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10 Best Glute Activation Exercises (10-Minute Glute Warm Up with Mini Band)

10 glute activation exercise to FIRE UP (or activate) your legs and butt. If you struggle to feel your glutes “turn on” during lower body workouts (and feel exercises mainly in your quads or hamstrings instead), THIS is your solution! Use this guided, 10-minute glute activation workout as a warm up before your next heavy leg day workout or run.

Jump To 10 Best Glute Activation Exercises

If you want to put an extra emphasis on your glutes during your leg day workout, glute activation warm-ups are your new best friend.

This banded glute workout is designed to “turn on” your glute muscles — no lunges and no jumping.

What is Glute Activation?

Glute activation is a series of warm-up exercises to properly ‘turn on’ the muscles in your butt. In this case we are using 10 glute activation exercises with a resistance band.

Is glute activation necessary?

Yes! Because we have several big muscles in our lower body, like the quads and hamstrings, that sometimes overpower the glute muscles.

If your quads and hamstrings overcompensate for your glutes in an exercise, it can lead to muscular imbalances and injury. Specifically low back pain and injury. 

If your glutes aren’t properly warmed up, your body can recruit other muscles (like your low back) to make up for weak or inactive glutes.

Glute activation exercises get blood flowing to the glute muscles and prepare them for work.

This glute activation workout also increases the mind-muscle connection, which allows you to consciously engage your glutes as you progress into your leg day workout, running, jumping or sprinting.

Glute Activation Exercise: Banded Knee Drive

How do you activate your glutes?

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as squeezing your glutes. So I’ve combined my 10 favorite glute activation exercises into a 10-minute glute activation workout (or glute warm up).

Glute Activation is an exercise routine designed to “fire up” (or activate) all 3 parts of the glutes:

  1. The Gluteus Maximus (the main muscle in your butt)
  2. Gluteus Medius
  3. Gluteus Minimus

Theses three glute muscles, make up ‘the glutes’. Did you know the glutes are one of the strongest and most powerful muscles in the human body?!

Think of this glute activation workout as a warm up specifically for your butt.

Glute activation wakes up the butt muscles and builds the mind-body connection that’s important for the proper muscles to fire during a lower body workout.

Who should do these Glute Activation Exercises?

Do you…

  • Struggle with tight hip flexors or lower back pain during and/or after leg workouts?
  • Have a hard time feeling your glutes ‘turn on’ during lower body exercises?
  • Want to build a booty?

Then these 10 glute activation exercises are for you!

Leg Day Warm Up: 10 Glute Activation Exercises to Grow Your Glutes

How do I know if I have weak glutes?

Weak glutes are more common than you think. Think about how much excessive sitting we do — for most of us, our glutes spend the vast majority of the day dormant!

Some of the symptoms that can be associated with weak glutes are:

  • Knee or Hip Pain
  • Lower Back Pain
  • Plantar Fascitis
  • Balance Problems
  • Poor Posture

Or if you’ve recently had a baby and are asking yourself where your butt went?!

This glute activation workout is pregnancy and postpartum friendly too. In fact, I highly recommend it for pregnant and postpartum women for two reasons:

  1. There are a lot of sneaky core exercises built into this glute workout — and they are all pregnancy, postpartum, and diastasis recti safe exercises.
  2. This glute workout also builds hip strength and your hips STABILIZE AND SUPPORT your pelvic floor.

The glutes are a major stabilizing muscle (that’s why many of my core workouts include glute work).

Hip Hinge with Mini Band to Activate Glutes

What are the best glute activation exercises?

The best glute activation exercises focus on a variety of movement patterns based in your hips. Specifically, these glute band exercises: 

  1. Banded Squats
  2. Single Leg Banded Exercises (standing kickbacks, standing abductor lifts)
  3. Banded Side Shuffle
  4. Monster Walk or V-Walk
  5. Banded Hip Hinge
  6. Glute Bridge
  7. Clam

I like using resistance bands (aka booty bands) for glute activation. Banded glute exercises isolate and target (and thus activate) the smaller glute muscles: the glute minimus and glute medius.

