Nip into your nearest gym (see our friends #northsfitness) and you’ll hopefully see a bustling atmosphere of people working out, trying to reach goals and get their bodies stronger. You’ll see all kinds of movements occurring, push, pull, jump, squat, lunge, lift… The list is endless. Maybe your physio has advised you to get to the gym yourself and work on some strength training. —You’ve been getting a bit of lower back pain and they’ve highlighted that your glutes are weak and may be contributors to your pain. It’s hard to fit everything in! You have to sit all day at work, and you just don’t seem to find enough hours in the day after work, kids, cooking, washing and shopping to set aside time to concentrate on you and getting yourself stronger.

So the bad news is, sitting for long periods of the day could be contributing to your back pain. When you sit for long periods, your hip flexors become shortened and tight. This prevents your hips from being able to extend properly (we need this to help propel us forward when we walk, run, jump and climb the stairs) and which muscle is responsible for hip extension? That’s right, your gluteus maximus muscle! Not being able to extend the hip well, means the gluteus maximus muscle becomes a bit lazy. It’s not being used properly, it’s not able to contract all of those muscle fibres through their full range to provide you with a powerful contraction. Therefore, weakness sets in and other areas of the body have to work harder to compensate for this. The lower back is one of the areas that works harder when your glutes slack off— and it lets you know it is working too hard by sending a signal to the brain that all is not well. You feel this as pain.

Now it’s not all doom and gloom, don’t worry. There is good news! Our team here at St Leonards Physiotherapy will be able to provide hands-on treatment, exercise and advice to get those hip flexors released and the hip moving successfully into extension. But you’ll have to back up the work done on in the clinic by performing exercises at home. These exercises might include some hip flexor stretching, hip mobility, and gluteal activation, as well as strengthening exercises. To make it simpler for you, we’ve described two beneficial glute exercises that you can perform at home to ensure your glutes will be firing on all cylinders. Check them out below…

  1. Hip thruster
  2. Sit with your upper back against the edge of a bench (the seat of your couch will work just fine!)
  3. Reach your arms out to the side along the bench for balance
  4. Have your knees bent and feet flat to the floor approximately hip width apart
  5. Squeeze your buttocks as you raise your hips up until your body and thighs form a horizontal line
  6. Be careful not to over-arch your lower back
  7. Return to the start position and repeat
  • Split squat
  • Stand tall and place your back foot behind you on a step or bench
  • Your front leg should be slightly out in front of you
  • Slowly bend your front knee, dropping your back knee down towards the floor
  • Squat with your front leg to an angle of approximately 45-90 degrees
  • Pause and then push up through your heel whilst you squeeze your buttocks
  • Return to the start position and repeat

Suggestion: Try 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions, 3 times per week for each of the exercises above.

Please remember to speak to your physio before attempting any new exercises and always give yourself rest days to allow for recovery and strengthening to take place. We have the expertise to guide you on which exercise is ideal for each stage of your rehabilitation. Be persistent, work hard, and you’ll be on a path to having fully functioning glutes and awesome buns of steel in no time!

If you want to improve your glutes please don’t hesitate to make an appointment on our Iphone mobile phone app or online at https://www.stleonardsphysio.com.au/book-online.

Re Iphone Mobile App, go to app store on your Iphone, search for ‘cliniq apps’ then use the clinic reference Stleonardsphysio.  If you have problems registering on the Iphone mobile phone app please call reception on 9438 1872 to check your login name as there may be some symbols after your surname that need to be entered.  


  1. Brukner, P. et al. 2017. Clinical Sports Medicine. 5th ed. Australia: McGraw-Hill Education
  2. Jeong, U. et al. 2015. The effects of gluteus muscle strengthening exercise and lumbar stabilization exercise on lumbar muscle strength and balance in chronic low back pain patients. Journal of Physical Therapy Science. 27 (12). 3813-3816. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4713798/
  3. All exercise descriptions taken from The Rehab Lab website