The glutes are the biggest and strongest muscle group in your body. They consist of three muscles — gluteus maximus, minimus, and medius. Collectively, they help in hip joint extension, abduction, external rotation, and internal rotation.
Glutes help keep you upright and push your body forward. Furthermore, they assist in maintaining good posture and balance. Derrière health is even more important if you’re a lifter as it supports the lower back during lifting and helps prevent knee injuries.
While your glutes are one of the biggest and most important muscles, only a few exercises train it in isolation.
What are Frog Pumps?
If you are familiar with the fitness lifestyle, you probably know that the term ‘frog butt’ is used to describe an underdeveloped posterior. It was only time before an exercise with ‘frog’ in its name was developed to counter pancake bottoms. Enter frog pumps.
Although frog pumps have been gaining traction in gyms (and fitness Instagram) over the last few years, they have been a part of yoga and pilates training for a long time.
Frog pumps are a bodyweight exercise that is a hybrid of the glute bridge and butterfly stretch. The frog pump is similar to the glute bridge, with the only difference being the position of your legs.
Frog pumps are an isolation exercise that focuses on your glutes. The three gluteal muscles include:
- Gluteus Maximus: It helps extend and laterally rotate the hip. Furthermore, it aids in extending the trunk.
- Gluteus Medius: It is one of the main pelvic stabilizer muscles and helps control the transverse and frontal plane motion of the femur and hip. 
- Gluteus Minimus: It acts as a hip stabilizer and abductor. 
How To Perform
This is how to perform frog pumps with the perfect form:
- Lie supine on an exercise mat with your feet flat on the floor and your arms extended straight at your sides.
- Put the bottom of your feet together and scoot your heels as close to your butt as possible.
- Drive your elbows into the floor and lift off your lower arms so they are perpendicular to the floor. Clench your fists for better torso stability.
- Flatten out your lumbar spine and tuck your neck into your chest.
- While contracting your abs, drive your hips toward the ceiling as high as possible. Drive through your heels and elbows but ensure your upper back and shoulders are on the floor.
- Your neck to the knees should be in a straight line at the top.
- Pause and contract your glutes.
- Slowly return to the starting position.
- Repeat for recommended reps.
- Take your hamstrings and erectors out of the movement and focus on the glutes by flexing your knees, abducting and externally rotating the hips, posteriorly tilting the pelvis, and flexing your lumbar spine.
- Bring your feet closer to your hips if you have trouble engaging your glutes while performing frog pumps.
- Target Muscle Group: Glutes
- Type: Strength
- Mechanics: Isolation
- Equipment: Bodyweight
- Difficulty: Beginner
- Best Rep Range:
- Hypertrophy: 8-12
- Strength: 1-5
Benefits of Frog Pumps
Adding this gluteal exercise into your training regimen entails the following benefits:
1. Improves Aesthetics
Adding frog pumps to your training regimen will help improve your glute aesthetics by adding size, symmetry, balance, and glute conditioning. Diet and recovery play an equally important role in carving your dream physique.
2. Helps Build Explosive Strength
Since the glutes are the biggest and strongest muscle in the body, training them using an isolation exercise helps develop explosive strength. This new-gained strength will carry over to other functional exercises like the squat, deadlift, clean and press, etc. Plus, it can help improve your performance in day-to-day activities.
3. Isolates the Glutes
Since the glutes are a big muscle group, isolating them in your training regimen can help build optimal strength and muscle mass. However, most compound exercises like the squat, deadlift, and good morning, recruit multiple muscle groups, making it harder to develop a mind-muscle connection with your bum.
Adding isolation exercises like frog pumps into your training regimen is an effective way to zero in on your target muscles. Since your hips are externally rotated during this exercise, it helps activate your glutes to a greater degree than most other glute exercises, including the standard glute bridge.
4. Enhances Mobility and Improves Posture
People with sedentary lifestyles are at risk of developing stiff glutes, which can hamper mobility and lead to issues like lower back pain and poor posture.
Thanks to its unique setup, adding frog pumps into your routine can help loosen up your hips, improving your mobility, flexibility, and balance. Plus, it can help improve your posture by fixing issues developed due to sitting on your computer or being hunched over your phone for most of the day.
5. Great For People Dealing With Injuries
People with posterior chain issues like lower back pain and hamstring, ankle, or knee injuries cannot do compound movements like deadlifts, squats, or lunges. However, performing isolation exercises like frog pumps can help train your glutes while mitigating the risk of engaging your problem muscles.
6. Can Be Done Anywhere
Since frog pumps are a bodyweight exercise, they can be done in the comfort of your home, in the gym, or while you’re on the move. There are no excuses to skip the frog pump.
Common Mistakes While Performing Frog Pumps
Given below are the most common mistakes exercises commit while performing frog pumps:
1. Going Too Heavy
Most lifters use added resistance while performing the frog pumps by placing a dumbbell on their hip crease. While it can help improve glute engagement, going too heavy will take the tension off your glutes and put it on your lower back. Don’t let your ego get the better of you while performing the frog pump.
