Gym Equipment

Discover The Best Gym Machines For Glutes


What Are The 3 Glute Muscles?

The gluteal muscles are comprised of three muscles known as the gluteus maximus, the gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus. The gluteus maximus is the largest and most powerful muscle in the human body and this is what gives the superficial shape of the glutes. Each of these three muscles are responsible for various actions within the body:

Gluteus Maximus – aids with hip extension and rotation.

Gluteus Medius – important for stabilization of the pelvis and abduction of the hip joint

Gluteus Minimus – this muscle works in conjunction with the gluteus medius to assist with stability of the pelvis and hip adduction

A sedentary lifestyle, where many people spend much of their day sitting, can result in a weakening of the gluteal muscles. Not only can this result in excessive strain being placed on the lower body joints, it may lead to lower back pain.

As the glutes stabilise the hips, this makes them vitally important for balance and posture. If the glutes are underdeveloped, the lower back will overcompensate for this weakness potentially resulting in lower back pain. Spending sufficient time developing your glutes is crucial, since a lack of glute strength and musculature can be a major contributor to many back, hip, and knee ailments.

To properly activate the glutes, significant effort is required and whilst you can do body weight exercises, there are a number of machines at many commercial gyms that can really work the glutes to get the most development in terms of muscle strength and size.

In this article, we’ll explain the benefits of using gym equipment for glute training, including some of the best gym machines for glutes and cardio options for also targeting these muscle groups.

Which Are The Best Gym Machines For Glutes?

The glutes can be worked out in two main ways. The first is to undertake what is typically a day to day activity but make it more challenging. For example, walking requires little activation of the glute muscles. However, by walking uphill will engage the glute muscles significantly more when compared to walking on the flat.

If walking on an inline is not feasible, you could perform walking or static lunges. This exercise can be undertaken pretty much anywhere and, as it’s a compound movement, will work more than just your glutes.

Aside from bodyweight weight exercises the second method is to make use of certain machines in the gym. Let’s take a look at some of the best machines that can help to fire up your glutes.

1. Cable Machine

A cable machine, sometimes referred to as a pulley machine, is a common piece of gym equipment that will allow you to perform a variety of exercises for an all over body workout.

Every exercise you perform on this machine involves a pulling action of some kind and, depending on what the movement is, will engage various muscle groups. There are quite a few glute specific exercises you can perform on this machine and, as your strength increase, so too can the level of resistance.

Glute Exercises On a Cable Machine

  • Cable Kick Backs
  • Cable Hip Abduction
  • Cable Squat
  • Cable Pull Through
  • Cable Side Lunge

The great thing about this machine is its versatility and, by performing a range of the above, will allow you to target all the gluteal muscles. If you’re new to strength training, then you can start with a lighter weight and progress from there.

2. 45 Degree Leg Press

Whilst the 45-degree leg press is typically viewed as a machine to work the quads, it is a compound exercise so multiple muscle groups are worked at the same time and can activate your posterior chain, hip flexors, and core muscles.

By varying how you position your feet on the footplate, you can put more emphasis on specific muscles that you wish to activate including the glutes. As your strength improves, you can increase the resistance by adding more weight plates.

So, what is the best position to adopt on the leg press for ultimate glute activation?

Quite simply, it involves placing your feet at around shoulder width apart and positioned higher up on the foot plate. The weight load will then shift from the front of your legs to the posterior chain helping to work the glutes.

Another tip is to ensure you perform deep reps with a full range of motion. This means, allow the carriage to drop as low as possible but making sure that your glutes and lower back do not come away from the seat and back rest. If this happens, you can put a lot of stress on your back which should be avoided to prevent injury.

As with all resistance training, perform the reps slowly and with control, squeezing the glutes throughout for a better mind-muscle connection.

3. Hyperextension Bench

A hyperextension bench, sometimes called a 45-degree hyperextension, is a great tool for improving lower back strength and working the muscles of the posterior chain. It’s a low impact exercise that can be done with or without weight.

An important point to consider when using this bench, is how to set up correctly. A hyperextension bench will have an adjustable pad where you would rest the top of your legs. Ensure the top of this pad sits at around the upper quad. If it’s set too high, this will significantly limit your range of motion by not allow proper rotation of the pelvis.

In order that tension remains on the glutes when performing the exercise, point your toes out whilst maintaining a neutral spine and tight core.

