How To Strengthen Your Glutes

how to strengthen your glutes

Glutes are very important for cyclists, and in order to do well in your cycling, you will need to have strong glutes. In this article let’s look at how to strengthen your glutes to make your cycling that much more powerful.

Most cyclists have great looking bums, and that is no secret. But the quest for powerful strong glutes is a good thing, as these posterior muscles help you in all sorts of ways as you go about your daily life.

You use your glutes to stand, sit, lift and climb. They also stabilize your pelvis and strong glutes can help to prevent back pain.

The glutes are your body’s largest and most powerful muscle group and they definitely deserve more of your attention than you are currently giving them. To many of us spend too much time sitting on them and not enough time exercising them.

how to strengthen your glutesAlthough you use your glutes cycling – depending on where and how you ride – mere cycling doesn’t always build these important muscles.

You could probably ride across a desert and your but muscles would mostly snooze, as typical cycling challenges the thighs, quads, and hamstrings more.

Sprinters will use the glutes for acceleration and hill climbers will use the glutes as they ride out of the saddle.

Weak, underdeveloped glutes can be a problem if you have a history of back pain and can compromise your hip mobility and set the stage for hip impingement (if you’ve ever gotten off your bike and couldn’t stand up straight without some effort, you know how that feels). “Strong glutes can prevent these issues,” says McGill. But here’s the good news: You can build yours on and off the bike with a few simple moves.

The glutes are made up of three major muscles, the Medius, Maximus, and Minimus. You need to work on developing all three of these muscles if you want strong glutes overall.

These three muscles originate from the ilium and sacrum and insert on the femur.

How To Strengthen Your Glutes

Banded Squat

For this exercise, you will need a resistance band. They are available at most sports equipment stores or you can order yourself one online right here by clicking on the picture of the bands below.

Place a resistance band around both legs, just above or below your knees. If it is a straight resistance band, tie it around your legs in a bow so it is easy to undo. If it is a loop band, you simply slip it on.
Stand with feet just wider than hip-width apart, toes turned out slightly, hands clasped in front of the chest.
Keeping most of your weight in your heels, bend your knees and get your butt and hips back as if sitting in a chair. Lower down as far as possible, pressing your legs outward against the band. Return to starting position and repeat.

You could also do this exercise without the resistance band, but placing the band just above or below the knees makes the exercise a bit more challenging as you have to press outwards to maintain tension on the band, which activates your hips and your glutes even more.

Squat Jumps

Repeat the squats above with or without the band, but as you come up jump off the floor with both feet and land once again in a deep squat. These jumps are an excellent way on how to strengthen your glutes.

Here is a video to demonstrate squat jumps.

Banded Glute Bridge

Once again place a resistance band around your legs just above the knees. Lie faceup with knees bent, feet flat on floor hip distance apart, and arms resting at your sides.

Push knees out slightly so that there is tension on the band. Squeeze glutes and hamstrings to lift the hips up off the floor, keeping core engaged throughout so body forms a straight line from knees to shoulders. Lower the hips and repeat.

For people with tight backs/spines, you may want to try rolling down through your spine one vertebrae at a time slowly. This is excellent for stretching out the spine and loosening it up.

The bridge is a great exercise for cyclists, as they get into bad habits because of the chronic repetitive nature of cycling, they tend to overuse their hamstrings.

When you do the banded glute bridge fire up the quads to reduce hamstring load and contract the glutes so that you can train your body to use your muscles in a better way.

Climbing Drill

This exercise needs to be done on your bicycle. Head for the hills and climb them lifting yourself out of the saddle to get your rear end in hear.

Try to do an 8 – 10-minute climb and work on doing three hill repeats on it.

Alternate between standing and sitting, but spend at least half the time out of the saddle.

You could also do this on a spinning bike, setting the resistance to high for your climbs.

how to strengthen your glutes

Just doing these few exercises every week will make a wonderful improvement to the strength of your glutes.

Please feel free to comment below should you have any thoughts or questions on how to strengthen your glutes.

6 thoughts on “How To Strengthen Your Glutes”

  1. I have just started cycling every day because of orders from the doctor after suffering from a heart attack and I didn’t realize how weak my glutes were until I started going on longer rides on my bike.

    I have tried using the exercise bands to strengthen my legs but the rubber would always pull the hair on my legs and I can’t exercise with trousers on, only shorts

    My knees are not in great shape either so instead of doing squat jumps can you recommend any other exercises for stronger glutes?

    1. Hi Mathew,

      Another great exercise is to stand holding onto a chair or the wall and lift one leg at a time behind you. Don’t lift the leg too high and do small pulses until the muscle becomes tired, then change legs. Make sure to hold your abs firmly in order to protect your lower back as you do this.

      All the best with that rehabilitation.

  2. Fun fact: It’s said that glutes are the part of the body that allows humans to walk upright compared to chimpanzees.

    I am actually an amateur cyclist and when I first began a few months ago, I had a huge problem with my weak glutes as they prevented me from completing my entire workout.

    The exercise that helped me improve my overall performance in just a couple of weeks was the glute bridge (not banded). However, I wasn’t really doing repetitions but rather long holds (isometrics).

    Totally recommended for those who have weak glutes.

    I am going to try the other 2 exercises you mention as well.

    Thank you!

  3. Thank you for the article! As a long-time runner, I recently had to switch to biking because of the numerous knee surgeries.  The constant pounding did wonders on my knees.  However, the doctor told me that my glutes were weak, and that also contributed to my knee and hip problems.  These exercises are perfect for someone like me who needs to strengthen my butt muscles!

    1. Glad this article helped you, Steve. It is actually amazing how many back problems can be eased with strong gluts and flexible hamstrings.

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