Let's cut the BS. A strong, powerful gluteus maximus is what separates the elite athlete from the average athlete, the average bodybuilder from the professional, and the guy who builds the ultimate body from the dude who can't gain weight or strength no matter what he tries.

Most guys have no junk in their respective trunks, and are seriously limiting their potential. Don't think you're one of the afflicted ass-less? Go find a mirror, turn around, and give your nether regions a good once-over. Flex the hell out of 'em while you're at it. Chances are pretty good you you're not even filling out your Dockers. And if by chance you do have nicely rounded glutes, I bet they're one of your weakest body parts.

Whether your goal is to increase your squat and deadlift, your sprinting speed, or to simply to look better naked, the info presented here will help you tremendously.

I'm not gonna lie; I get a bit heavy on the science-speak. But if you can spend the next fifteen minutes reading this article, your knowledge of hip extension exercises will be greater than that of 99 percent of all trainers and coaches.

But the best part is applying what you learn and building some serious lower body muscles with serious power. Sound good?

Let's get our asses in gear.

Hip to the Basics. What Exactly is Hip Extension?

Hip extension is involved in running, jumping, squatting, lunging, bending, climbing, and thrusting. (Insert your own sex joke here.)

linear approximations

The hip is the juncture between the head of the femur and the acetabulum of the pelvis and hip extension occurs in the sagittal plane and involves straightening the hip when it's bent forward (flexed). The key to understanding hip extension is to focus on the angle created by the linear approximations of the spine and femur, which create the hip angle.

In anatomical position, the hip angle is a straight line, or a 180 degree angle. Hip flexion decreases the hip angle and brings the knee closer to the shoulders while hip extension increases the hip angle and brings the knee back to 180 degrees. If the angle increases past 180 degrees, the action is referred to as hyperextension, since the hip joint extends past anatomical position. Got it? If not, here's a quick chart:

There are many types of hip extension exercises, including squatting movements, deadlifting movements, lunging movements, bent and straight leg bridging movements, quadruped movements, straight leg hyperextension movements, and movements that combine hip extension and knee flexion. This article will examine the differences between these exercises and the benefits of each.

All in the Family – the Hip Extensors

There are five primary hip extensors and possibly fifteen secondary hip extensors. The five main hip extensors are the gluteus maximus, the hamstring part of the adductor magnus, the long head of the biceps femoris, the semimembranosus, and the semitendinosus.

Each primary and secondary hip extensor belongs to the adductor, hamstring, gluteal, deep hip rotator, or hip flexor group. Here's a complete list of potential hip extensors, all of which are supported by at least one literary source. (See how many you can pronounce.)

  • adductor longus
  • pectineus
  • adductor brevis
  • anterior fibers of adductor magnus
  • gracilis
  • adductor minimus
  • posterior fibers of adductor magnus
  • semitendinosis
  • semimembranosis
  • long head of biceps femoris
  • gluteus maximus
  • posterior fibers of gluteus medius
  • posterior fibers of gluteus minimus
  • piriformis
  • obturator internus
  • gemellus superior
  • obturator externus
  • gemellus inferior
  • quadratus femoris
  • sartorius

Varying Hip Extensor Contribution

It's futile to guess which hip extensor muscle or muscle part is the strongest or most important in a certain exercise or sport action, as the proportion of hip extensor recruitment varies depending on the load vector, knee action, hip angle, and numerous other factors.

For example, at a certain position in a certain exercise, the long head of the biceps femoris might be the most powerful hip extensor, while thirty degrees later into extension during the same exercise, the gluteus maximus might become the most powerful hip extensor at that moment.

During hip extension exercises, a certain hip extensor muscle can be highly involved at a particular range of motion only to die off later in the movement. Conversely, a certain hip extensor muscle can be dormant at a particular range of motion only to become the prime mover later in the movement.

Classification of muscles that act on the hip into functional groups only holds true for a particular joint position, because the axis of motion changes relative to the muscles as the joint reorients itself dynamically, causing muscles to have opposite roles (for example abductors as adductors). This is referred to as "inversion of muscular action." A muscle of a joint with three degrees of freedom (such as the hip joint) may have secondary actions that can be altered and even reversed.