All of these glute band exercises are included in today’s 10-minute glute activation workout.

TRAINER TIP: Place your hand on the muscle that’s working in these glute exercises. Having a hand on your butt as you’re working through an exercise is SO helpful in telling your brain and body which muscle to use! Really contract your glutes, and feel the muscles working.

This is something that I learned when I was rebuilding core strength postpartum, and it translates to all my other workouts too.

glute band exercises single leg abduction

How do I use this Glute Activation Workout?

There are a couple ways I recommend using this glute activation workout:

  1. Lower body warm up routine before a leg workout
  2. Pre-run warm up (glutes and hips are so important for runners, these muscles power your running stride).
  3. Standalone 10-Minute Mini Band Glute Workout.

If you’re using this as a warm up before a lower body workout, I’ve linked some of my favorites leg day workouts below.

10-Minute Glute Activation At Home with Resistance Band | pin for pinterest

10-Minute Glute Activation Workout

Fire up your booty with this quick GLUTE ACTIVATION workout!

These 10 glute exercises use a mini band to keep constant tension on your glutes, which helps to boost your ability to perform everything from squats to box jumps, running and sprints.

I suggest adding these glute activation exercises to your leg day workout routine (as your warm up).

Workout Equipment:

Mini loop resistance band, light to medium resistance.

**If you need some mini loop resistance bands, these are the ones I like to use! GET a discount using code: NML

Workout Instructions:

Let me be your certified personal trainer for the day! Click here to jump to the guided Glute Activation video.

Alternatively, work through the 10 BEST Glute Activation Exercises below at your own pace.

The 10-Minute Glute Activation Workout Looks Like This:

  • 10 Glute Activation Exercises
  • 40 seconds per exercise, 20 second rest between exercises (around 10-12 reps per exercise)
  • Complete all 10 exercises x1 set for a 10-minute glute activation workout (or repeat as many times as desired)

10 BEST Glute Activation Exercises

  1. Banded Squats
  2. Banded Single Leg Abduction, Right
  3. Banded Single Leg Abduction, Left
  4. Banded Side-to-Side Squats
  5. Banded Squat + Knee Drive (hip flexion), Right
  6. Banded Squat + Knee Drive (hip flexion), Left
  7. Banded Hip Hinge (deadlift)
  8. Banded Kickbacks
  9. Banded Monster Walk, Frontal Plane (side-to-side)
  10. Banded Monster Walk or V-Walk, Sagittal Plane (front/back)

You can see GIFs of each movement below. Otherwise form cues, band placement and modifications are in the follow along video at the top of this post.

NOTE: The resistance band should never be placed directly on a joint (knee or ankle). You always want to place the mini band above your knees or below your knees. 

1. Banded Squats

Band Placement: On the thighs, approximately 6″ above the knees.

Target: Gluteus medius, hip abductors and quadriceps.

If you want better squat form, do these banded squats! The band forces you to open up your hips, which allows you to go deeper into a squat position without rounding your back.

Banded squats for glute activation

How to do Banded Squats:

  1. Place the resistance band on your thighs, approximately 6″ above the knees. Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips to create tension across the band (activating your glutes).
  2. Sit back into a squat, lowering your hips parallel to knees (90-degree angle). Drop your hips down, weight in heels, chest up.
  3. Then, drive through your heels to return to a standing position. Squeeze the glutes at the top.
  4. Repeat for 40 seconds.

2. Banded Single Leg Hip Abduction, Right Leg

Band Placement: On the thighs, approximately 6″ above the knees.

Target: The hip abductor muscles include the gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, and tensor fasciae latae (TFL). Also know as your outer glutes.

