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Hammer Fitness Blog

12 Ways to Better Glutes and Hamstrings

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Glute and Hamstring Tie-In
  3. 6 Exercises for Glutes and Hamstrings To Do at the Gym
  4. 6 Exercises for Glutes and Hamstrings To Do at Home


Nothing says fit like a well-shaped, firm derriere or better known as glutes and hamstrings.  While the general population seems to be obsessed with having “abs,” our butts are always visible.

Prominent posteriors are not only mainstream in the fitness world but they are often used as status symbols in pop culture.  Sporting a big ass has made more than one millennial a multi-millionaire.  Science supports that men are attracted more to bums than breasts and it could be because tiny waists and larger hips show a propensity to procreate easier.

There is another theory floating around that women with bigger bums are also more intelligent, something to do with the gluteal femoral fat being comprised of long-chain, polyunsaturated fatty acids that contribute to babies’ brain development. A few of our IFBB Pro athlete coaches Julia Marie and Irada Humbatova are living proof! Both are intelligent coaches that have earned themselves the title of Miss Bikini Canada.

Our glutes are made up of three muscles:  gluteus maximus, gluteus minimus and gluteus medius with the Maximus being the M.V.P.  The largest of the three, the gluteus maximus, gives the shape and power of our butts.  Think of all the sports where the athlete requires explosive and fast power.  Now think of a specific athlete and chances are they have a firm, perfectly round bum.  You won’t find a sprinter, soccer player, lacrosse, field hockey, or a football player with a flat bum.  The conditioning effect from explosive, anaerobic sprints required in these sports strengthen and shape the glutes.  That is the sports and active world.  But in the mainstream forum, unfortunately, too many of us use it for sitting, which dramatically diminishes both shape and strength.

What may sound like a joke is actually a real phenomenon:  Dormant Butt Syndrome (DBS).  Cause – sitting and not using the glutes correctly.  Curable – yes, but it takes correct exercise selection, effort and consistency to actually get the glutes to “fire” and contract properly.  What this actually is is a combination of issues in the lower body such as tight hip flexors and weak glutes.  Left alone, these muscle imbalances may contribute to hamstring injuries, back pain, as well as, knee and hip injuries.  In fact, it is estimated that many of these complaints and issues actually originate from having weak or under-functioning glutes.

The Glute and Hamstring Tie-In

Strong and functioning glutes alleviate additional pressure on your back by stabilizing the pelvis and hips.  This isn’t just important for doing squats and deadlifts but for all movement.  To accurately hit all three muscles of the glutes, you need to choose exercises that will adequately fatigue all three.  Our bums do more for us than fill out our jeans.  Their anatomical function is leg abduction (extend your thigh to the side), hip rotation, and thrusting your hips forward.  Doing general leg exercises will not give you the results you want.

Regardless of your desire:  function or fashion – the message is still the same.  You have to properly target these three muscles in order to reap the rewards.  Exercise selection must be specific and the glutes need to be conditioned in every plane of motion and function they perform.

The second muscle group to focus on is your hamstrings.  Our hamstrings are three muscles (semitendinosus, semimembranosus, biceps femoris long & short head) that cross two joints:  hip and knee.  In addition to adding a pleasing shape to the back of the thigh, our hamstrings are responsible for bending the knee and extending the hip.

Where these muscles meet (glute-hamstring tie-in) creates a very pleasing shape.  For most women, this is also an area on the body that easily stores fat and can be the hardest to reshape.  Your exercise selection needs to be effective to make changes, and you must be diligent with form and intensity, working hard to go beyond fatigue.  You need to train to failure.  Below are some compound exercises that will target these two muscle groups.

6 Exercises for Glutes and Hamstrings To Do at the Gym

Hip Abduction

Dead Lifts

Glute Focused Back Extensions

Smith Machine Sumo Squats

Glute/Hip Thrusts

Lying Leg Curls

6 Exercises for Glutes and Hamstrings To Do at Home

Curtsey Lunges

Glute Dumbbell Kickback

Straight Leg Kickback

Romanian Dead Lifts

Banded Hip Thrusts

Resistance Band Clam Shells