The most common example is the dual flexor-extensor role of the adductor muscles depending on their position in the flexion-extension axis. In addition to adducting the hip, the adductors flex the hip early in hip flexion, and then extend the hip early in hip extension when the thigh is significantly flexed forward.

Especially during compound movements and movements that involve a lot of muscle, the same muscles are not dominant during the entire range of movement. For example, the glutes may be highly involved in the deep portion of a squat, yet the gluteal contribution dissipates as the movement rises.

The glutes may be minimally involved in the deep portion of a back extension yet the gluteal contribution increases as the movement rises especially into hip hyperextension. The adductors may contribute heavily to the initial portion of a back extension yet completely die off as the movement rises.

More Than You'll Ever Need to Know About Your Ass

You still awake? On the right are some nice ass pictures, sort of a reward for just hanging in here with me. Now that we're refreshed, let's move on to the thing you're sitting on right now – your ass.

The average weight of the gluteus maximus is 844 grams, weighing over twice that of the gluteus medius and minimus combined (421 grams). Often the gluteus maximus measures over 1 inch thick and measures over 66 square cm in cross section. The gluteus maximus comprises 12.8% of the total muscle mass of the lower extremity.

On average, the fiber-type composition of the gluteus maximus breaks down into 68 percent slow-twitch and 32 percent fast-twitch. It has a force equivalent to 34 kg and a static power equivalent to 238 kg. Although it's often stated that the gluteus maximus is the largest and most powerful muscle group in the human body, it's simply not true for everyone. (Although it's pretty damn powerful.)

Concentrically, the gluteus maximus accelerates hip extension, hip external rotation, and hip abduction. The upper and lower fibers of the gluteus maximus function differently from one another, with the upper fibers being more involved in hip abduction, hip external rotation, and hip hyperextension.

Eccentrically, the gluteus maximus decelerates hip flexion, hip internal rotation, and hip adduction. Isometrically, the gluteus maximus stabilizes the knee via the iliotibial band (which is taut at 15-20 degrees of flexion) and the sacroiliac joint via the latissimus dorsi and sacrotuberous ligament.

Surprisingly, the fibers of the gluteus maximus that insert into the iliotibial band (approximately 70-85% of the total muscle fibers) can actually produce extension of the knee joint.

The Four Primary Benefits of Gluteal Strengthening

  1. Postural improvements
  2. Injury and pain prevention
  3. Increased athleticism, strength, and power
  4. Physique improvements

Most guys' glutes are terribly weak and underpotentialized. Due to the multidirectional action of the gluteus maximus and roles as hip extensors, abductors, and external rotators, increasing the strength of the gluteus maximus can increase and improve:

  • acceleration and top speed in forward sprinting
  • power in bilateral and unilateral, vertical and horizontal jumping
  • agility and quickness in changing direction from side to side
  • acceleration and top speed in lateral sprinting
  • rotational power in swinging, striking, and throwing
  • running, jumping, and throwing events in track and field
  • squat and deadlift strength in powerlifting
  • snatch and clean & jerk power in weightlifting
  • strength and conditioning in strongman events
  • thrusting power for mount escapes and submissions in MMA
  • inclined sprinting and climbing strength and endurance
  • deceleration in backpedaling, lateral running, and rotational movements
  • ground-based horizontal pushing force and opponent manipulation in football and martial arts

A strong, powerful gluteus maximus is often what separate the elite athlete from the average athlete.

As athletes advance, they learn to incorporate their hip and leg musculature into their movements to a much higher degree. For example, beginner shot-putters use predominantly their upper body muscles when throwing, whereas advanced shot putters use predominantly their leg muscles.

The correlation between athletic achievements in beginner athletes' arm strength is .83, whereas the correlation between athletic achievements in beginner athletes' leg strength is .37.

That means they're not using their legs enough!

For advanced athletes, the correlations flip flop to .73 and .87, respectively.

In other words, in order for athletes to advance, they must learn how to derive maximum power from the hips and legs. In order for this advancement to take place, a foundation of adequate core strength and hip mobility is an absolute prerequisite.

Length-Tension Relationships

Length-tension relationships dictate the amount of muscular force that can be produced at a given time. This phenomenon has to do with the number of cross-bridges that can form at a given joint angle. A muscle contracts best when it is at its optimal length, which is either at resting length or slightly stretched at 1.2 times its resting length, depending on the muscle. When a muscle is either shortened or overstretched, it cannot produce its maximum force.

