work to abduct + internally rotate the thigh at the hip joint and to stabilize the pelvis1

Hip stabilization when you stand on one leg is tough if you have weak glute medius and minimus muscles. It’s important to note that the gluteal muscles in your base leg also work to stabilize your pelvis, even when not in motion. 

• Walking laterally while under resistance (glute band around ankles)
• Side leg raises with cable machine
• 30 degree angle leg raise with cable machine 

Sample Workout:
Perform 12-15 reps x 4 sets of each exercise 






*** Workout Tip: Keep your core stable and don’t overarch your back7 

 Works Cited

  1. MD, Gordana Sendić “Gluteal Muscles.”Kenhub, Kenhub, 19 July 2022,

About the Author: Courtney Alcala-Herrera MS

Courtney lives in Texas with her husband and their two dogs. Courtney is a clinical research and health education expert whose life mission is to spread health and lifestyle modifications to the public. When she’s not traveling across the country monitoring research studies, you can catch Courtney counseling her fitness clients, prepping for her next bikini competition, or racing off to explore with her husband.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice, nor is it to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your physician before starting or changing your diet or exercise program. Any use of this information is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the user.