2. Rushing Through Reps
Since this is an isolation exercise, you need to ensure there is constant tension on your glutes throughout the range of motion. Going through the reps for the sake of it isn’t going to do you any good. Keep your reps slow and deliberate to get the best bang for your buck.
Variations and Alternatives of Frog Pumps
Here are the frog pump variations and alternatives that should be a part of your training regimen:
1. Resistance Band Frog Pump
Tying a resistance band around the bottom of your upper legs can result in better glute engagement while performing the frog pump. The setup and execution of this variation remain the same as the conventional frog pumps, the only difference being the resistance band around your legs.
2. Weighted Frog Pump
You could make frog pumps harder by using additional resistance. Most lifters prefer placing a dumbbell on their hip crease for added resistance while performing frog pumps. While you could also use a barbell like in the case of a glute bridge, it can make the exercise unstable. Additionally, many people tend to go too heavy on the frog pumps while using a barbell, which puts unnecessary stress on their ankles and abductors.
The setup and implementation for the weighted frog pump are the same as the conventional frog pump.
3. Glute Bridge
The glute bridge is one of the most popular gluteal exercises. It is a part of resistance training and bodyweight workouts alike.
- Lay supine on the floor with your arms at a 45-degree angle with your torso.
- Raise your hips toward the ceiling by squeezing your glutes and driving your heels into the floor.
- Pause and contract your glutes at the top.
- Slowly lower your hips back to the starting position.
- Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
Pro Tip: Your body should in a straight line from your knees to shoulders at the top of the movement.
4. Hip Thrust
The hip thrust is one of the best exercises to develop gluteal muscles and strength. Strong glutes have a positive carryover into your other exercises, including squat and deadlift variations.
- Start in a supine position with your back against the side of a flat bench.
- Roll a barbell up to your hip crease.
- Place your feet shoulder-width apart and plant them on the floor.
- Drive both feet into the floor and squeeze your glutes while lifting your hips toward the ceiling.
- Slowly lower your hips to the starting position.
- Repeat for recommended repetitions.
Pro Tip: Lower the weights if you cannot establish a mind-muscle connection with your glutes while performing this exercise.
Thanks to CrossFit, GHD has found a place in most strength training facilities. It is a hyperextension variation that works the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back.
- Set your feet between the GHD ankle pads.
- Adjust the thigh pads so your torso is hanging off the GHD machine.
- Lower your torso until it is almost perpendicular to the floor.
- Return to the starting position while maintaining a slight arch in your lower back.
- Pause at the top and contract your glutes.
- Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
Pro Tip: Make sure you do not overextend your back at the top as it can take away tension from your hamstrings and put it on your lower back.
6. Cable Glute Kickback
This is one of the most popular cable glute exercises. It helps maintain constant tension on your target muscle throughout the motion.
- Adjust a cable pulley to its lowest setting and attach an ankle strap.
- Stand at arm’s length from the cable pulley machine with a shoulder-width stance.
- Attach the strap around one of your ankles.
- Keep your body upright and hold onto the machine. Then, with your leg straight, raise it straight back as high as possible.
- Pause and contract your glute at the top.
- Return to the starting position.
- Repeat for recommended reps before switching sides.
Pro Tip: Assuming a bent-over position with your torso almost parallel to the floor can help better isolate your glutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are frog pumps better than glute bridges?
Frog pumps are a better exercise for glute isolation as your glutes are externally rotated while performing this exercise. However, you shouldn’t banish glute bridges from your training regimen. You can get the best of both worlds by alternating between the exercises in your leg training regimen.
Who should do frog pumps?
People dealing with lower back, knee, or ankle injuries should make frog pumps a part of their training regimen. Furthermore, most people would benefit from adding this isolation exercise to their workouts, especially those that have trouble establishing a mind-muscle connection with their rear.
Who should avoid frog pumps?
People who have trouble getting into the butterfly starting position due to a lagging lower body mobility should work on improving their flexibility before making this exercise a part of their exercise arsenal. Notably, frog pumps can help improve hip flexibility in the long run.
Frog pumps are considered a regression exercise for folks who have a hard time establishing a mind-muscle connection with their tush during the glute bridge. Nonetheless, adding it to your training regimen besides glute bridges will help take your derrière gains to the next level.
It is a great lower-body exercise for people dealing with back injuries who cannot perform compound lifts like the squat or Romanian deadlift. Frog pumps are a great glute exercise that can be done in your pre-training warm-up routine, in the middle of your workout, or as a finisher to end your training session with a muscle-ripping pump.
- Lee D. An approach to examinations and treatment of lumbo-pelvic-hip region. 2nd ed. New York: Churchill Livingstone; 1999.
- Greco AJ, Vilella RC. Anatomy, Bony Pelvis, and Lower Limb, Gluteus Minimus Muscle. [Updated 2022 May 29]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-.