During hip extension exercises, the knee action that occurs while the hips are extending or extended helps determine the muscular activation due to length-tension relationships and various muscle contraction types.

There are five types of knee actions that can occur during hip extension exercises: extension, semi-straight leg, straight leg, bent leg, and flexion. For example, at the bottom of a squat the hamstrings are shortened and can't contribute as much as they can during a deadlift.

Directional Load Vectors

In the body-planes model (frontal, sagittal, transverse planes), a jump and a sprint are both sagittal plane activities; there is no distinction between the two even though they propel the body in two different directions. I created load vector terminology to more adequately describe movement in sports and the weight room.

When creating the model, I used the direction of the load in the weight room rather than the direction in which we propel the body in sports (they are opposites). Load vectors refer to the direction of the resistance relative to the human body. Since load vectors are relative to the body, one must consider both the position of the human and the direction of the resistance in order to determine the load vector. The following diagrams depict two ways of illustrating the six primary load vectors in sports and strength training:

Load Vectors

In sagittal plane hip extension, there are three main types of load vectors; axial, anteroposterior, and a combination of axial and anteroposterior. In axial hip extension exercises, the direction of the resistance comes from top to bottom (or vice versa) in reference to anatomical position.

In anteroposterior hip extension exercises, the direction of the resistance comes from front to back (or vice versa) in reference to anatomical position.

In axial/anteroposterior blend hip extension exercises, the direction of the resistance is halfway between axial and anteroposterior at a 45 degree angle relative to the human body.

Free weight and bodyweight axial hip extension exercises are usually performed while standing, while anteroposterior hip extension exercises are performed in the supine, quadruped, or prone positions. Most people perform solely axial lower body exercises and need to perform anteroposterior lower body exercises and exercises from the other vectors to maximize their athleticism and muscle activation and to balance their strength levels and prevent injuries.

Axial activities include squatting, deadlifting, and jumping. Anteroposterior activities include hip thrusting, back extensions, and top-speed sprinting. Axial/anteroposterior blend activities include walking lunges, 45 degree hypers, sled pushing, broad jumping, and acceleration sprints.

Load vectors profoundly impact muscular activation in hip extension exercises. When a guy intends to move his hips upward with maximal force, as in the case of a vertical jump, squat, or deadlift, the gluteus maximus muscles aren't activated nearly as much as they are when he intends to move his hips forward with maximal force, as in the case of a sprint, hip thrust, or reverse hyper.

Wolff's law states that if loading on a particular bone increases, the bone will remodel itself over time to become stronger to resist that sort of loading. The direction of the loading causes the collagen fibers within bone to conform to the lines of stress experienced by the bone.

Axial loading causes different bone adaptations than anteroposterior loading. Similarly, muscles become stronger over time to resist various loading patterns as well (not through collagen adaptations but through sarcomeric hypertrophy and increased HTMU stimulation).

Although most guys have significantly tapped into their axial hip extension strength capacity by performing years of squats and deadlifts, they haven't scratched the surface regarding their anteroposterior hip extension strength capacity.

For example, if you've performed military press (axial loaded) for years but had never performed a single set of bench press (anteroposterior loaded), your deltoids and triceps would be sufficiently developed, but your pecs and triceps would have much room for increased development.

If you've performed squats and deadlifts (axial loaded) for years but have never performed a single set of hip thrusts or weighted back extensions, your quadriceps and erector spinae would be sufficiently developed, but your glutes and hamstrings (anteroposterior loaded) would have much room for increased development.

Here's a good rule to keep in mind: squats and lunges are the kings of quad exercises; deadlifts and good mornings are the kings of erector spinae exercises; hip thrusts and pendulum quadruped hip extensions are the kings of glute exercises; and weighted back extensions and glute ham raises are the kings of hamstring exercises.

Angular Kinematics

At the hip, the femur rotates inside the acetabulum. In axial loaded hip extension exercises, full hip extension is reached at the lockout position (0 degrees) and tension on the gluteus maximus muscles is dramatically reduced (like the top portion of a squat). In anteroposterior loaded hip extension exercises, full extension is reached at 10-20 degrees of hyperextension, and tension on the gluteus maximus muscles is maximized (ex: top portion of hip thrust).

