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8 Best Gym Machines For Glutes (Explained)

January 23, 2023

Best gym machines for glutes

Glutes are the muscle group women tend to focus on ever since the Brazilian butt became one of the most desirable physical attributes.

Aesthetics is only one benefit of strong glute muscles, while there are many more such as better posture, strength, and power production. 

To build big strong glutes it’s important to utilise a combination of both free weights and machine exercises. 

When you step into the gym, the number of different machines can be overwhelming, so we decided to break down the 8 best gym machines for glutes so that you know where to focus your efforts.

 

Why Use Glute Machines?

There is no doubt free weights should be part of your workout routine. Squats, deadlifts, and lunges are highly effective for hitting the glutes and the entire lower body. (1)

But that doesn't mean you should leave out the machines. They offer many advantages compared to free weights, and the following are some of them.

 

You Can Isolate the Glutes

The gluteal muscles are a group of three muscles: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. Although each of these three muscles are working during compound exercises, focusing solely on the glutes during popular compound exercises is practically impossible.

Let's take the squat as an example. Buttocks are one of the primary muscles worked, but quads, hamstrings, groins, hip flexors, calves, and the core are also engaged. All those muscles must work together to keep you stable and help you perform the whole movement.

This leads us to the conclusion that less than 50% of the load is on the glutes. Machines are a great choice when you want to target only the glutes. Occasionally, isolation exercises are necessary, instead of compound exercises, for the best possible progress.

 

Quicker to setup

Have you ever skipped deadlifts or hip thrusts just because you didn't have the energy or time to load and unload a barbell? It happened to me many times.

On the other hand, the machines are so simple and comfortable to use. All you have to do is move the weight pin and adjust the seat to your height.

A drop set is an advanced resistance training technique that stimulates muscle growth and endurance, and machines are indispensable for drop sets too. (2)

If you have to move the weight plates during a drop set, you will get tired, and the intensity will not be adequate because the breaks will be longer than required – which defeats the object of a drop set.

 

Beginner friendly

Beginners face many obstacles when they start exercising, especially if they don't have a personal trainer to monitor their every step.

Free weights can be too demanding for novices because their overall fitness level is low, and they lack the technique necessary to perform most compound exercises. Machines are an excellent aid in overcoming all those problems.

By using machines, you will improve your strength and work on imbalances. Everyone has imbalances, therefore isolation exercises should be implemented to iron them out. I have already discussed isolating the glutes using machines so you know which future actions you should take.

 

The 8 Best Glute Machines

You can use dozens of machines to train your glutes. Some of them are less, and some are more effective.

Undeniably, many gyms install machines with similar purposes, which can confuse even experienced gym-goers, not to mention beginners. Keep in mind that your workout should not consist of exercising on three almost identical machines, even though they have different names.

The following eight devices are available in most gyms, each of which will hit at least one part of the glutes.

 

1. Hip Thrust Machine

Hip thrust machine

One of the primary roles of the glutes is hip extension. That's why the hip thrust or hip thruster is probably the best exercise for strengthening that region. The glute bridge is a bodyweight version of this exercise (mini-bands can be used), and the hip thrust is a weighted hip extension.

The hip thrust machine is considered the more comfortable way to do hip thrusts. Using the machine variation as opposed to the barbell means that you no longer have to focus on balancing the bar, your full attention will be on contracting the glutes – happy days.

Also, the barbell can be very painful for people with lower body fat percentages because it may hurt the Iliac crest (protrusion on the front of the pelvis). You can alleviate some of this pain with a barbell pad, but when you start hitting the big numbers – it’s inevitable that it’s going to become uncomfortable.

Another problem can be an uncomfortable bench on which you lean, it’s not uncommon for shoulders to slip and slide off the bench during the movement, so if your gym has a hip thrust machine, take advantage of it.

 

2. Cable machine

Cable machine for glutes

I'm rather sure you won't find a gym without at least one cable machine. Whether your gym features a huge, functional trainer or a simple pulley system is not so important in this case.

Although most use the cable machine for the upper body, you can also successfully hit the lower body muscles.

