Skip to content

Fire Hydrant Exercise - Where Function Meets Aesthetics

Glute exercises have been becoming more popular by the day. Strong glutes extend far beyond a sculpted backside; it's the secret to unlocking a rock-solid midsection and a resilient posterior chain. The fire hydrant exercise attacks muscles that are normally left unattended when it comes to lower-body workouts.  Another beauty of the fire hydrant exercise is that it requires ZERO equipment and you can do it wherever you please. 

Fire hydrant workout


Why The Fire Hydrant Exercise?

The fire hydrant movement is one of the few exercises that target many hip muscles left dormant and forgotten about.  Not tending to these muscles can result in inactivity and lead to a great deal of pain. The fire hydrant movement is also a great exercise for improving hip stability. The lateral movement of the leg/hip attacks the gluteus medius (a side hip muscle that play an important role in keeping properly aligned hips, lower back, and knees). 

Fire hydrant muscles worked

Primary muscles: Gluteus medius and gluteus minimus

Secondary muscles: Gluteus maximus, psoas, abdonimal muscles and piriformis.


Fire Hydrant Exercise - How To

  1. When starting the fire hydrant exercise, put yourself in an all-four position with your hands and knees below your shoulders. Brace your core and make sure your lower back is slightly arched and your spine is neutral. 
  2. Next, lift one leg up and out to the side while maintaining a 90-degree bend in your knee and hip. The remainder of your body should remain still. Lift your leg up at a 45-degree angle. Make sure that your hip and knee are still in alignment.
  3. After pausing for one or two seconds with your leg up, slowly and controlled, lower it back down. 
  4. After completing the specified number of repetitions, switch legs and complete the exercise.

For a fire hydrant exercise visual, check out this video below.

Fire Hydrant Exercise Tips

  • Keep a tight core and stabilize your body in all fours
  • Full range of motion but do NOT overextend if it's uncomfortable (the mobility will come)
  • Do an equal amount of sets and reps on each leg to avoid muscle imbalance
  • To progress the movement, use a resistance band 


Fire Hydrant Benefits

Fire hydrant exercises use the whole range of motion of the hip, which improves hip strength, size, and flexibility. This is particularly helpful for people who sit for long periods of time since it lessens the negative impact on hip mobility. Enhancing hip and buttock strength also makes daily tasks easier. To name a few common ones:

  • Walking and running
  • Leaning over to pick something up
  • Getting up after sitting for and extended period of time
  • Climbing stairs or walking uphill


Fire Hydrant - FAQ 

Will fire hydrants grow my glutes?

Fire hydrants are a great exercise for growing your backside. Targeting the gluteus medius and minimus, the fire hydrant is a great exercise for toning your glutes. To make the exercise more difficulty, try adding a resistance band, ankle weights, or slowing down the movement to increase time under tension. 

How to get a shelf on the upper glutes?

Target the upper glute muscles (gluteus medius and gluteus maximus) with exercises such as glute focused RDLs, glute kickbacks, fire hydrants and kas glute bridges.

If my glutes are sore are they growing?

Yes, if you're working your glutes directly and eating well to support your exercise, then sore glutes usually suggest future growth. But, if you don't regularly work out at the gym and you often feel sore, there can be other reasons why your glutes aren't developing, such as an injury, stress, tension, muscle tightness, inactivity, or dehydration.


Fire Hydrant Exercise - Pain Relief

Before doing the fire hydrant workout, many people suffer from hip tightness and pain.  Exercises similar to the fire hydrant workout are great for strengthening the glutes, but if you are looking to ease hip pain and give back mobility to the muscle, you should consider another alternative known as deep tissue massage (see tailbone pain exercises for a full guide).

Trigger Points

The vast majority of hip muscle pain is typically caused by trigger points and constant muscle tension. When a hip muscle is ridden with constant muscle tension - nerves can be impinged, the pelvis can be pulled out of alignment, and pressure can be placed on the lower back. Before doing any stretches or strengthening exercises, it is crucial to eliminate the constant muscle tension first.

Fire hydrant workout - QL Claw

A great way to eliminate trigger points is with deep tissue massage.

A soothing deep tissue massage will release the area of its muscle tension and allow it to exist as a normal, non-pain-inducing muscle.

Trigger Point Release

Effective trigger point release via deep tissue massage can be done by the hands of a trained physical therapist, massage therapist, chiropractor, or at home with a purposefully made tool like the QL Claw.  The QL Claw is equipped with a hook to break up tight muscle fibers.  Get your QL Claw today and rid your muscles of tension!


Fire Hydrant Exercise - Lower Back Programs

The fire hydrant workout is an awesome complimentary exercise for strengthening the lower back.  If you have suffered from low back pain in the past and want relief and improved flexibility, check out my programs below.  These are the exact stretches and strengthening exercises that helped me go from years of crippling back pain to having a bulletproof lower back.  


Flexible Back 2.0 - Lower Back Flexibility Program

Back of Steel - Lower Back Strengthening Program


Fire Hydrant Exercise



[1] Donnelly, Joseph M. Travell, Simons & Simons Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: the Trigger Point Manual. 3rd ed., Wolters Kluwer Health, 2019.



Leave a comment

Subscribe to our newsletter

Receive emails every few days with back pain relief tips, testimonials, and resources