Banded Single Leg Abduction

How to do a Banded Single Leg Abduction, Right Leg:

  1. Place the resistance band on your thighs, approximately 6″ above the knees. Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips to create tension across the band (activating your glutes).
  2. With knees bent, place 80% of your bodyweight in your right leg, and 20% of your bodyweight in your left leg.
  3. Step your left leg out, driving through the left glute to stretch the band as far as you can. Tap your left foot to the side.
  4. Then step your left foot back in to center, keeping your feet slightly wider than your hips to keep tension across the band.
  5. Repeat this sequence, balancing on your right leg while stepping the left foot out and back in for 40 seconds.

3. Banded Single Leg Hip Abduction, Left Leg

Band Placement: On the thighs, approximately 6″ above the knees.

Target: The hip abductor muscles include the gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, and tensor fasciae latae (TFL). Also know as your outer glutes.

Resistance Band Lateral Step to activate butt muscles

How to do a Banded Single Leg Abduction, Left Leg:

  1. Place the resistance band on your thighs, approximately 6″ above the knees. Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips to create tension across the band (activating your glutes).
  2. Slightly bend at the knees and place 80% of your bodyweight in your left leg, and 20% of your bodyweight in your right foot.
  3. Step your right leg out, driving through the right glute to stretch the band as far as you can. Tap your right foot to the side.
  4. Then step your right foot back in to center, keeping your feet slightly wider than your hips to keep tension across the band.
  5. Repeat this sequence, balancing on your left leg while stepping the right foot out and back in for 40 seconds.

4. Banded Side-to-Side Squats

Band Placement: On the thighs, approximately 6″ above the knees.

Target: Gluteus medius, hip abductors and quadriceps.

Side to Side Squats with resistance band

How to do Banded Side-to-Side Squats:

  1. Place the resistance band on your thighs, approximately 6″ above the knees. Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips to create tension across the band.
  2. Step your right foot out, stretching the band as far as you can.
  3. As you step out, sit back into a squat, lowering your hips parallel to knees. Drop your hips down, weight in heels, chest up.
  4. Hold this squat position for a second, then drive through your heels and step back to center to return to a standing position.
  5. Repeat this step out, alternating sides for 40 seconds.

5. Banded Squat + Knee Drive (Hip Flexion), Left Foot

Band Placement: Around the feet (bottoms of shoes).

Target: Gluteus medius, hip abductors, quadriceps, hips and hip flexors.

A great warm up exercise for runners to activate the hip flexors. 

Banded Squat + Knee Drive for hip flexion and glute activation

How to do a Banded Squat + Knee Drive (Hip Flexion), Left Foot:

  1. Loop the resistance band around the arches of both feet (around soles of shoes). Begin standing with feet shoulder-width distance apart.
  2. Step your left foot out wide, stretching the band as far as you can. As you step out, sit back into a squat, lowering your hips parallel to knees.
  3. Hold this loaded squat position as you step your left foot in slightly. You should now be in a narrow squat position. Tension is still on the band.
  4. As you drive through the right heel to stand tall, perform a knee drive with the left leg. Drive your left knee up, activating the hip flexor to stretch the band as far as you can (until left knee is inline with left hip).
  5. Lower your left leg back down to return to the starting position.
  6. Repeat this sequence for 40 seconds.

6. Banded Squat + Knee Drive (Hip Flexion), Right Foot

Band Placement: Around the feet (bottoms of shoes).

Target: Gluteus medius, hip abductors, quadriceps, hips and hip flexors.

Banded Squat + Knee Drive for hip flexion and glute activation - a great warm up exercise for runners

How to do a Banded Squat + Knee Drive (Hip Flexion), Right Foot:

  1. Loop the resistance band around the arches of both feet. Begin standing with feet shoulder-width distance apart.
  2. Step your right foot out wide, stretching the band as far as you can. As you step out, sit back into a squat, lowering your hips parallel to knees.
  3. Hold this loaded squat position as you step your right foot in slightly. You should now be in a narrow squat position. Tension is still on the band.
  4. As you drive through the left heel to stand tall, perform a knee drive with the right leg. Drive your right knee up, stretching the band as far as you can (until right knee is inline with right hip).
  5. Lower your right leg back down to return to the starting position.
  6. Repeat this sequence for 40 seconds.

