August 11, 2021 9 min read

Watching a frog pump for the first time can be shocking, not to mention disturbing. As frog pumpers thrust their crotch up in the air with their knees spread wide, it may even look a tad ridiculous. 

But do not judge a book by its cover. Despite the hip thrust mania, Frog pumps are a vital addition to any workout, particularly one that targets the glutes. Discredit frog pumps at your own peril. Well, that is at least what the professional personal trainers say. 

P.S: If you are feeling shy about pumping some frogs at the gym, they are ideal for a home workout too. 

What Is A Frog Pump?

Alright, so what is a frog pump? It might surprise you, but the frog pump is not a new exercise - irrespective of how many times you have seen it flooding your Instagram feed recently. In strength training, Pilates and Yoga classes the world over, frog pumps have been used for years.

young woman doing frog pumps exercise

It is a titan amongst the bodyweight exercises. Frog pumps are the love-child of the butterfly stretch and glute bridge. In brief, you lay on your back, bring the soles of your feet together to splay your knees, and then thrust your hips towards the sky!

Said otherwise, a frog pump is basically the same movement pattern as a glute bridge, but your legs are in a different position. 

Quick tip: If you are having trouble feeling your glutes, try moving your feet closer or further away from you. It may take a few tries to get the right position. Hip-width is also important. 

What Are The Glutes? 

Perhaps we have gotten a little ahead of ourselves. Before discussing the benefits of frog pumps any further, it is necessary to explain what muscle groups they affect. This will help you understand why they ought to be added to your workout routine immediately. 

Frog pumps primarily impact the glutes. Your glutes are a unit of three muscles that are located on the back of your hip bones. They mark the dividing line between your lower body and upper body. 

Your glute muscles cover the entirety of your hip. They are responsible for creating the shape of your lower body. In short, stronger glutes will allow for a stronger figure and posture. We will talk more about this later. 

Here you can read more about fitness and, crucially, how to push yourself to the limit (in a good way). 

These are the three units of the glutes.

glute muscles anatomy

Gluteus Maximus 

This bad boy is the biggest of the three gluteal muscles. It sits on top of the other glutes and is the closest to the skin. The Gluteus Maximus covers the entire distance of the back to your hip. Importantly, this muscle comprises the shape of your bottom. 

Gluteus Medius 

The gluteus medius is located directly under the gluteus maximus - surprisingly! It is located mostly towards the upper outside part of your rear end. 

Gluteus Minimus 

The smallest of the gluteus family, the gluteus minimus is located under the gluteus medius. It is the deepest of the three. That is, furthest from the skin. In keeping with its namesake, it is also the most petite of the three gluteal muscles. 

As you can see, the glutes go from the very top of your hip bone, down to the uppermost part of your leg. They go from the outside edge of your hip bones, right to the center of your bottom. 

What Movements Do the Glutes Help With?

Before we continue, it is also crucial to mention what movements the glutes help with. Ask any glute guy and they'll tell you that these are extending your hips, opening your hips and rotating your hips outward. 

Frog pumps focus primarily on hip extension. If you employ a wider foot position - that is to say, you point your toes out slightly - you will feel your glutes to a heightened extent. This is because you are taking advantage of all three motions. 

Frog Pump Benefits

Frog pumps are one of the best exercises. Period. However, exercise alone will not give you your dream body. You must also optimize your health and body by revolutionizing your diet.

The salient benefit of the frog pump is how well it isolates and strengthens your glutes. In particular, it engages the gluteus biggest  (which functions to extend your hips), gluteus minimus and the gluteus medius, which allows you to move your legs outward and rotate them inward). 

After glute exercises, your glute muscles will be stronger, your balance improved and you will have less pain - with the additional benefit of looking great down there. Needless to say, this can bring benefits not only to your workout routine - indeed frog pumps are a great warm up exercise - but allow you to complete every day activities, safely and efficiently.

Consider whey protein or other vegan plant-based protein powders to optimize the gains to your glutes. You will be impressed with the results. Moreover, frog pumps work your muscles without requiring any additional load. As a result, those with back pain, pre-existing knee or ankle injuries need not miss out on leg day.

This is in contrast to barbell back squats, goblet squats or front squats that are weighted glute-strengthen exercises. However if you are one of those who can handle something fierce on the legs, then weighted frog pumps may be up your street. Get inventive with a dumbbell to add load without triggering pain. This is a glute workout and a half. 

Thirdly, frog pumps are one of the best exercises for educating yourself about your body. It might seem strange, but since most of us spend our lives seated - at work, driving or riding public transport - we rarely use our glute muscles, let alone know anything about them.

Frog pumps change this. They can help us learn how to activate our glutes, which will allow us to make the most out of our movements and lower body focused exercise. In the long run, inactivity in the glute area can lead to something that is jokingly known as dead butt syndrome. Over time it can lead to hip immobility, joint pain and aches in your lower back. Not so funny now is it!

But fear not. Performed twice or thrice weekly, frog pumps can be used to retrain the body how to re-engage those underdeveloped glutes. Plus your bodyweight might take a turn for the better, too. 

