The buttocks comprise a group of five muscles, collectively known as the glutes. The largest of the glute muscles is the gluteus maximus upper head. This muscle primarily acts as an extensor of the hips. There are other muscles that assist the upper head of the gluteus maximus during hip extension, such as the biceps femoris long head, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus of the hamstrings. You can minimize the involvement of these muscles, and thus emphasize the gluteus maximus upper head, by keeping a bent-knee position while performing hip extension exercises.
Standing Machine Hip Extension
Stand on the machine platform.
Position the back of your right thigh over the machine roll pad and bend your knee to 90 degrees.
Keep your torso upright and your left leg extended. Grasp the machine bar for support.
Extend your right hip by bringing your right leg in the posterior direction. To minimize the actions of the hamstrings, keep your knee in a bent position.
Flex your right hip by bringing your right leg in the forward direction. After you do the target number of reps with your right leg, repeat the exercise with your left leg.
Bent-Over Machine Hip Extension
Stand on the machine platform and place your right heel under the machine roll pad with your right knee bent 90 degrees.
Lean forward at the waist until your torso is at 90 degrees to the floor and place your stomach and elbows on the machine pads.
Hold the machine handles for support.
Extend your right hip by moving your right leg in the posterior and upward direction. Maintain a bent-knee position to minimize the involvement of the hamstrings.
Flex your right hip by moving your right leg in the forward and downward direction. Repeat the movement with your left leg once you complete the desired number of reps with your right leg.
- For each exercise, perform a total of three sets, and do 10 to 12 repetitions to near failure during each set.
- Make sure you train the opposing muscles to the hip extensors, which are the hip flexors, to avoid a muscular imbalance from developing. You can train the hip flexors, which include the iliopsoas, tensor fasciae latae, sartorius, rectus femoris and pectineus by doing movements such as the lying leg raise and the hanging leg raise.
Richard Choueiri is a fitness and nutrition expert and the author of "The Human Statue Workout." He began writing professionally in 2007 and his work has been featured in Bodybuilding.com and "Physique Magazine." Choueiri studied exercise science and nutritional science at Rutgers University. He holds an American College of Sports Medicine CPT, and a National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association CMMACC.