7. Banded Hip Hinge (Deadlift)

Band Placement: Around the feet (bottom of shoes).

Target: Hip extension, gluteus maximus, hamstring muscles and lower back muscles.

Banded Hip Hinge or banded deadlift

How to do a Banded Hip Hinge or Banded Deadlift:

  1. Loop the resistance band around the arches of both feet. Begin standing feet hip-width distance apart.
  2. Grab on to the top of the band with both hands and stand up, stretching the band.
  3. With a soft bend in the knees, hinge at your hips to slide your hands down the front of your legs. Think about pushing your hips back behind you like you would for a deadlift.
  4. Hinge until you feel a stretch in the back of your legs (hamstring muscles).
  5. Then drive through your heels to stand up, pulling the band up to create tension. Return to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for 40 seconds.

8. Banded Kickbacks (Glute Kickbacks or Donkey Kicks)

Band Placement: On the shin, calf area; approximately 6″ below the knees.

Target: All three gluteal muscles — the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus, as well as the hamstrings, spine and back (entire posterior chain or backside of body).

Banded Kickbacks or Glute Kick Backs for Glute Activation

How to do Banded Kickbacks:

  1. Place the resistance band on the shin/calf area; approximately 6″ below the knees. Begin standing feet hip-width apart, slight bend in the knees.
  2. Sit back into a narrow squat, lowering your hips parallel to knees.
  3. Drive through your heels to stand tall. As you do so, kick your right leg back behind you, stretching the band as far as you can. Drive your arms overhead to increase engagement along the entire backside of the body.
  4. Bring your right leg back to center and sit back into a narrow squat.
  5. As you drive through your heels to stand tall again, kick your left leg back behind you, stretching the band as far as you can. Drive your arms overhead.
  6. Repeat this sequence for 40 seconds, alternating which leg you kick back.

9. Banded Monster Walk

Band Placement: On the shin, calf area; approximately 6″ below the knees.

Target: The glutes and hips (specifically the gluteus medius).

A great exercise for hip stability. Ladies, your hips support your pelvic floor; building hip strength is important to a stable pelvic floor.

Banded Monster Walk, Frontal Plane (side-to-side)

How to do a Banded Monster Walk:

  1. Place the resistance band on the shin/calf area; approximately 6″ below the knees. Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips to create tension across the band.
  2. Bend at the knees to find a loaded squat position.
  3. Step your right foot out wide to stretch the band and create tension.
  4. Then, step your left foot out wide to stretch the band and create more tension.
  5. Step your right foot in, then step your left foot in to find a loaded narrow squat position.
  6. Think: wide, wide, narrow, narrow. Repeat this sequence for 40 seconds.

10. Banded Monster Walk or V-Walk

Band Placement: On the shin, calf area; approximately 6″ below the knees.

Target: The hips, hip flexors, gluteus medius, quads and hamstrings.

V-Walk Front and Back or Monster Walk with Resistance Band

How to do a Banded Monster Walk or V-Walk:

  1. Place the resistance band on the shin/calf area; approximately 6″ below the knees. Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips to create tension across the band.
  2. Bend at the knees to find a loaded squat position.
  3. Take a step forward, stepping your right foot out wide in front of you to stretch the band and create tension.
  4. Then, take another step forward, stepping your left foot out wide to stretch the band and create more tension.
  5. Take another step forward with your right foot and another step forward with your left foot, keeping constant tension on the band.
  6. Then, reverse your direction taking steps back. Step wide each time, keeping constant tension on the band.
  7. Think of stepping as wide as your yoga mat. Repeat this front/back movement for 40 seconds.

Once your glutes are fired up and active, try one of these lower body workouts to build the legs and booty.

Glute Workouts for Women

Pin this 10-Minute Glute Activation Workout

Grow your glutes: do these 10 glute activation exercises before leg day!

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