This week in the Best Butt Exercises series, you’ll be learning a glute exercise that will help you work your upper glutes. It’s not as ‘extreme’ as some of the more popular butt exercises, but these are a great one to include in your routine every now and again.

For this exercise you will need a resistance band. If you don’t have one at home already, I strongly recommend you get a set! They really are an excellent all-rounder for helping to keep fit.

Exercise: Seated Band Abductions
Muscles worked: Glutes, upper glutes
Jolie Recommends: 3 sets of 20 reps
Difficulty rating: 2
Effectiveness rating: 4

Best Butt Exercise #37: Seated Band Abductions

If the name of this exercise has you worried, don’t be alarmed.

‘Abduction’ (in physiology terminology) refers to the movement of a limb away from the centerline of the body. In this case, you’ll be moving your thighs out and away from the center of your body.

This motion is primarily controlled by the Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Minimus muscles of the butt, which form your upper glutes and also can make your butt look a lot nicer and rounder if you take the time to develop them.

Unfortunately, many people forget to train these muscles and they don’t get a lot of love in traditional butt exercises like squats and lunges (unless you do the side lunge variety), so it’s good to do an exercise like this every now and then in order to give those neglected upper glutes a little bit of love!

There are a few variations that you can do with this one by adjusting the height of your seated position and also changing up the lean of your torso. Play around with it until you feel a burn in the right spot, but all variations should hit the upper glute muscles in some shape or form.

If you’re having trouble feeling the correct muscles working, you can try placing your hands or thumbs over your upper glutes to see if you can feel the muscles working beneath your hands. This is called ‘palpating’ the muscle and can help to give your brain some positive feedback when it comes to muscle activation.

How to Do the Move

This video shows what a seated band abduction looks like at three different seated heights.

  1. Place a resistance band loop around your legs, positioning it just below the knees. Loop it around if required so that some tension is on the band in the starting position.
  2. Start in a seated position with knees bent and feet about shoulder width apart, arms crossed over your chest (or hands on your hips if you want to palpate the muscles).
  3. Your torso can be any one of three variations: leaning forward, upright, or leaning back. Maintain a neutral spine in whichever position you choose.
  4. Using the upper glutes, push your knees outwards against the band.
  5. Hold for a moment in the abducted position, before returning to the start position. This is one rep.
  6. Repeat the desired number of reps and sets.

Perfecting Your Form

  • Adjust or choose a resistance band so that it is always under tension, even in the starting position.
  • Maintain a neutral spine, head and neck position.
  • Aim for slow and controlled movements, to really work into the upper glutes. No jerky motions.
  • Your pelvic tilt will affect where you feel this exercise, so it’s important to keep that neutral position. Leaning into the exercise a little (torso leaning forward variation) can help.

Reppin’ It

You can try for around 5-8 reps at different heights as the video suggests, or if you prefer, go for 3 sets of 20 reps to get a better burn! This will also depend on the weight of the resistance band you are using – a heavier band will make this exercise more difficult, so you might do less reps.

To really get those upper glutes fatiged, be sure to perform this exercise slowly and with control, keeping tension on the band throughout the whole set. You’ll be sure to feel the burn!

Best Butt Exercises: Seated Band Abductions

2 thoughts on “Best Butt Exercises: Seated Band Abductions

  • March 29, 2016 at 2:17 am

    Of course, there’s also the abductor machine. The difference is that a band increases in resistance whereas the machine is constant. I like doing the machine leaning over after hip extensions or squats.

    • April 4, 2016 at 3:11 am

      Ah yes, I have seen these at the gym before, but not many of the gyms I’ve been to have them unfortunately! I do like to use the machine when available. By ‘leaning over’ do you mean leaning forward while seated on the machine?


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