In axial hip extension exercises like squats and deadlifts, hyperextension is dangerous because of the awkward angle on the spine and subsequent compressive forces on the posterior portions of the intervertebral discs and facet joints.

However, in anteroposterior hip extension exercises like hip thrusts and back extensions, hyperextension is much safer, as the hips can hyperextend 10 degrees with bent legs, 20 degrees with straight legs, and 30 degrees while being forcefully pulled back.

As dictated by length-tension relationships, since the gluteus maximus muscles contract best at resting length, then anteroposterior loaded exercises are going to be superior to axial loaded exercises because there's maximum tension placed upon the glutes at neutral and into hyperextension, where the glutes are in their strongest contraction zone.

Peak Activation Positions and Glute Zones

While mean activation is the average level of activation throughout an entire repetition or set, peak activation is the highest level of activation reached during a repetition or set.


The greatest peak glute activity in a squat and lunge occurs down low in the bottom-range or "stretched-position." The greatest peak glute activity in a deadlift occurs at lockout or "mid-range position." The greatest peak glute activity in a hip thrust occurs into hyperextension, which is the end-range or "contracted position."

All glute zones need to be trained for maximum gluteal development, maximum glute strength, and maximum glute power. Glute strength is zone-specific; it's possible to be strong in one zone and not another. For example, you may have strong glutes down low with the squat but not-so-strong glutes at the top of a deadlift or into the hyperextension range in the hip thrust.

Ideally, you should strive for optimal strength in all three glute zones. In sports, rate of force development (RFD) is the most important factor in producing explosive force. Muscles need to be strong at all ranges of motion so their pulses can summate and produce maximum propulsion.

Although it's important to perform movements explosively, it's also important to use heavy enough weight to where you feel the resistance all the way through the movement. During hip-hyperextension movements, some guys with strong hamstrings and weak glutes will fling the weight up at the bottom and fail to use the glutes up top.

Often they'll fail to achieve full range of motion (ROM) because of their weak glutes and tight hip flexors. This is akin to someone who has strong pecs, front delts, and lats but weak triceps flinging the weight up on a bench press and failing to control the weight up top to incorporate the triceps.

This strategy is suboptimal as the guy would also benefit from having strong triceps. It's imperative that you learn to open up your hips and use for glutes. For some this is automatic, for others it just takes time.

The 7 Categories of Hip Extension Exercises

All sagittal plane hip extension exercises fall into one of seven categories:

  1. axial extension
  2. axial semi-straight leg
  3. anteroposterior straight leg
  4. anteroposterior bent leg
  5. anteroposterior extension
  6. anteroposterior flexion
  7. hybrids (axial/anteroposterior blends)

Each of these categories has unilateral (single limb) and bilateral (dual limb) counterparts. The first term refers to the load vector and the second term refers to the knee action while the hips are extending or extended.

1 – Axial extension exercises

Axial extension exercises include squats, lunges, Bulgarian squats, step ups, and single leg squats. They are loaded from top-to-bottom, involve simultaneous hip and knee extension, and are stretched-position exercises.

Stretched-position hip extension exercises produce more glute soreness than contracted-position hip extension exercises due to the level of micro-trauma they deliver to the muscle fibers. This is because the muscle is producing its strongest contraction while the muscle is being forcefully stretched. The eccentric deceleration and subsequent reversal into concentric acceleration can lead to extreme levels of delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

This explains why squats and lunges produce the most glute soreness out of all hip extension exercises, especially in the lower glute/ham tie-in area which is hit hardest. In addition, at the bottom of a squat or lunge, the hamstrings are shortened, which decreases their contribution and forces the glutes to take on the brunt of the hip extension requirements.

And if you employ the "sit back, chest up, knees out, spread the floor, go deep" technique then you'll maximize the stretch in the glutes and their force contribution in the squat.

However, stretched-position hip extension exercises don't produce much muscular tension at the top of the movement (at the exercise's lockout). Due to the decreased muscular tension up top, blood is left free to dissipate and escape the area, which explains why squats and lunges don't provide a pump or burning sensation in the glutes. Stretched-position hip extension exercises also work the quads the best and produce the greatest adductor magnus soreness.

