Gluteus Maximus Exercise: The Standing Bird Dog

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Gluteus Maximus Exercise: The Standing Bird Dog

For lack of a better name, I have been referring to the exercise in the video above as a Standing Bird Dog. It turns out there is another exercise that people call Standing Bird Dog which is similar… but different.

And I will likely start teaching the other version as well because you can’t have too many exercises to choose from.

My version of the Standing Bird Dog is predominantly a gluteus maximus strengthening exercise with a host of other things going on.  

The gluteus maximus gets activated when standing back up from the half squat and that is a powerful action.

It is also essential that the right knee (or the knee of the standing leg) stays in line with the right ankle.

But the other leg has a great deal of work to do as well.

Let’s say I am starting the Standing Bird Dog with the leg foot lifted up halfway behind me.

The foot, ankle, and knee should still be in a straight line. Meaning the lifted left foot should not be aligned behind the right knee.

That is likely to happen when the other gluteal muscles— medius & minimus— lack the tone to provide stability and alignment.

This exercise was a game-changer for me as I trained the lifted foot to stay aligned. The glute max work is also great and essential, but the major benefit I got was developing the muscles of, and correctly aligning, the lifted leg.

When you go into the half squat it isn’t important to go all the way down and touch the ankle as I do in the video. You can start by touching a tall block and standing up and you will start to get gluteus maximus working for you in a good way.

Standing Bird Dog

  • Stand with your feet a few inches apart and parallel. 
  • Bend the left leg behind you bringing the left shin parallel to the floor and keeping the left ankle aligned with the knee. 
  • Slowly lower your hips and body towards the floor in a one leg squat, reaching for the right ankle with the left hand. 
  • Keep your back straight, and your standing knee pointed in the same direction as your foot. 
  • Descend as far as you can. 
  • Pause. 
  • Slowly push up from your inner foot, extending your leg. 
  • Straighten your leg. 
  • Repeat on the other leg. 
  • Try to build up to a set of 5.