If you were using the bench to strengthen the spinal erectors, then at the top of the movement you would arch your lower back, this is known as lumbar extension.

However, to keep the focus on the glutes, you need to round the upper back and keep your chin tucked in and maintain that position throughout. You’ll notice you won’t be able to come all the way to the top but it will also stop you from activating your spinal erectors meaning that glute action comes into play.

4. GHR/GHD Machines

The glute ham raise is an exercise that is performed on a glute ham developer or Nordic curl bench. The primary difference between the two machines is that the glute ham developer allows for a much broader range of motion due to it being elevated from the ground.

The Nordic curl bench is very compact and is for a floor-based glute ham raise movement only. As it’s significantly smaller when compared to the glute ham developer, this does make it a great option for home gyms.

The exercise itself is very challenging to perform and if you’re a beginner you may struggle to execute it at all. It’s not specifically aimed at the glutes but rather the entire posterior chain which makes up the hamstrings, lower back, calf muscles, spinal erectors as well as the glutes. Some glute ham raise developers offer assistance band pegs so that if you find it difficult, the bands can offer support.

5. Hip Thrust Machine

A hip thrust has always typically been a bodyweight or freeweight exercise. However, as working the glutes has become more popular, you can now find the hip thrust bench in many gyms. The glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and hip abductors are all activated when using this machine.

Hip thrusts are a fantastic workout for building bigger glutes and adding strength and making use of the bench makes them easy and safe to execute.

Whilst the brands of the machines differ, many offer features such as resistance bands to make the exercise more difficult without the need of having to place a loaded barbell across your lap.

6. Hack Squat Machine

Similar to the leg press, the hack squat allows a person to perform a squat-based exercise whilst supporting the upper body which alleviates pressure on the spine. The hack squat is typically touted as a quad developer but, by altering your stance, you can also isolate more of the gluteal muscles.

To target the glutes, you’d need to place your feet lower down on the footplate. This allows for an improved hip extension, which results in more glute activation.

7. Reverse Hyper Machine

This is one of the least common machines in the gym and many people who do have access to one, shy away from it as they’re unsure how to properly use it.

The reverse hyper machine is a plate loadable piece of gym equipment that allows you to adopt a prone position with your chest supported against a pad but your legs unsupported. You can load weight plates on the pendulum which sits underneath the pad.

You should be able to freely flex the legs backwards (in a pendulum motion) so that your body is now completely aligned. As there is weight attached to your ankles (usually by way of straps or rollers) there is resistance applied as you raise your legs up until they are parallel to the ground.

This is a posterior chain-based movement which is essentially a reverse of the hyperextension exercise and will work the glutes, hamstrings and glutes.

8. Smith Machine

The smith machine is an effective multipurpose piece of equipment that will allow for wide range of exercises, including some to work the glutes. If you struggle to maintain form with certain free weight exercises due to a weak core, then the smith machine could be a better option. The machine itself is a barbell which is fixed and runs vertically on two rails. Specific movements that you can perform on this and work the glutes are as follows:

Which Cardio Machines Provide the Most Effective Glute Workout?

The aerobic equipment at your gym is a great complement to your glute exercises. Here are some specific cardiovascular machines that not only get your heart rate up, but they can also help with glute training.

Stair Climber

A stair climber is a piece of cardiovascular equipment that replicates the motion of climbing the stairs. As we mentioned earlier in this article, walking on the flat works mainly the hamstrings. However, by walking or running on an incline will automatically engage the glutes.

Whilst you could simply walk up regular stairs, the stair climber provides for an endless staircase with resistance options so you can make the workout more challenging. It’s also low impact making it very joint friendly. If you want to make it more difficult, just take two steps at a time.

Elliptical Trainer

The elliptical machine is great for boosting stamina and calories, but besides that it can also help to build the muscles of the lower body. To better activate the glutes when using the elliptical trainer, you would need to set the cross ramp to a higher elevation. Essentially, the higher the cross ramp the better the glute workout.


As with the stairclimber, this is all about set up to give your glutes a good workout. Set the incline to as high as is most comfortable and walk or run at this setting. Another way to use the treadmill is to perform walking lunges whilst set to an incline. Whether you walk, run or lunge, doing any of these with a high incline setting will really help to fire up the glutes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Is The Function Of The Gluteal Muscles?