2 – Axial Semi-Straight Leg Exercises

Axial semi-straight leg exercises include deadlfits, good mornings, and single leg RDL's. They are loaded from top-to-bottom, involve hip extension with semi-straight legs (as well as slight knee extension at the lockout), and are actually mid-range position exercises.

Mid-range position hip extension exercises lie in between stretched position hip extension exercises and contracted-position hip extension exercises. They can produce glute soreness but not to the same degree as stretched-position hip extension exercises. They can also produce a mild-pump but not to the same degree as contracted-position hip extension exercises.

For example, at the bottom of a deadlift, the hamstrings are in an excellent position for maximal contraction. As the movement rises, the glutes become more important and are mandatory for providing the forward hip translation necessary for lockout. Mid-range position hip extension exercises target the erector spinae better than any other exercises.

3 – Anteroposterior Sraight Leg Exercises

Anteroposterior straight leg exercises involve hip hyperextension with straight legs. They're loaded from front-to-back and they incorporate the upper glutes in addition to the lower glutes. They function similarly to axial semi-straight leg exercises by having good hamstring involvement down low and increased glute involvement up top.

They're straight leg contracted-position exercises, which are the best hamstring activators and the greatest pump, burn, and cramp producers in the hamstrings. Examples of anteroposterior straight-leg exercises are back extensions, reverse hypers, and straight leg bridges.

4 – Anteroposterior Bent Leg Exercises

Anteroposterior bent-leg exercises involve hip hyperextension with bent knees. They're loaded from front-to-back and work the upper glutes in addition to the lower glutes. They're the best total glute activators because the knees stay bent, which decreases hamstring involvement and forces the glutes to pick up the slack.

Glute Bridge demonstrated by Katie Cole

They're bent-leg contracted-position hip extension exercises which produce the highest levels of both mean and peak glute activity because the glutes are worked pretty hard at the bottom of the movement but especially hard at the top of the movement at the hyperextension range.

Due to this phenomenon, muscular tension never subsides and blood is literally trapped and incapable of escaping. This explains why hip thrusts and pendulum quadruped hip extensions produce the greatest pump, burn, and cramping sensation out of any other hip extension exercises; the constant tension pools the blood which can be good for occlusion/hypoxia and fascial stretching, in addition to being good for both sarcomeric and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.

However, during these exercises the glutes aren't placed under the same amount of stress at the bottom range of motion as squats or lunges, so they do not produce nearly as much glute soreness. Examples of bent-leg anteroposterior exercises are glute bridges, hip thrusts, pendulum quadruped hip extensions, bent leg back extensions, and bent leg reverse hypers.

5 – Anteroposterior Extension Exercises

Anteroposterior extension exercises involve simultaneous hip hyperextension and knee extension. They're loaded from front-to-back and work the upper glutes in addition to the lower glutes. They produce a consistently high level of glute activation throughout the movement as well.

At the bottom of the motion, the hamstrings are shortened and the glutes are optimally loaded. As the movement progresses the knee straightens and the hamstrings become more active. The lever arm increases and the hips can hyperextend 20 degrees with straight legs (as opposed to only 10 degrees with bent legs).

But the knee-straightening produced by the quadriceps allows the hamstrings to lengthen, which increases their involvement and takes some of the burden off the glutes. This makes anteroposterior extension exercises second only to anteroposterior bent-leg exercises in mean glute activity. Examples of anteroposterior extension exercises are pull-throughs, Kettlebell swings, and reverse leg presses.

6 – Anteroposterior Flexion Exercises

Anteroposterior flexion exercises involve simultaneous hip hyperextension and knee flexion. They're loaded from front-to-back and work the upper glutes in addition to the lower glutes. They begin with straight legs, which is optimal for hamstring involvement. As the movement progresses, the hamstrings work dual roles as knee flexors and hip extensors.

At the top of the movement, the knees are bent, the hamstrings are shortened, and the glutes are contracting very hard. Anteroposterior flexion exercises are second only to anteroposterior straight-leg exercises in mean hamstring activity. Examples of anteroposterior flexion exercises are glute-ham raises, stability ball leg curls, gliding leg curls, and sliding leg curls.

