The fire hydrant exercise is one of the best ways to work out your glutes while strengthening your lower back muscles, and improving your hip rotation.
This simple exercise relies on body weight along, which means that you don't need any fancy equipment and can perform the exercise anywhere you have enough space. Once you have the technique perfected, you can add in a resistance band to increase the difficulty too!
In this article, we explain how to do the fire hydrant exercise and explore the different variants you can include in a glute-focused workout.
How to do fire hydrant exercises
Fire hydrants are performed on all fours, using your body weight to create resistance. They are also known as quadruped hip abductions.
This exercise targets your glutes as you raise one leg at a 45-degree angle to your body while keeping your elbows locked. The exercise also targets your lower back muscles while helping to increase the external rotation of your hips.
Here's how to the fire hydrant:
- Position yourself so you are on the floor, on all fours.
- Keep your elbows locked and your hands directly beneath your shoulders. Keep your hips directly above your knees.
- Hold your core tight while keeping your back straight, and slowly lift your left knee away from your body until it's at a 45-degree angle.
- Slowly lower your left knee back to its start position.
- Lift your left knee again and repeat for at least ten reps.
- Now, switch to your right leg and repeat the exercise.
- Repeat the exercise on both legs for three sets.
You can include fire hydrants in your existing full-body workout, or you can create new routines based around the fire hydrant exercise and its variants, to focus specifically on your glutes, and the other areas of your body targeted by the exercise.
We always recommend stretching and light cardio to warm up your body before attempting a full workout. Try to perform 10-15 reps on each leg before switching. Repeat this for at least three sets.
Fire hydrant exercise benefits
Now you know the answer to the question, what are fire hydrants exercise, let's take a more detailed look at what the exercise will actually target and the benefits you can see once you regularly start using the exercise in your workouts.
The main muscle targeted is the Gluteus Maximus, so this is a great exercise to help tone and define this powerful muscle. The lower back muscles benefit too, as do your hip muscles.
Here are the most important benefits you will see from the fire hydrant exercise:
- Strengthen and tone your Gluteus Maximus (that's your behind!).
- Improve your hip rotation and hip muscles.
- Strengthen your lower back and improve your posture.
- Increase mobility and the health of your hip joints.
- Avoid back and hip injuries.
Fire hydrant exercise variations
As well as the standard fire hydrant exercise outlined above, there are several variations that you can also include in your workout schedule.
These variations will help you to target the same muscles while offering a different type of resistance.
How to do a fire hydrant with resistance bands
You can greatly improve the resistance of the fire hydrant exercise using a resistance band. Keep the technique and form the same, but place a resistance band around both ankles. You can greatly increase the difficulty by using a different resistance band with higher resistance.
How to do fire hydrants with a resistance band:
- Place a resistance band loosely around both ankles.
- Position your body on all fours on the ground.
- Using the standard fire hydrant technique, raise one knee at a time to bring your leg to a 45-degree angle against your body.
- Repeat the exercise on each leg.
Standing fire hydrants
Standing fire hydrants will help you to work on your glutes, while also forcing you to focus on both your balance and your posture.
Use a resistance band to make this exercise more difficult and to help you tone your glutes more effectively.
How to do standing fire hydrants:
- Stand with your feet loosely apart, and your hands held out in front of you for balance.
- Keep your back arched, but firm, at a 45-degree angle.
- Bend your left leg, so it's at a 90-degree angle.
- Raise your left knee away from your body, so it's at a 45-degree angle.
- Lower your left knee, then repeat for at least ten reps.
- Switch to your right leg and then repeat the exercise.
Fire hydrant kicks
The fire hydrant kick allows you to increase the difficulty of the regular fire hydrant exercise, by adding in a kick once you've raised your knee to 45 degrees. It helps to strengthen your core and build your glutes.
How to perform a fire hydrant kick:
- Position yourself on all fours and perform the fire hydrant exercise.
- When your knee is at 45 degrees to your body, kick out with your knee to extend your lower leg.
- Bring your leg back and your knee down, then repeat.
The last word on fire hydrant exercises
Fire hydrant exercises are a great way to work on your glutes, strengthen your lower back muscles, and improve your hip rotation.
As a bodyweight exercise, you can practice fire hydrant exercises anywhere you have a little space, such as your front room or garden. You don't need any specialized equipment, although adding a resistance band to the workout will help to tone your muscles and burn fat
Add a fire hydrant exercise to your regular workout, or build a glute-focused workout that makes use of the many variations, to seriously start to define your muscles!