What is the glute machine?
The glute machine is an isolation exercise for the lower body. The user stands still and rests forward on the machine, lifting their weight by moving their leg backward using their glute muscles.
What muscles does the glute machine work?
The glute machine works the glute muscles and to a lesser degree the hamstrings. These are the muscles around your buttocks: the gluteal maximus, gluteal medius and gluteal minimus.
The glutes are important muscles in the body, providing support to the upper body and assisting in mobility by helping move your hips.
The glutes are powerful muscles, which are worked by any walking or running movement, as well as squats. The glutes are involved in all compound lifts for the lower body.
The glute muscles are also used as stabilising muscles for movements using the upper body.
How to use the glute machine
To use the glute machine (sometimes called the glute kickback machine), you first need to choose the appropriate weight for this strong muscle. Adjust the height of the leg pad so that it rests just behind your knee.
Stand at the machine with your leg in front of the pad. At this starting position, your knee should be lifted forward with the pad positioned comfortably under it.
Hold the bar in front of you for balance and keep looking forward. Sometimes there are arm pads to rest your forearms on. There will also be a front pad for resting your stomach/hip area on. You should lean forward onto this and keep your back straight.
To begin, push your knee down and bring your leg back up behind you slowly to lift the weight. Keep looking forward throughout the motion with your non-working leg held stable.
Hold the lift at the top of the movement for a few seconds, then slowly lower the weight by bringing your leg forward and knee up at the end of the movement.
Sometimes the glute machine or glute kickback machine can also be used in more of a standing posture with the foot pushing straight back to lift the weight, rather than the leg pushing upwards and backwards.
Cable kickbacks for glutes
You do not have to use a glute machine to lift weights using your glutes. A cable machine can also be used effectively to target the glutes.
Simply attached your ankle to the cable and steady yourself by holding the bar in front of you. Slowly move your leg back using your glute muscles to lift the weight.
At the top of the movement you will feel a tension in the glutes, hold for a few seconds, then slowly release the weight by moving your leg forward, bringing it back down to touch the stack.
As with all lifting movements, try to perform the cable kickback for glutes in a slow and controlled movement. The controlled release is just as important as the lift for working the muscle.
The glute machine is ideal for finishing off a legs workout if you want to target the whole buttock area.
An alternative for when you are not at the gym is to perform the glute kickback as a bodyweight exercise. This is a simple exercise that can be performed lying down or standing up with limited space.