24 leg exercises compared: the step-up is best for the glutes
The more hours you spend sitting daily, the more difficult it is to develop your glutes, even if you are doing strength training. For this reason, many bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts with a sedentary lifestyle will be interested in the research that Brazilian scientist Walter Krause Neto recently published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine.
In the scientific literature, Neto tracked 12 previously published studies in which researchers had subjects train their legs with exercises such as squats, dead-lifts, hip-thrusts and lunges. Using EMG technology, the researchers determined to what extent those exercises activated the gluteus maximus. The gluteus maximus is the largest and most important gluteal muscle.
Neto obtained information on a total of 24 exercises. [Table]
Below you can see which exercises scored well. They are arranged according to the degree to which they stimulated the gluteus maximus. The hip-thrusts scored well, but the step-ups scored even better.
Click on the figure below for a larger version.
"This systematic review demonstrated that the step-up exercise and its variations present the highest levels of muscle excitation of gluteus maximus followed by several bilateral exercises and its variations, such as deadlifts, hip thrusts, and squats", writes Neto.
"Gluteus maximus activity may vary significantly according to changes in technique during the exercise."
J Sports Sci Med. 2020 Feb 24;19(1):195-203.
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