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John Robert Cardillo
John travelled the world to learn the best training and nutrition principles and trained alongside top pro bodybuilders at Gold's Gym California. He was a student of Arthur Jones, inventor of Nautilus and Medx Fitness machines, and the pioneer of hi-intensity training. John developed the HIT3 Training System, which transformed his physique to win countless bodybuilding competitions at just 18 years of age! He was also the first bodybuilder to utilize Faradic Electric Muscle Stimulation in his training and intermittent fasting during his competition prep. John’s SHREDDED Nutrition Diet helped him build one of the most shredded physiques of all time. His diet program incorporates fasting and nutrient timing to help athletes build lean muscle while losing body fat.
Top 5 Best Glute Exercise Machines By John Robert Cardillo
More than any other body part, developing toned glutes has become an obsession for female gym-goers, and now every gym has one or more glute exercise machines. But glute machines have actually been around for decades. In this article, I’m going to review what I believe to be the top five glute machines available worldwide.
Glute Anatomy 101
Glutes are made up of three distinct muscles: the gluteus maximus, the gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus. The maximus is the main muscle; it provides shape and is active in just about every leg movement you do. The medius and minimus are part of the group that helps with these movements.
Maximus is the most significant muscle in the buttocks area and the one that can be most developed. It’s a strong muscle that works with other small muscles that stabilize the pelvis and work in hip rotation. It works in two critical aspects of movement abduction/lateral rotation and hip extension.
Located between the gluteus maximus and gluteus minimus, this muscle is the primary mover for hip abduction (that is, moving away from the midline of the body) as well as lateral and medial rotation. Providing overall stability for the pelvis is a key job this muscle performs, and it helps with the alignment of the hips when standing on one leg.
Working to abduct and stabilize the thigh, hips and pelvis when walking, running or standing is part of the job this muscle group performs. It also provides thigh rotation for internal movement through the anterior portion of the muscle. Its posterior portion of the muscle helps with external thigh rotation.
5 Best Glute Exercise Machines
#5. Power Runner by Power Body
The Power Runner is Canadian-made by Power Body, a gym manufacturer in Mississauga, Ontario. It was initially designed specifically for runners to mimic the start of a sprint race coming out of the blocks to create explosive power for speed training. However, the design of the machine is such that it mimics a perfect glute contraction as you extend your leg backwards to a full extension. The machine is comfortable to use and adjustable for any size of user. This machine primarily works the gluteus maximus and gluteus minimus.
1. Weight Stack: This unit doesn’t come with a weight stack and comes plate loaded for two-inch Olympic plates. It’s easy to load the movement arms because the weight storage holders are attached to the frame of the machine.
2. Physiological Movement: The Power Runner is built with independent movement arms and works best for glutes when each glute is worked individually. This allows you to perform each repetition with the maximum extension and contraction. The machine provides constant direct resistance on the glutes without the involvement of a weight stack, cams or cables. It’s a pure glute movement that directly contracts the major glute muscle.
3. Ease of Use: The Power Runner is fully adjustable, and anyone from five to seven feet tall can fit in this machine. It’s very comfortable because of the extra thick pads for your shoulders to rest against while you perform the exercise. It also comes with a flat pad for your forearms to rest in as you perform the movement.
#4. Dynavec Glutenator
The Glutenator is the newest glute isolation machine on the market. Its function is unique. This machine targets the gluteus medius, an area of the glutes that’s very hard to work. When performing this exercise, the hip joint and glute muscles are subjected to two points of resistance. Your thighs are pushing sideways, out and backwards simultaneously, which causes the gluteus medius to severely contract in a manner that’s not often possible or felt. The exercise is extremely effective and will cause you significant muscle soreness for several days after a workout! By forcing the glute muscles to work against two planes of motion, pushing against resistance causes an extreme contraction on the gluteus medius muscle unlike any other glute machine.
1. Weight Stack: The Glutenator doesn’t come with a weight stack. Instead it uses two-inch Olympic plates. Because of the unique movement, a weight stack would be detrimental to the perfect movement that the machine provides.
2. Physiological Movement: The unique movement isolates the gluteus medius from the side of the hip and thigh like no other piece of glute equipment. I can say that the burning sensation felt as the glute muscles fatigue is something that I had never experienced before. A terrific glute isolator!
3. Ease of Use: The Glutenator has been designed for ease of use and comfort. To start the exercise, you enter the machine with the leg movement attachments spread apart. The back rest is at a 70 degree angle, with the seat slightly angled upwards. Before starting the exercise, the seatbelt needs to be fastened in order to keep you firmly in the seat while you perform each repetition. The movement arm attachments are then moved together with an adjustment pin so that the starting position has your knees very close to each other. Now that you’re firmly in the machine, you’re able to push your knees out and down in order to achieve a great contraction.
