Why it's Number 1: "One of the biggest series of published EMG data by a group out of Hamburg, Germany, found that that the lying hamstring curl with your thighs elevated and a forced contraction of the glutes activated the glutes best," says Hyde. 7 "That's not exactly a common exercise, so here I'd go with the second best: the hip machine. It's basically simulating the stride you'd make as a sprinter (which can be done standing or on all fours). As you reach an extended position, you'll recruit the glutes. Really focus on squeezing the glutes, and don't just speed through the reps."