Since your hips are in an externally rotated position, it is possible to activate your glutes to a greater degree with frog pumps, than you are with most other glute bridge variations. 

They are the el dorado of glute activation. Anything else? The finisher is that frog pumps bless your hip abductor muscles, too. More, because they work your hip muscles from an externally rotated position, frog pumps have the extra bonus of helping improve overall hip mobility. 

See more: The Best Full Body Workout for Strength and Size

Frog Pumps for Sculpting the Best Bottom

So good are frog pumps for your derrière that it deserves a section of its own. Forget your lunges, deadlifts, split squats or sumo poses - whatever you call them - frog pumps are the quickest shortcut to the behind of your dreams. 

Again this can be explained with reference to those glutes. As we have established, glutes are a key muscle for posture, injury prevention and athletic performance - alongside your ballroom magic. 

However, like most other major muscles, the glutes quire a variety of loading and volume. This is where frog pumps come in. They are an tremendously high volume, low load glute exercise that can be used as activation at the start of your lower body section or as a finisher at the end. 

The external rotation that you put the hips into plays into the oblique nature of glute muscle fibers - they do not run up and down, they wrap around the hip diagonally. Without wishing to get too technical, this allows for a greater activation potential than a regular glute bridge, and activates both your gluteus maximus (remember him) and medius for a more rounded bottom. 

Check out these 15 best butt workouts for toning your glutes at home.

How To Do Frog Pumps?

No matter if you are doing bodyweight frog pumps or frog pumps with weights (such as kettlebells), use these five steps to ensure good form.  

  1. Lie on your back and bring the soles of your feet together into a frog position, scooting  your feet as close to your butt as possible. Get someone to check if your left and right foot are in the correct position. 
  2. If you decide to do the exercise with just your body weight, you might try clenching your hands into fists and keeping your elbows on the floor. (This will mean that your forearms are perpendicular to the ground. If you are using a dumbbell on the other hand? Hold it on either end, while resting it on your hips. 
  3. The third step is to draw your belly button down toward the floor to engage your midsection. 
  4. Press your lower back into the floor. Then, keeping your chin tucked into your neck, ribs down, and shoulders on the ground, press down into the floor with the edges of your feet and squeeze your glutes to thrust your hips towards the sky.
  5. Pause at the top before lowering your bottom back down to the floor. Be careful and do everything slowly. 

Top Tip: Do not make eye contact with someone else while doing a frog pump. Ever. 

Still confused?Check out this video of Bret Contreras doing a bodyweight and dumbbell frog pump.

Variations

One of the best things about frog pumps is that they can be done anywhere without any equipment. 

Nevertheless, if you do find that doing numerous frog pumps with your bodyweight is too much of a breeze, adding a dumbbell or a resistance band is a great idea to racket up the intensity. You will see more definition and have a more successful leg day. 

At the same time, there are a range of supplements that can turbo-charge the effects of your frog pumps

The first variation to look at is a banded frog pump. That is, with a resistance band. We recommend that these are down either as an activation exercise or as a finisher. 

Here's how you do them:

  1. Lay flat on your back, looking at the ceiling.
  2. Put a resistance band around your lower thighs, just below your hamstrings. 
  3. Ensure that your spine is flat and your neck is tucked into your chest to protect your low back. Place your arms to the left and right of you, with your hands facing down. 
  4. Put the soles of your feet together and bend your knees, pointing them away from your torso. 
  5. Squeeze your abs and glutes as you push your hips towards the ceiling. Reach for the sky baby!
  6. Hold this position for several seconds, tensing your abs and glutes the whole time. 
  7. Carefully and cautiously lower your hips back to the ground. This is one whole frog pump. 
  8. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. 

Resistance bands are also lighter and less annoying to carry than weights - making them ideal for outdoor frog pumpers.If your legs burn and feel excessively fatigued, perhaps you need to work on your quad more. Check out these exercises for super strong legs

If you want an even more intense workout, frog pumps can be paired with some sets of normal glute bridges. Due to the range of motion, you will give your glute muscles a bit of a break while you do the bridges - meanwhile doing a set of lower intensity exercises like glute bridges will help you power through the frog pump. 

Another variation could be with another weight. If you decide upon using one of these, place the weight on your thighs. Hold it there while you do the movement. But be warned: this can be very intense. Slow and steady is always better than rapid and dangerous. 

Conclusion 

Easy to do at home or in the gym - in fact, anywhere you can lay down comfortably - frog pumps are a great exercise. They will work your glutes like no other. Indeed, frog pumps ensure that your glutes are really getting a workout unlike most other exercises, where the thighs dominate.

Such is its power and effectiveness, you do not need to do many reps of the frog pump to achieve great results. Besides, it is a great move to do when your equipment or means are limited. You can literally do them anywhere - depending on how brave you are! 

Adding some frog pumps to your workout routine - be it at the end or as a warm up activity - is not only a great leg day workout, it will soon bring you increased definition in the weeks and months to come. Stronger, fitter and more beautiful. 

Then it'll be time for only one thing: to hit the beach and show off your handy work!


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