#3. Butt Blaster
The Butt Blaster was the second direct glute isolation machine made. Its introduction brought awareness to targeting the glute muscles for development and better shape. This machine really targets the gluteus minimus and maximus muscles. The exercise movement is a bit awkward to perform at first; however, it’s very effective. The horizontal position of the upper body, stabilized by the chest pad and hand grips, ensures that that glutes receive full activation throughout the range of movement.
1. Weight Stack: The Butt Blaster comes with or without a weight stack. The weight stack unit has a 200-pound weight stack, which is more than sufficient because one leg works at a time doing the exercise. The version without a weight stack works identically to the weight stack unit; however, you must add Olympic plates for resistance.
2. Physiological Movement: The exercise is performed with the exerciser kneeling into the machine and grasping the hand grips directly in front. With the body (facing down) in a horizontal position, one leg at a time is used to perform the exercise. One foot is placed on the machine’s foot plate, allowing the exerciser to push it backwards following the track of the machine, which is on a 50 degree angle. As the leg straightens by extending back and upwards, the glute muscle fully contracts.
3. Ease of Use: At first, the Butt Blaster feels awkward to use because of the body position to start the movement. However, once the exerciser starts using this machine and adjusts the chest pad to a comfortable height, the exercise becomes easy to perform and the full benefit is felt in the glute muscles.
#2. 2ST Hip and Back Extension by Nautilus
This is the first glute machine ever made and was my favourite before Panatta Sport introduced its model. Originally Nautilus offered a larger unit that functioned similarly to the 2ST; however, because of its large frame and complexity, it wasn’t sought after by gym owners. Then Nautilus redesigned the unit to its current model. The 2ST is easy to use, and its movement arm provides full extension and contraction, targeting the gluteus maximus and minimus muscles. Unfortunately, because Nautilus has been sold multiple times since 2000, this unit is no longer being made. From time to time, some are found for sale on eBay at bargain prices.
1. Weight Stack: The Nautilus 2ST Hip and Back machine was made with a heavy weight stack of 370 pounds. The glute muscles are very strong and require adequate resistance to work against. For any body part to grow, it must get stronger. This machine provides the resistance required for growth.
2. Physiological Movement: The Nautilus Hip and Back machine isolates the glute muscles by both legs working together to perform the exercise. The movement mimics a leg press movement; however, because the movement arm pad is directly behind the knees (where you push to perform the exercise), instead of the quadriceps muscles coming into play, the glutes are activated to push the movement arm and perform the exercise. The machine’s rotational movement arm of over 120 degrees fully extends and contracts the glute muscles to their maximal potential.
3. Ease of Use: To use the Nautilus Hip and Back machine properly, it’s important that the exerciser straps on the belt across the waist and hip area very snugly to keep the body horizontal (lying on the machine’s back pad) throughout the movement. The movement arm must then be brought back as far as possible (with the thighs touching the chest) so that the glutes are at full extension. The exerciser then exerts force with both legs to push on the movement arm to straighten both legs out, which contracts both glutes simultaneously. When the exercise is completed, the exerciser squeezes a hand grip to release the movement arm to easily exit the machine.
#1. Hip Thrust by Panatta Sport
This is my number one choice. The Italian fitness equipment company Panatta Sport has built the perfect hip thrust machine. It targets the main gluteus maximus muscle. This machine mimics the barbell hip thrust movement—but better! This unit allows you to perform the hip thrust with a full range of motion, providing an incredible contraction to the glute muscles.
1. Weight Stack: The machine comes as a plate-loaded unit or with a weight stack; however, the movement is the same on both.
2. Physiological Movement: The padded roller easily adjusts across your pelvic area without the pain and discomfort of using a barbell. The movement arm follows the direction of your hips as you thrust upwards. Even though it looks like the hips rise directly vertically, in actual fact, as you thrust up, the hips are moving approximately 10 degrees backwards. The padded roller movement arm is fully adjustable for a full range of motion.
3. Ease of Use: The thrust movement is further helped by the fact that the Panatta Sport machine has a swiveling back pad that moves with your body as you thrust upwards. This allows you to focus on the glute muscles as you perform the exercise, instead of trying to adjust your back position, which is typical of thrust machines that don’t have a swiveling back pad. The large foot platform is 20 inches long and 30 inches wide, enabling the user to place the feet comfortably, regardless of height or weight. It’s slightly angled towards the user (approximately 20 degrees), which allows the feet to remain firmly in place without sliding during the exercise movement. The platform also adjusts vertically in order to allow for greater range of motion.
To develop and sculpt your glute muscles, using the most effective exercise machines is key. With the right program and equipment, anyone can dramatically improve their backside. Both men and women should work their glutes one day per week using high-intensity methods, as I advocate in my HIT3 training program. For more information on glute development, see “The GLHAM Program” article in my previous Muscle Insider column.