The 8 Best Standing Glute Exercises for Older Adults

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Standing glute exercises are a great way to build hip strength and stability at the same time
Image Credit: kali9/E+/GettyImages

Training the glutes may seem like a fitness priority reserved for the young — anyone trying to build a bigger butt or boost performance in a sport. But actually, everyone, at any age, can benefit from working their posterior.

In fact, glute training becomes even more important as we get older, says Pete McCall, CSCS, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, host of the All About Fitness podcast and author of ​Ageless Intensity: High-Intensity Workouts to Slow the Aging Process​.

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"The glutes are the powerhouse of the core," he says. By controlling how your hips move, they help you take everyday feats of strength in stride. Want to stand up out of a chair, take the stairs, play with your kids and grandkids or run around the block? Your glutes matter.

Think about when you walk: When your right leg swings forward, your right glutes lengthen. When your left leg comes forward, your right glutes shorten.

"As we age, we really become concerned about falling," McCall says, "and a lot of that is due to a lack of hip strength."

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There are tons of ways you can work your hips, but McCall recommends doing standing glute exercises because they involve an extra stability challenge. And if you don't use it (stability), you lose it.

Try These 8 Standing Glute Exercises for Seniors

The following standing glute exercises will help keep your glutes strong and stable now and into the future. All you'll need is a mini band and a long looped resistance band. (Scroll to the end of the article for the best resistance bands you can buy.)

Move 1: Lateral Toe Tap and Reach

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Reps 8
Body Part Butt
  1. Stand with your feet together and knees slightly bent. Keep your weight in your heels.
  2. Reach your right foot out to the side, straightening your leg and tapping your toe to the ground. At the same time, reach your right hand over toward the left.
  3. Your torso will twist a bit, but try to keep your hips facing as forward as possible.
  4. Return to the starting position.
  5. Do 8 to 12 reps, then switch sides.

Simultaneously stepping your foot to the side and reaching your arm in the opposite side internally rotates and lengthens the glute muscles, McCall says.

“Lengthening of muscles is what gets motor units [groups of muscle fibers] involved and turns them on."

That makes this a great exercise to add to a dynamic warm-up, do first thing in the morning or otherwise place at the beginning of your workout.

Move 2: Body-Weight Romanian Deadlift

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Reps 8
Body Part Butt
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and place your hands behind your ears.
  2. Keeping your spine straight and shoulders down and pack, push your hips back toward the wall (or imaginary wall) behind you. Let your torso tip forward and soften your knees.
  3. Once you’ve bent as far forward as comfortable, squeeze your glutes to stand back tall in the starting position.
  4. Do 8 to 12 reps.

Squats and lunges are technically standing glute exercises, but for some people, they can cause knee pain, McCall says.

Moves like the Romanian deadlift and hip thrusts allow you to work your backside without putting pressure on the knees.

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Move 3: Banded Side Step

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Reps 15
Body Part Butt
  1. Loop a mini band just above your ankles.
  2. Get in a semi-squat position with your hips back and your weight in your heels.
  3. Squeeze your glutes and step your right foot out to the right.
  4. Keeping tension in the band, step your left foot to follow the right.
  5. Continue stepping to the right for as far as your workout space allows, up to about 10 yards.
  6. Then repeat the motion walking to the left side.
  7. Do 15 to 20 reps leading with each leg.

It’s important to work the glutes in all directions, McCall says. Working them laterally, like you will with this exercise, strengthens their ability to abduct (move away from the midline of your body).

This is important because, every time you walk or run, you balance most or all of your weight on a single leg. When you do that, your gluteus medius, situated in the upper, outer edge of your hips, is responsible for stabilizing your pelvis and thigh bone, he explains.

Move 4: Monster Walk

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Time 30 Sec
Body Part Butt
  1. Loop a mini resistance band just above your ankles.
  2. Start in a semi-squat position with your hips back and your weight in your heels.
  3. Squeeze your glutes and take a wide step forward with one foot.
  4. Keep tension in the band, and take a wide step forward with the other foot.
  5. Continue "walking" for about 10 yards or as far as your workout space allows.
  6. Once you reach the other side, walk backward to the starting position. Keep a slight bend in your knees and make sure your knees don’t cave in toward each other.

Move 5: Side Lunge With Toe Reach

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Reps 8
Body Part Butt
  1. Stand tall with your feet together.
  2. Step your right foot out to the side, bend your knee and sit your hips back to lower into a side lunge.
  3. At the same time, reach toward your right foot with your left hand.
  4. Push through your right foot to return to the starting position.
  5. Do 8 to 12 reps, then switch sides.

Reaching for your foot as you lunge creates rotation and flexion [bending] of the hip, McCall says.

It’s just another way to work your glutes in a direction that your typical glute exercises might not address.

Move 6: Banded Lateral Toe Taps

Reps 15
Body Part Butt
  1. Loop a mini resistance band just above your ankles.
  2. Start in a semi-squat position with your hips back and your weight in your heels.
  3. Squeeze your glutes and tap your foot out to the right while straightening the right leg. Keep your left leg stationary.
  4. Do 15 to 20 reps, then switch sides.

Move 7: Glute Kickback

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Reps 15
Body Part Butt
  1. Loop a mini resistance band just above your ankles and stand with your feet together.
  2. Soften your knees and bend forward slightly at your hips.
  3. While keeping your core tight, use your glutes to kick your left leg back. If you feel your lower back arching, reduce your range of motion until you only feel it in your glutes.
  4. Bring your foot back to the starting position.
  5. Do 15 to 20 reps, then switch sides.

Move 8: Band-Resisted Deadlift

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Reps 8
Body Part Butt
  1. Secure a resistance band around an anchor. Walk a few steps in front of the anchor so that there is tension in the band, and then loop the band around your hips.
  2. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart with your hands behind your ears. You'll need to lean forward slightly from your ankles to keep the band from pulling you backward.
  3. Bend forward at the hips, as you would for a deadlift, pushing your hips back behind you. Then, thrust your hips forward and squeeze your glutes to stand back up in the starting position.
  4. Do 8 to 12 reps.

This standing glute exercise hits both your glutes and hamstrings.

It also teaches you great hip-hinge form so, if you want, you can progress to the dumbbell deadlift down the line.

Use These Resistance Bands

  • Mini: ​Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Exercise Bands (Amazon.com, $11.95 for 5)
  • Long: ​Wsakoue Resistance Bands (Amazon.com, $39.99 for 4)

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