The gluteus maximus is one of the most powerful and important muscles in the human body. The gluteus maximus along with the gluteus medias together, commonly known as the glutes, form the musculature of the buttocks and are responsible for pulling the femur in line with the spine, which in turn is responsible for erecting the body. The best gluteus maximus workouts include weightlifting exercises, such as the squat, lunges, and deadlift, as well as kickbacks and leg lifts. In addition, running, cycling, and many other sporting activities involving the legs are great gluteus maximus workouts.
Gluteus maximus workouts should target both slow and fast twitch muscle fibers, both of which make up the glutes. Slow twitch muscle fibers are involved in sustained aerobic exercises and can be targeted by walking, running, or cycling, among other things. In order to properly engage the slow twitch fibers of the glutes, an endurance-based, aerobic activity should be sustained for at least 30 minutes.
In order to target fast twitch muscle fibers with gluteus maximus workouts, short duration anaerobic exercises should be employed. The most common, and arguably the best, method of anaerobic training is weightlifting. The best weightlifting exercises for the glutes are ones that involve standing from a squatted position, such as the squat and deadlift. Both of these exercises allow a comparatively heavy weight to be used, allowing for maximum muscle stress.
Lunges, done with or without weights, is another great exercise that works the glutes. Lunges are accomplished by standing erect and "lunging" forward with one leg and then bringing it back to a standing position. To get more out of a lunge, weights can be attached to the ankles or dumbbells may be held while executing the exercise.
A key component of all gluteus maximus workouts are isolation exercises. These exercises are used to specifically target and isolate the glutes from other muscle groups. The three most common isolation exercises are the glute kickback, glute bridge, and leg lift. All of these exercises can be performed without any equipment, using only a flat surface and your body weight. The simplicity of these exercises makes them ideal for travel or home exercise.
The gluteus maximus is responsible for standing from a squatted position, making it essential to the human musculature. Through the use of specific gluteus maximus workouts, this muscle can be shaped and strengthened to whatever degree desired. As with any training routine, be sure to perform all exercises correctly by using a spotter when needed as well as using proper form to avoid injury.