Fitness Tips

Trainers Say ‘3-Way Glutes’ Are the Secret to a Strong Backside

Dominique Michelle Astorino

Photo: Getty/ DjordjeDjurdjevic
Let’s talk about your butt! Specifically, your butt muscles. You see, your buns are made up of a whole group of muscles—three, to be exact: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. These, as you may have already guessed, are referred to collectively as “the glutes,” and they serve a number of purposes including extension and rotation, abduction and adduction, and preventing pain in the low back and knees. Strong glutes contribute to a healthier, happier more mobile body.

Typically, exercises target one (sometimes two) of the muscles within the glutes group. For instance: Deadlifts and step-ups tend to focus on the glute max (the biggest of the bunch) while side-lying clamshells work on the glute med (they’ll be on fire), and fire hydrants get into the glute med and minimus simultaneously.

A combination of exercises usually does the trick of getting all those muscles, but we wanted to see if there was a particular move that could target all three at once. As it turns out, there is—Sridhar Yalamanchili, PT, MSPT, with Atlantic Spine Center in New Jersey, recommends the frog-leg bridge.

“The glutes are the powerhouse of the body not only because of their size but for the multi-planar stabilizing role they play,” says Yalamanchili. “This also means to train the glutes, there is no one perfect move. Rather a combination approach of moving the hip in various directions and including an activation program gives better results. The frog-leg bridge combines hip extension, abduction, and rotation—and can be useful as part of a comprehensive training program.”

How to do the frog-leg bridge

Before you get into the position, you’ll need a resistance band, a yoga mat or towel (make yourself comfortable on the floor!), and a little bit of space around you to move.

  1. Place a resistance band around your thighs.
  2. Lay on your back with hips and knees bent, keeping the feet in touch with each other.
  3. Let the knees drop to the outside of your body to the point of comfort.
  4. While maintaining tension on the band, slowly raise your hips to the ceiling and return to the floor. Focus on keeping the band taut and slow down the return to the floor portion of the exercise.
  5. Perform a set of 8 to 10 reps and repeat for two to three sets.

Feeling strong? Yalamanchili says you can progress this exercise once you build strength by increasing the strength of your resistance band, which adds more weight to this move (and gives those glutes a run for their money).

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