Peloton Glutes Workout (Muscle activation, rides, and classes)


Peloton has over 22,000 classes to choose from but only few are focused on your glutes. In this article I will explain everything there is to know if peloton can help you to grow your glutes.

In general, the peloton does work your glutes because the bike classes require hip extension while being out of the saddle. Peloton rides, tread, strength, and Bootcamp classes all work your glutes, but to optimize your results you also need to spend time on glute activation.

In addition to the information on how you can activate your glutes on the peloton, please take a look at the workouts recommendation. I point out which ones you should focus on if your goal is to work on your booty.

Peloton Glute Activation

Glute activation exercises are much different from strength training. A lot of people struggle with glute activation during their peloton workouts which can lead to poor performance, hip instability, and muscle compensation. This is extremely important for knee health too.

When you’re in the peloton saddle your legs are moving in a single plane which makes the body to rely predominately on quads and hamstrings. Plus, if you spend most of your day in the seated position behind the desk or behind the car, this cal lead to glute “inactivity”.

What is glute inactivity?

Glute inactivity refers to pattern adaptation of the gluteal muscle. Being stuck in an insufficient position (e.g. sitting) for an extended time reinforces a habit of putting glutes in an inactive position where they cannot contract. Over time this leads to muscle weakness and hip instability.

The main job of the glutes is the hip extension and hip stability. When you walk up the stairs, when you hinge to pick up heavy object from the floor, or when you sprint as fast as you can. Those are the positions where you get most of the power from your glutes.

Sitting is the perfect example where our glutes are “switched off” because of the way they are positioned. They are inactive, cannot contract and the body have to rely of supporting muscles to do their job for them (hamstring and quads).

I will show you a simple peloton glute activation routine you can do before your rides or classes to help you fire up glutes properly and make sure you’re using them correctly.

What is glute activation?

Glute activation is engaging or “firing up” gluteal muscles before physical activity. In glute activation, you’re not using the full resistance or peak contraction of the muscle. Your goal is to strengthen the connection between your brain and the muscle with gentle contraction.

Is basically doing certain light exercises to the point where you can feel your muscle is working, but not to the point of exhaustion. This will allow you to do peloton rides and feel your glutes working.

How to Activate Glutes

  • Pick up a low-intensity exercise (glute bridges, single-leg glute bridges, banded sidewalks, frog pumps).
  • Perform the exercise with almost no resistance but a relatively high volume (multiple repetitions).
  • Instead of focusing on doing fast and rapid moves, slow down.
  • You don’t need to count repetitions but you want to continue to do the exercise until you feel the light burn in the muscle.
  • As you continue doing reps, focus on squeezing the butt throughout the exercise. This will allow you to develop body-mind connections and establish neurological pathways.
  • The neurological pathway is basically creating new pattern adaptation where you building a new habit of keeping the glutes active.
  • The more often you do it, the body will get to the point it will fire up glutes permanently.

Here you can see an example of the monster glute walk. The goal here is not to create a huge muscle contraction, but to continue squeezing the butt while doing the movement until you can feel the muscle working.

For better and faster results, you can use large bands like on the video, or simple mini bands. This helps to activate gluteal muscles from all different angles and prep for the peloton workout.

Can I activate glutes on the peloton bike? In general, you cannot activate your glutes once you’re on the bike. You need to activate them when you’re off the bike. This helps to fire up and establish neuronal pathways so when you’re back on the bike, you get better results.

Learn more: Check out my article “best peloton classes for beginners” to learn more about the best peloton classes to get you started

Why glute activation is important on the peloton?

Glute activation is important because it helps to use the muscle more efficiently during the exercise, correct dysfunctional moves, improve hip stability and reduce muscle compensation. It also helps to build more functional and better-looking glutes.

Glutes are the powerhouse of the body. Not only do they look saucy but also they help with stability and general movement. There are several reasons why you want to spend some time for glute activation before your peloton workout:

#1: Helps to stabilize the hip

Glutes are doing a pretty good job in the stabilization of the hip, which then carries on into the stabilization of the knee and the ankle. This has also a massive effect on the lower back and the degree of how much your lower back muscles get involved.

When the glutes are not fired up properly, they destabilize the hip and the knee. This creates more pressure on the quads and hamstring because they have to work extra not only to develop a force during the cadence but also to stabilize the joints.

#2: Helps to extend the hip

Hip extension happens when you’re standing up from the saddle. When the glutes are inactive, the lower back takes an enormous amount of pressure each time you trying to straighten yourself up. If you do classes every day, over time this can lead to lower back pain.

Glutes also take the pressure off when you’re leaning on the bike in the standing position. If you do a lot of HIIT, Climb, or Hill classes, without glute activation your lower back takes in a lot of stress.

#3: Helps to create more power

Active glutes make the ride easier because they develop a lot of force. If you don’t have your glutes engaged during the ride, you can miss out on a lot of potential power from your hip. More

What happens when you activate your glutes?

When you activate your glutes you can get on the bike and start putting in the work. Once your glutes are active you need to stay focused on consciously “using them” while in the class. This will require a lot of focus and mindfulness.

When your glutes are shut down, it’s easy to rely on other muscle groups. But once you activate your glutes, you want to build this habit of using your glutes instead of relying on hamstring, quads, and lower back. This will take time to get used to it.

Simple way to do it is to use your proprioception. Proprioception is the ability to know where the body is in the space. For example, you may not see your ears right now, but if I would ask you to touch you left ear with your right hand, you should to it without any problem.

