3 Glute-Strengthening Exercises to Try if You're Sick of Squats
If you’ve been doing what you can to get some exercise at home these past few months, you’re doing a good thing. A regular exercise routine is a healthy, stress-busting way to cope with the times, as well as the key to keeping your body feeling strong, stable, and pain-free. Making sure to move and activate key muscles every day in some capacity is especially important for people who have to sit for long periods of time—aka anyone with a desk job. And one of the most important muscle groups not to neglect is the glutes (yep, your booty is made up of several glute muscles that all work together and deserve regular attention).
“Glutes help to control the axis point of the body: our hips,” explains Jennifer Esquer, PT, DPT, a physical therapist, influencer, and creator of The Mobility Method and The Optimal Body. “To move better through our hips, we need strong, active glutes.” Because this set of muscles is so structurally essential, weak glutes—most commonly resulting from inactivity, poor posture, and sitting for prolonged periods without breaks—can be detrimental for several reasons. Essentially, when the glutes aren’t properly strong enough—or in some cases, kind of turn off—other muscle groups step in to compensate. That sounds nice of them, but unfortunately, it starts to do more harm than good.
“It’s very common for the low back, quadriceps, or hip flexors to start taking over when the glutes haven't been given enough love to really activate,” Esquer says. “If you're feeling more tension and pressure through the front of your legs and hips, and also in the low back, it might be time for some more glute strengthening exercises.” But even if you're not experiencing pain or weakness in these areas, keeping your glutes in good shape is a great way to prevent it down the line and stay strong every day.
Esquer takes us through three great glute exercises besides squats that you can do at home—the only equipment you technically need is a sturdy chair and a mat if you’re dealing with a hard floor. These moves are low impact and easy on the knees so you can feel safe while working through them. Get the step-by-step instructions below, then watch Esquer's demo video above for visual cues and tips on proper form.