As we touched on above, your glutes are made up of three muscles, each of which assists your body with a certain number of functions.

The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle of the glutes (and the entire body) and helps to extend and laterally rotate the hips. Hip extension during walking is when the leg is extending back behind you. If you were to point your toes or feet outwards, then this would involve laterally rotation.

The gluteus medius is located higher up and sits underneath the gluteus maximus. It’s a much smaller muscle and responsible for lateral and medial rotation of the hip and abduction (swinging the leg away from the body).

The gluteus minimus is the smallest of the three and sits underneath the other glute muscles. When it comes to strength training it tends to be the most neglected but is an important muscle as aids with internal hip rotation and abduction. It’s a supportive muscle as opposed to a primary mover.

Collectively, the glutes help keep your hips, pelvis, and spine aligned. They also serve as a cushion and a point of stability even while you’re at rest. Additionally, strong glutes improve your sitting comfort, your balance, and your mobility in general.

What Is The Optimal Frequency For Working My Legs And Glutes?

If your aim is to build your glutes as quickly as possible, you should work out your legs two to three times weekly, and place considerable emphasis the glutes when working out. Biweekly or triweekly workouts ensure there is enough time for your glutes to rest and recover. Overtraining is counterproductive and can lead to muscle deterioration or injury.

Consistency with these workouts is also essential as it can take several months to see results.

To What Extent Should I Engage My Glute Muscles?

You should try to engage your glutes in every workout. Whilst the glutes do have several functions, they aren’t that easy to isolate and often are combined with compound exercises where you work multiple muscle groups at any one time.

Donkey kicks, bodyweight squats, glute bridges, standing abductions, clam walks, crab walks, and using a stair stepper are all great ways to get your glutes working whether your doing these at the gym or even at home.

Which Exercises Target The Glutes And Legs Simultaneously?

As we’ve mentioned, many exercises have the added benefit of working more than just the glutes so if you want to work both the legs and glutes during a workout the following would give you best results:

Squats – this is a good all over body movement and can be done using just your body weight or with free weights.

Single leg deadlift – a great exercise for the glutes, hamstrings, and stabiliser muscles

Walking lunges – this exercise will target all the leg muscles including the calf muscles and will help to improve ankle mobility.

How Do I Build My Glutes?

Aside from incorporating regular strength-based exercises using the machines as mentioned in this article, what’s equally important is nutrition. You need to eat enough protein to help your muscles rebuild after workouts, carbs to provide energy, and fruits and veggies to meet your vitamin and mineral needs.

As your strength improves and you find your workout becoming a little too easy you can begin to incorporate heavy weights. It’s always important to go slow and focus on form. If you move too quickly, you may end placing more emphasis on the wrong muscles.

As with the development of any sizable muscle group, rest is essential. You should give your glutes at least 24 hours of rest after each workout.

Glute exercises should be limited to no more than twice or three times per week. Listen to your body, if you still have muscle soreness wait until this has disappeared before training again.

Do You Need A Personal Trainer To Build Your Glutes?

This very much depends on the space and budget you have.

If you have a dedicated space specifically for setting up your own home gym and adequate funds, you can consider going all out and investing in a squat rack or stair climber, maybe even a Nordic curl bench.

However, to give your glutes a sufficient workout, this can easily be achieved with some dumbbells or resistance bands

What Equipment Can I Use At Home To Grow My Glutes?

This very much depends on the space and budget you have.

If you have a dedicated space specifically for setting up your own home gym and adequate funds, you can consider going all out and investing in a squat rack or stair climber, maybe even a Nordic curl bench.

However, to give your glutes a sufficient workout, this can easily be achieved with some dumbbells or resistance bands.


You can get a great glute workout with any of the above equipment. If you want to see the greatest results to both your glute and overall fitness levels, it’s best to alternate between aerobic and strength training exercises.

Remember, you can still grow your glutes even if you don’t have access to the equipment on our list. For beginners, a good strength-based workout only requires minimal training accessories such as resistance bands or dumbbells. Also, take up some hill walking in the countryside and you’ll be working the glutes, burning calories and reaping the benefits of all that fresh air.


About Kim Dyte

I joined Kustom Kit in 2015 as the sales and marketing manager. Having lifted weights for most of my life and competing in the UKBFF Federation I wanted to share my knowledge to help others lift weights and stay healthy

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