The same goes for glutes activity. Over time you will be able to engage them the moment you think about it.

Peloton For Glutes

Building strong glutes is not only important from the visual perspective, but also from the functional. Fortunately, you can develop a bikini body booty with a range of classes available in the peloton app.

Peloton offers several workouts that can build strong glutes. Most of the strength classes, cardio HIIT, running, and peloton ride all call for glute activity, and if your goal is to build a strong-looking backside, here are some of the best options to choose from.

Does peloton make you glutes bigger? In general, a peloton does make your glutes bigger, as long as you spend time before your workouts to activate the muscle. Several peloton workouts are glute-oriented and can help you increase your strength as well as achieve optimal hypertrophy.

Learn more: Click here to learn more about peloton rides that burn the most calories

Best Peloton Rides For Glutes

Peloton offers over 9000 cycling classes, but the majority of them are in the saddle. This is great for cardio, weight loss, and muscle endurance, but not for your glutes. Being in the saddle inhibits glute activation and puts more pressure on quads and hamstrings.

Glutes are the most activated when you out of the saddle. Thats where you recruit the most power from your hips, so if your goal is to build strong glutes, here are the 5 classes I recommend you try.

#1: Climb Ride

Climb ride is a series of classes that require constant moving in and out of the saddle. That is like dream come true for your glutes because they are constantly firing up. There aren’t many classes that work just in the standing position, but the Climb Ride is close enough.

You want to spend as much time standing as possible. This will challenge your glutes by constantly extending your hip. My best pick is a 45-minute Climb Ride class with Erik Jager (German-speaking). I don’t understand the german language, but his class is all about standing.

#2: HIIT and Hills

HIIT and Hills are similar to climb classes because it requires you standing out of the saddle for a good period of time. However, it also has that extra mile component of interval training. Interval training helps you to not only focus on the glutes but also get your heart rate elevated.

My best recommendation is a 45-minute HIIT and Hills Ride with Ben Alldis. He does lots of moving around and I like his spring intervals out of the saddle.

#3: Bike Full Body Bootcamp

This class helps you go one nothch further because it adds more weight to the workout. Peloton has over 90 bike bootcamp classes that combine ride together with weight training. One of my favourite for glutes is full body bike bootcamp.

This class gets you on the bike for 5-7 minutes, and off the bike for 12 minutes doing full-body exercises. My best pick is 60 minutes advanced full body Bootcamp with Jess Sims.

Best Peloton Classes For Glutes

Next, I wanna show you the best peloton classes for glutes off the bike. There are over 10,000 non-bike classes on the peloton, but only a few are glute-oriented. Here are my best picks.

#1: Glutes and Legs Strength

Peloton glutes and legs strength is a huge selection of lower body exercises, predominately focused on your glutes. Those workouts can be done either by themselves or in combination with peloton rides.

From over 200 lower body workouts, I personally recommend the 30-minute Glutes and Strength class by Chase Tucker. There are several lunges, side lunges, squats, and deadlifts. Adding heavier weights makes a huge difference.

#2: HIIT Run

If you like running then peloton HIIT Run is a pure gold mine for glute activity. In general, running at a slow pace engages predominately your gastrocnemius-soleus complex and quads. However, sprinting is different.

Running at a faster pace gives you the most glutes activity because of the greater hip flexion. To run faster, you change your biomechanics. You need to swing your leg further and lift your knee higher to maintain a fast pace. This change engages your glutes most efficiently.

My best recommendation for the class is to try a 20-minute advanced HIIT Run with Becs Gentry. She keeps the pace high, pushes you to go all out, and gives you enough time during the recovery walk to catch your breath.

#3: Interval Run

Peloton Interval Run is another variance of interval training, but instead going hard for 60 seconds with 60 seconds walk, you basically run fast for 60 seconds, followed by jogging for 60 seconds. The number of rounds will depend from your fitness level.

If you like running, then you can really develop strong-looking glutes simply by shifting more towards the intervals instead of a steady pace race.

My best recommendations is to go for 20-minute advance Interval Run with Becs Gentry.

Are peloton HIIT and Hills good for glutes? HIIT and Hills are good for glutes, but they also implement elevation in the workout. Elevation can get you out of steam quicker. Again, it is good for calories, but not for your glutes. It is better to level your grade and work on speed.

#4: Uphill Walking

To get strong booty, you can use elevation but without high intensity. Several studies have shown better gluteal muscle activity using electromyographic (EMG) during uphill walking, comparing to flat-level walking (Franz, 2012).

Thankfully, you don’t need to get a peloton tread to be able to walk uphill. If you live in a place with hills and mountains, go outside and walk uphill. If you don’t, find a place with a steep staircase and walk up and down.

This will activate your glutes and can be done on your days off, as a part of your active recovery program.

Learn more: Click here to learn more about best peloton classes for weight loss

Conclusion

If your goal is to develop strong-looking glutes, your number one goal is to spend some time prior to your class on the glute activation. After that go ahead and choose the class that is specifically designed to work on your hip extension and target the glutes.

This establishes neuronal pathways on the brain that when reinforced over and over again helps to keep the glutes engaged.

Michal Sieroslawski

Michal is an exercise physiologist (MSc), nutrition coach, Ashtanga teacher, and fitness blogger. He shares his successes and failures to help busy men and women squash down 20, 50, or even 100 pounds of fat without leaving their home.

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