7 – Hybrids

Hybrids are blended vectors that contain an even mixture of axial and anteroposterior components, which create 45 degree-angled vectors. Exercises like sled pushes, stadium sprints, 45-degree hypers, and walking lunges are hybrids.

Feel Your Glutes!

I don't want to get arrested for inciting mass-molestation, but I seriously recommend that you find someone (preferably Jessica Alba, Vida Guerra, or Shakira) who will let you squeeze their entire butt cheek while they perform various glute exercises. I recommend that you have your volunteer perform a bodyweight squat, good morning, lunge, single leg hip thrust, quadruped hip extension, lying abduction, and clam.

Hip Thrust demonstrated by Katie Cole

If you have access to weights and bands, then throw in a barbell squat, deadlift, lunge, glute bridge, hip thrust, band standing abduction, band seated abduction, and band external rotation. I believe that you can learn a ton about the glutes from this ten minute activity (or six-hour activity if you're lucky enough to get Shakira).

Putting it All Together

I know, I know, now I've gone and screwed everything up by adding more components to program design. In addition to considering the workout-split, frequency, volume, intensity, density, and fluctuation of training stress, it's also important to consider variety in exercise selection.

Variety prevents habituation. This is why templates work well. As long as one works hard on at least one movement each week from the various categories, then strength for that pattern should remain elevated.

Some of the many variables to consider with hip extension exercise include resistance type, center of gravity, limb number, kinetic chain type, contraction position, knee action, load vectors, level of stability, ROM, stance width, contraction type, tempo, and strength type (effort method).

Your Weekly Glute Fix

Here's a template that can be split apart depending upon the number of times per week you hit the lower body. The following categories should be trained on a weekly basis for optimal strength development:

  1. Bilateral axial extension exercise (ex: squat, front squat)
  2. Unilateral axial extension exercise (ex: Bulgarian squat, high step up)
  3. Axial semi-straight leg exercise (ex: deadlift, good morning)
  4. Anteroposteriorbent-leg exercise (ex: hip thrust, pendulum quadruped hip extension)
  5. Anteroposteriorstraight leg exercise (ex: back extension, reverse hyper)

Hybrids, anteroposterior flexion, and anteroposterior extension exercises can be thrown in from time to time in substitution for other categories. Furthermore, more targeted work can be incorporated as well as hip abduction, hip external rotation, hip flexion, hip adduction, hip internal rotation, knee flexion, and knee extension exercises.

Just in Case You're Wondering What Exercises to Pick

Here's a chart that hones in on the levels of glute activation I received from various exercises in reference to MVC.

Bilateral Axial Extension Exercises

Exercise Resistance Mean % Peak %
Full Squat 315 35.6 114.0
Sumo Squat 315 27.6 85.4
Front Squat 265 35.0 91.7
Low Box Squat 315 20.0 103.0
High Box Squat 345 28.9 105.0
Zercher Squat 295 45.0 92.7
Lever Squat 270 26.8 95.2
Kneeling Squat 495 66.8 159.0

Unilateral Axial Extension Exercises

Exercise Resistance Mean % Peak %
Walking Lunge 225 27.7 94.7
Elevated Static Lunge 100 25.1 64.4
Lever Lunge 90 33.8 70.7
High Step Up Bodyweight 25.0 189.0
Low Step Up 95 lbs 17.9 45.1
Bulgarian Squat 185 21.7 54.2
Single Leg Wall Slide Bodyweight 11.0 26.4
Single Leg Box Squat Bodyweight 17.3 39.1
Blast Strap Pistol Bodyweight 17.9 36.2

Bilateral Axial Semi-Straight Leg Exercises

Exercise Resistance Mean % Peak %
Deadlift 495 55.0 110.0
Sumo Deadlift 495 51.9 98.4
Hex Bar Deadlift 495 37.6 73.8
Good Morning 265 34.0 87.7
Romanian Deadlift 405 24.3 69.6
Snatch Grip Deadlift 455 43.1 95.2
Hack Lift 335 32.8 121.0
Glute Punch 230 26.0 77.5
Seated Good Morning 185 8.9 25.2

Unilateral Axial Semi-Straight Leg Exercises

Exercise Resistance Mean % Peak %
King Deadlift 95 27.6 55.6
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift 200 31.1 66.4
Bulgarian Deadlift 225 46.8 69.5
Single Leg Good Morning 95 21.2 55.4
Single Leg Glute Punch 90 22.7 55.9

