Does Walking on an Incline Build Glutes?

Does Walking on an Incline Build Glutes

One of the most coveted muscle groups in the fitness industry is the gluteus maximus. Having strong and toned glutes is important for more than just your appearance; it's good for your health. Incline walking is a great way to strengthen your glutes. This low-impact workout targets the glutes and gradually improves tone and strength. This article will discuss the merits of incline walking for glute development and offer suggestions for incorporating this form of walking into your exercise routine.

What Are the Glutes?

If you want to know how effective incline walking is for building glutes, you should first learn what the glutes are and why they're so crucial. The buttocks contain three muscles known collectively as the glutes: the gluteus maximus, the gluteus medius, and the gluteus minimus. These muscles are crucial for maintaining posture, preventing injury to the lower back and hips, and facilitating activities like walking, running, and jumping.

Why Build Glutes?

Aside from the aesthetic benefits of having a toned and shapely backside, building your glutes has several functional benefits. Strong glutes can improve your posture, reduce lower back pain, and enhance athletic performance. Additionally, the glutes are the largest muscle group in the body, meaning that working them can help to burn more calories and boost your metabolism.

Does Incline Walking Build Glutes?

Walking on an incline is an exercise that has gained popularity over the years as a way to build glutes. The idea is that walking on an incline will target the glute muscles more effectively than walking on a flat surface, leading to stronger and more shapely glutes over time. But does incline walking actually work for building glutes, or is it just a fitness myth? In this article, we will explore the science behind incline walking and its effectiveness for building glutes.

How Does Incline Walking Work the Glutes?

When you walk on an incline, you're working against gravity, which requires more effort from your muscles than walking on a flat surface. In particular, walking on an incline targets the glute muscles more effectively than walking on a flat surface. The steeper the incline, the more your glutes will have to work to propel your body up the hill.

Incline walking also engages the core and leg muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. By working these muscles in combination with the glutes, incline walking provides a full lower body workout that can help to strengthen and tone your entire lower body.

How to Incorporate Incline Walking into Your Fitness Routine:

If you're looking to incorporate incline walking into your fitness routine to build your glutes, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, it's important to start with a moderate incline and gradually increase the incline over time. Walking on too steep of an incline can lead to injury and may not be effective for targeting your glutes.

Additionally, it's essential to use proper form and technique when walking on an incline. This means keeping your shoulders back, engaging your core, and taking shorter strides to maintain proper alignment. Walking with good posture and technique will help to ensure that you're effectively targeting your glutes and minimizing strain on your joints.

Incorporating other glute exercises, such as squats and lunges, into your routine can also help to complement the effects of incline walking and further target your glutes. It's recommended to perform 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps of each exercise, allowing for rest and recovery between sets.

Anatomy of the Glutes

Before we dive into the benefits of incline walking for glute development, it's essential to understand the anatomy of the gluteal muscles. The glutes are made up of three muscles - the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the body and is responsible for hip extension, thigh abduction, and thigh external rotation. The gluteus medius and minimus are located on the side of the hip and help to stabilize the pelvis during movement.

Glute Activation

To effectively build your glutes, it's important to activate them before exercise. Glute activation exercises help to "wake up" your glutes, making them more engaged and primed for work. The most effective glute activation exercises include clamshells, glute bridges, and fire hydrants.

Walking on an Incline vs. Walking on a Flat Surface:

While walking on a flat surface does engage your glute muscles to some extent, walking on an incline is much more effective for glute development. Walking on an incline forces your glutes to work harder to lift your body weight against gravity. This increased resistance helps to tone and strengthen your glute muscles over time.

Benefits of Walking on an Incline for Glute Development:

In addition to targeting your glute muscles more effectively than walking on a flat surface, there are numerous other benefits of incline walking for glute development. Walking on an incline can help to improve your posture, increase your endurance, and burn more calories than walking on a flat surface. It's also a low-impact exercise, making it an excellent option for those with joint pain or other limitations.

Tips for Walking on an Incline:

To get the most out of your incline walking workouts, it's essential to use proper form and technique. Begin by setting the incline to a moderate level, around 5-7%. Avoid leaning forward or backward and keep your chest up, shoulders back, and core engaged. Take shorter, quicker steps, and avoid over-striding, which can cause unnecessary stress on your knees and hips. Start with shorter workouts and gradually increase your time and intensity as your fitness level improves.

Combining Walking on an Incline with Other Glute Exercises:

While incline walking is an excellent exercise for glute development, it's also important to incorporate other glute exercises into your routine for optimal results. Some of the best glute exercises to pair with incline walking include squats, lunges, and deadlifts. Aim to perform a variety of exercises that target your glutes from different angles to ensure a well-rounded workout.

Nutrition for Glute Development

Building strong, shapely glutes requires more than just exercise - it also requires proper nutrition. Eating a diet rich in protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates can help to fuel your workouts and support muscle growth. Some of the best foods to eat for glute development include lean meats, fish, nuts and seeds, vegetables, and whole grains.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

As with any exercise program, there are some common mistakes to avoid when incorporating incline walking into your routine. One of the most significant mistakes is overtraining your glutes, which can lead to injury and hinder your progress. It's essential to allow your muscles to rest and recover between workouts, and to avoid performing the same exercises every day. It's also important to use proper form and technique to avoid unnecessary strain on your joints.


Walking on an incline is a highly effective exercise for building your glutes. By targeting your glute muscles more effectively than walking on a flat surface, incline walking can help to tone and strengthen your glutes over time. To get the most out of your incline walking workouts, it's essential to use proper form and technique and to combine incline walking with other glute exercises. With consistency and dedication, incline walking can help you achieve strong, shapely glutes that not only enhance your appearance but also improve your overall health and well-being.

Aaron Bernstein, MD, MPH

Aaron Bernstein is the Interim Director of The Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment, a pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics.

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