What is the Anatomy of the Gluteal Muscles?

27 December, 2019
There are three gluteal muscles, the largest of which is the gluteus maximus. Here are some specific exercises to work each muscle.

Did you know that the gluteal muscles are composed of three different muscles? Here we’ll explain which ones they are and suggest exercises to strengthen them.

The glutes represent an area of the body that people exercise the most. So, their hope is to improve their appearance. Firm and voluminous glutes are the goal of many fitness fans and other athletics. Read on to find out more about this area of the body. We’re going to analyze the anatomy of the gluteal muscles.

Many people are unaware of the important role of this group of muscles in the body. In fact, it’s fundamental to work these muscles, not only for aesthetic reasons but also to improve your physical condition.

After going over the structure of this group of muscles, we’ve suggested some different exercises that you’ll be able to do. And these will work this part of the body so that you can reach your desired look. All are very easy and you can do them in your own home. So there’s no excuse for not doing them!

The anatomy of the gluteal muscles

The first thing that stands out about the anatomy of the muscles is that they’re made up of three very different parts. Continuing, we’ll explain the characteristics of each part very simply:

  • Gluteus maximus: is the central part and takes up almost all of the buttocks. This is the muscle that we concentrate on. Despite the importance of genes, it’s possible to increase this muscle. However, this is only possible if you’re performing specific exercises for this area. In regard to their overall role, this muscle is involved in many movements, including running, stretching the legs, jumping and kneeling.
  • Gluteus medius: this muscle is at the side of the body. It’s adjacent to the gluteus maximus and it’s in the hip area. It’s small in comparison to the gluteus maximus and it’s elongated. It works when we stretch our legs, flex our torso or make movements that rotate the body.
  • Gluteus minimus: as its name indicates, it’s the smallest of all of the gluteal muscles. It’s between the hip bone and the femur, so it’s quite hidden. Just like the gluteus medius, it participates in rotation movements.
Ilustration showing the various gluteal muscles as described above in the text
image: hsnstore.com

Exercises for the gluteal muscles

Now that you know the three parts of the gluteal muscles, you’re surely thinking that it’s worth exercising them? This isn’t just for aesthetic reasons, we’ll also suggest various exercises to develop a firm and strong musculature.


We can’t talk about exercises that work the gluteal muscles without mentioning squats. There are few exercises that are so complete and so simple. Still, there are errors that you should avoid.

Besides, one of the advantages is that you don’t need any kind of special equipment to do them. Step by step you can do these exercises in the following way:

  • Spread your legs as wide as the width of your shoulders. Your feet shouldn’t move from this position throughout the exercise.
  • Keep your back straight and look straight ahead. You can do this exercise in front of a mirror to see if you need to change the position.
  • Tighten your stomach and chest. Then, having contracted them, your muscles will cause you to put more effort into it. In this way, you’ll be exercising other parts of your body in addition to your glutes.
A woman doing squats to illustrate the explanation in the text

  • Right before you start to descend, flex the pelvis slightly toward your back. The buttocks should push slightly out.
  • Squat down until your legs form a 90-degree angle. Later, you should stay in this position for a couple of seconds.
  • Carefully and slowly, return to your original position and begin again.


To do the bridge you just need a good quality mat that pads the movement. Otherwise, it’s a very simple exercise that you can do at home:

  • Lie down on your back on the mat.
  • Bend your knees and open your legs the same width as your hips.
  • Push with your feet and elevate your body, leaving only your feet, shoulders and head to support you. 
A woman showing the bridge exercise as described in the text

  • Hold the position so that your torso and your thighs form a straight line. Then contract the gluteal muscles so that you engage more effort.
  • Return to the floor, rest a few seconds and repeat the cycle.





  • Jiménez, J. (2006). Lesiones musculares en el deporte. Muscular injuries in sport. Revista Internacional De Ciencias Del Deporte. https://doi.org/10.5232/ricyde2006.003.04
  • Atilio Aldo Almagiá Flores; Pablo José Lizana Arce. Principios de anatomía. Aparato locomotor. Descripción muscular miembro inferior. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso. http://www.anatomiahumana.ucv.cl/kine1/Modulos2012/Descripcion%20Musculos%20Apendiculares%20Miembro%20Inferior%202012.pdf