Bilateral Anteroposterior Bent Leg Exercises

Exercise Resistance Mean % Peak %
Hip Thrust Blue Band 94.5 224.0
Hip Thrust 405 84.1 180.0
Hip Thrust 275 plus 2 Red Bands 119.0 235.0
Bent Leg 45 Degree Hyper 2 Red Bands 67.1 135.0
Bent Leg 45 Degree Hyper 100 46.0 155.0
Bent Leg Back Extension 1 Red Band 48.6 139.0
Bent Leg Back Extension 100 46.0 149.0
Bent Leg Back Extension 100 plus 1 Red Band 89.8 158.0
Bent Leg Reverse Hyper 150 111.0 163.0

Unilateral Anteroposterior Bent Leg Exercises

Exercise Resistance Mean % Peak %
Pendulum Quadrupled Hip Extension 100 112.0 185.0
Single Leg Hip Thrust Red Band 43.5 120.0
Single Leg Prisoner Bent Leg 45 Degree Hyper Bodyweight 33.6 99.8
Single Leg Prisoner Bent Leg Back Extension Bodyweight 41.4 105.0
Single Leg Bent Leg Back Extension 25 plus 1 Red Band 65.9 134.0
Single Leg Bent Leg Reverse Hyper 100 122.0 199.0
Quadrupled Hip Extension Bodyweight 26.4 135.0
Single Leg Glute Bridge Bodyweight 26.1 119.0

Bilateral Anteroposterior Straight Leg Exercises

Exercise Resistance Mean % Peak %
Reverse Hyper 180 43.7 123.0
45 Degree Hyper 2 Red Bands 43.8 125.0
45 Degree Hyper 100 36.4 96.7
Back Extension 1 Red Band 36.4 130.0
Back Extension 100 42.4 105.0
Elevated Straight Leg Glute Bridge 50 14.9 66.8
Poor Man's Back Attack Purple Band 48.4 143.0

Unilateral Anteroposterior Straight Leg Exercises

Exercise Resistance Mean % Peak %
Single Leg Reverse Hyper 100 97 203
Single Leg Prisoner 45 Degree Hyper Bodyweight 39.2 108.0
Single Leg Prisoner Back Extension Bodyweight 45.3 151.0
Single Leg Back Extension 25 plus 1 Red Band 65.9 134.0
Single Leg Elevated Straight Leg Glute Bridge Bodyweight 22.9 118.0

Bilateral Anteroposterior Extension Exercise

Exercise Resistance Mean % Peak %
Pull Through 260 81.8 143.0

Unilateral Anteroposterior Extension Exercise

Exercise Resistance Mean % Peak %
Bird Dog Bodyweight 39.9 135.0

Anteroposterior Flexion Exercises

Exercise Resistance Mean % Peak %
Natural Glute Ham Raise Bodyweight 5.5 9.9
Stability Ball Leg Curl Bodyweight 3.0 7.4
Glute Ham Raise Bodyweight 14.1 44.2
Glute Ham Raise 50 30.7 104.0
Glute Ham Raise 2 Red Bands 16.2 82.3
Sliding Leg Curl Bodyweight 20.9 102.0

Abduction Exercise

Exercise Resistance Mean % Peak %
Standing Band Abduction 1 Red Band 18.6 46.1

Transverse Abduction Exercise

Exercise Resistance Mean % Peak %
Band Clam 1 Red Band 27.1 57.8

External Rotation Exercise

Exercise Resistance Mean % Peak %
Standing Cable External Rotation 30 20.1 48.2

Adduction Exercise

Exercise Resistance Mean % Peak %
Standing Cable Adduction 100 3.4 6.0

Transverse Adduction Exercise

Exercise Resistance Mean % Peak %
Seated Swiss Ball Adduction Swiss Ball 2.5 4.4


Hip extension may never be as sexy as benching a few hundred pounds or strapping some plates around your waist for weighted chin-ups, but focusing on the different force vectors and exercises will have a bigger impact on your training than you may think.

Bret Contreras is considered by many to be the world’s foremost expert on glute training. He has turbo-charged the fitness industry by introducing effective new exercises and training methods for optimal glute development. Follow Bret Contreras on Twitter