Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2020) 19, 195 - 203

Review article
Gluteus Maximus Activation during Common Strength and Hypertrophy Exercises: A Systematic Review
Walter Krause Neto1, , Enrico Gori Soares2, Thais Lima Vieira3, Rodolfo Aguiar1, Thiago Andrade Chola1, Vinicius de Lima Sampaio1, Eliane Florencio Gama1
Author Information
1 Department of Physical Education, Laboratory of Morphoquantitative Studies and Immunohistochemistry, São Judas Tadeu University, São Paulo-SP, Brazil
2 Human Performance Research Group - College of Health Science, Methodist University of Piracicaba (UNIMEP), Piracicaba - São Paulo, Brazil
3 1st Military Fire Brigade Group of the Federal District, Brasilia-DF, Brazil

Walter Krause Neto
✉ Department of Physical Education, Laboratory of Morphoquantitative Studies and Immunohistochemistry, São Judas Tadeu University, São Paulo-SP, Brazil
Publish Date
Received: 22-08-2019
Accepted: 11-11-2019
Published (online): 24-02-2020
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The gluteus maximus (GMax) is one of the primary hip extensors. Several exercises have been performed by strength and conditioning practitioners aiming to increase GMax strength and size. This systematic review aimed to describe the GMax activation levels during strength exercises that incorporate hip extension and use of external load. A search of the current literature was performed using PubMed/Medline, SportDiscuss, Scopus, Google Scholar, and Science Direct electronic databases. Sixteen articles met the inclusion criteria and reported muscle activation levels as a percentage of a maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC). The exercises classified as very high level of GMax activation (>60% MVIC) were step-up, lateral step-up, diagonal step-up, cross over step-up, hex bar deadlift, rotational barbell hip thrust, traditional barbell hip thrust, American barbell hip thrust, belt squat, split squat, in-line lunge, traditional lunge, pull barbell hip thrust, modified single-leg squat, conventional deadlift, and band hip thrust. We concluded that several exercises could induce very high levels of GMax activation. The step-up exercise and its variations present the highest levels of GMax activation followed by several loaded exercises and its variations, such as deadlifts, hip thrusts, lunges, and squats. The results of this systematic review may assist practitioners in selecting exercised for strengthening GMax.

Key words: Skeletal muscle, gluteus maximus, electromyography, strength training

           Key Points
  • The step-up and its variations may elicit the highest level of Gmax activation possibly to the stabilization requirement of the exercise.
  • Several bilateral exercises (e.g. hip thrusts, squats, deadlifts, and lunges) can provide very high level of GMax activation.
  • The external load, movement velocity, level of fatigue, the mechanical complexity of the exercise, and the need for joint stabilization, might directly influence GMax activation.
  • Further research may investigate the best practices for normalizing GMax activation.
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