Do you know what exercise yields the most glute activation? Ask anyone who is on tiktok or Instagram these days and they will probably say Barbell Hip Thrusts or a mini band exercise. (Hint: it’s definitely not mini band exercises.)
Prior to a bit of research, I would have guessed a low bar sumo squat or a sumo RDL.
Ps Hip Thrusts, squats, and deadlifts rank super high on glute activation and need to be in everyone‘s routine, however, one exercise ranked higher than all of the them.
According to Neto and associates, the Step-up (and it’s variations) achieves more glute activation than any other exercise! Check out the chart below:
If glute strength and size is your goal using a variety of the top exercises best. I still think squats and deadlifts come first because of their overall effectiveness but step-ups should definitely be programmed as they are also great for defeating any muscular imbalances between legs.
A few tips:
1: Go heavy on your step-ups
*form comes first
2: Drive off the leg on the box
3: I think barbell back rack is the most effective but also the most dangerous, so use caution.
Check out my Tutorial on step-up below as well as my daily workout subscription with both gym and home/ travel options! *link to glute exercise study
*ps my memory on giving credit to peer reviewed studies is super rusty.