The good thing about the cable machine is how versatile it is. It may only be one machine, but that doesn’t mean you can only perform one exercise. Popular cable glute exercises include pull-throughs, kickbacks, squats, straight-leg deadlifts, reverse lunges, and more!

Yes, the cable machine is great for isolating the glutes; but you can also perform the all-important glute compound exercises.

 

3. Glute kickback machine

Even though you can do kickbacks on a cable machine, having a glute kickback machine is even better. They are not that popular, but better-equipped gyms should have them.

The position you will be in varies significantly. Some glute kickback machines make you stand, others make you lean forward a bit (similar to a hip hinge), and there are also those where you are in a position similar to kneeling.

Different angles affect parts of the gluteal muscles differently, but whatever the angle is, the machine will primarily involve hip extension. The advantage over cable kickbacks is the possibility of using more weight because the machine offers more stability which is ideal for muscle building.

 

4. Smith Machine

Romanian deadlift on smith machine

The Smith machine is an excellent way to do a classic or front squat for the first time. The motion is the same as with free weights, but the difference is that the barbell is fixed on the Smith machine. You can focus on the correct execution of the movement and make your quads or glutes the focal point of the exercise, which is incomparably harder when you have to balance simultaneously.

This fantastic machine allows you to do many other exercises like reverse lunges and deadlifts, even kneeling squats which can be great for targeting the glutes.

However, remember that squats on the Smith machine are not the same as free-weight squats. Muscle activation is significantly greater with free weights. (3)

It would be best to do squats both ways, but if you’re new to the game, it may be wise to practice first on the smith machine.

 

5. Reverse Hyper Extensions

A reverse hyperextension machine primarily hits your hamstrings but also the entire posterior chain, including the glutes. Strengthening the posterior goes a long way in injury prevention and can help with back pain issues. (4)

You will see that some reverse hyperextension machines have weight stacks while others require weight plates. Another difference is standing or lying on your stomach while doing the exercise.

If you feel very uncomfortable or your lower back is under strain, check if the machine is adjustable. You should feel all the effort in the hamstrings and glutes, not the calves and lower back.

 

6. Glute Ham Developer

At first glance, the glute ham developer looks like the reverse hyper extension machine, but the focus is on the lower back and glutes, although you will feel the hamstrings to some extent.

The quadratus lumborum (QL) muscle is located deepest of all muscles in that region and is the most common culprit for lower back pain. The most effective way to strengthen it is glute ham developer exercises.

Do not go too far back during the upper portion of the exercise because you will expose the spine to stress in an unnatural position.

 

7. Leg Press

Leg press exercise example

The leg press machines primarily develop the quads, but the glutes, hamstrings, and calves are also involved.

Even though the leg press is focused mainly on your quads, you should use this machine during a glute workout. Not only is it a step towards stronger, toned glutes, but you will significantly strengthen the quads, translating to more successful squats and, thus, bigger glutes.

To shift some of the emphasis away from the quads and onto the glutes during the leg press we can employ some clever tactics. If we position our feet high on the platform, opt for a wide stance, and slightly point the toes outwards – glute involvement will be much higher compared to the traditional leg press movement.

 

8. Hip Abductor

A hip abductor/adductor machine may provoke a terrible case of delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), but it is well worth the pain. (5)

The upper part of the glutes (gluteus medius) is the primary muscle involved in hip abduction. The gluteus medius, albeit smaller than the gluteus maximus, significantly affects the appearance of the butt because it makes it complete, so your leggings will not look empty on top.

Stay away from heavy weights on the hip abductor/adductor machine. Instead, go through the entire range of motion, pay attention to the negative portion of the exercise, and hold for a second.

 

Conclusion

So there you have it, our 8 favourite machines that successfully build the glute muscles. As we mentioned at the beginning of the articles, to build the glutes we need to incorporate a mixture of both free weight exercises and machine exercises to maximise growth and build a peachy bum that looks great in a pair of leggings.

Ideally, we should prioritise the more demanding compound exercises at the start of our workout and finish up with our isolation exercises to really hit both the upper and lower glutes.

I hope you’ve learned why glute machine exercises deserve a spot in your workout regime. They bring numerous benefits that are absent with free weight exercises and are great for building the butt! Happy glute building!


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