A big problem with a lot of deadlifters I work with is their lockout. There can be a few different reasons for this, but the most common reason I run into is weak glutes. The major function of the glutes is hip extension, and hip extension is what we want at the top of a deadlift. So, if you want to fix your deadlift lockout (or you just want to fill out the Wranglers and drive the cowgirls crazy) read on for some serious glute strengthening exercises.

Structure and Function

The glutes are made up of three different muscles; the gluteus maximus, the gluteus medius, and the gluteus minimus. Collectively they make up the buttocks. The main function of the glutes is extension of the hip, they also assist in external rotation and abduction of the femur and knee stabilization.

The Exercises

1. Glute Ham Raise

The glute hamstring raise is one that most people hate, it looks like it should be a piece of cake but it is a hard exercise. It is one of the most important accessory movements you can do for your hamstring and glute development. Jump on the GHR apparatus and adjust the footplate so that your knees are on or just behind the knee/hip pad. Keep your knees, hips, shoulders, and neck in a straight line and lower yourself until you are about parallel to the floor. Reverse the motion by contracting the hamstrings and glutes, while maintaining the straight line position. Start with 3 sets of 6-10 reps and as you get stronger start to add weight.


2. Barbell Hip Thrusts

Sit on the floor with your back (around scapula level) resting on a bench. Put a barbell across your lap at the crease of your hip. Start with your butt on the floor and push your heels into the ground, extending your hips upward throughout their full range of motion. Return your butt to the ground and repeat. Make sure you fully extend your hips on each rep and squeeze your glutes hard at the top. Start off with 4-5 sets of 8-12 reps.

3. Back Extension Deadlifts

This exercise is done on the back extension piece of equipment. You can use either the 45 degree angle or flat variation. I prefer the 45 degree variation. Set up a barbell in front of the back extension apparatus. Get in the back extension and grip the barbell, now squeeze your glutes as you lift the bar off the ground to full extension. You are basically doing a deadlift while on the back extension… easy enough. This exercise is a great hamstring and glute builder and helps with your deadlift lockout. Do 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps.