Hamstrings and Glute Exercises Ranked (Best to Worst)

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Check out these hamstrings and glute exercises ranked from best to worst by Jeff from Athlean X.

Hamstrings and Glute Exercises Ranked

“There are many different glute exercises but today, we are going to rank them so that you know which are worth your time and which ones you should skip. Because the glutes and hamstring muscles share many of the same functions, you are going to get a two for one here as both the glute exercises and hamstring exercises are going to be reviewed and ranked.”

Hamstrings and Glute Exercises Ranked

“We start as always with the criteria for inclusion on this list. First, these exercises for glutes have to be capable of being overloaded over time. This is key for progressively building muscle. They also by that note have to be capable of delivering hypertrophy and not just strength. Finally, all of these glute exercises have to be safe to perform. As you’ll see, some don’t hold up well to this requirement and are therefore lowered down in the rankings.”

“We start as always at the bottom of the list in the worst exercises for glutes category.”

 “First up is the prone hamstring curl. Remember, since we are grouping hamstring and glute exercises together due to their shared function, this variation of the curl deserves the lowest spot. It’s not that it isn’t capable of building bigger hamstrings. It’s because it often times brings about low back pain in the process. Especially when there’s a better option to come, this deserve the lowest spot on the list.”

“Next we have the heel press. This bodyweight glute exercise is one that is limited in both range of motion and overload capacity. There are many better and therefore cannot be ranked highly.”

“The Step Mill is one of the most popular forms of cardio, especially for those that are looking to build their butt and do exercises for better glutes. The problem is, the motor is doing all the work. Pass and move onto to a superior alternative later on.”

Hamstrings and Glute Exercises Ranked

“Finally, the leg press (even when performed with the feet high on the plate) is not nearly adequate for delivering glute gains. The range of motion is horrible and the overload is far from optimal. Much better glute exercises await.”

“In the better category, we improve on the isolated kickback to this time include some additional weight resistance. The standing cuff kickback is a good way to up your exercises for glutes and deliver better results. The DB reverse sprinter lunge will mimic the position of the chest and thigh that you would see at the bottom of the leg press but do a much better job resisting the extension at the hip on the way up, allowing it to rank deservedly higher.”

How Hard Should You Train to Build Muscle Hamstrings and Glute Exercises Ranked

“The DB single leg RDL is great for exposing right and left leg muscle imbalances but the balance requirements could compromise the hamstring and glute muscle results that you’ll see which leaves it lower on the list.”

Hamstrings and Glute Exercises Ranked

“Taking another step up in the glute exercise rankings into the better still category we find the cable single leg RDL as a slight improvement over the dumbbell because of the added stability we get from it in the frontal plane. The Seated hamstring curl machine is a far better option if you want to use a machine to build bigger legs. The direction of force takes the hip flexors out of the exercise and therefore saves your back. The KB Swing, while an amazingly athletic exercise for glute development can become more of a challenge to your conditioning rather than building bigger glutes.”

“The almost best category includes the incredibly powerful squat (this time being recommended in a low bar position for targeting the glutes more effectively), the standard two legged version of the barbell RDL, a leaning forward step up, pull throughs and of course the underutilized glute ham raise. All of these exercises for glutes and hamstrings are capable of delivering stronger bigger glutes and are worth a spot in your glute workout.”

“Finally, the best of the best glute exercise is the barbell hip thrust. Both the mechanics of the exercise as well as it’s ability to check all three criteria laid out make it the best exercise for glutes. Be sure to watch why for all the details.”

Video – Hamstrings and Glute Exercises Ranked

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