I did 50 fire hydrants every day for 30 days, and I was shocked at the results

Is this the exercise you’re missing out on for ultimate glute goals? I tested it out to see

Lucy doing fire hydrants
(Image credit: Lucy Gornall)

Booty workouts are no joke; in fact, search #bootyworkout on instagram and you’re met with almost two million posts. The fire hydrant is a renowned booty-boosting exercise, so why not try 50 fire hydrants every day for 30 days?

I thought it was a great idea and was certainly up for the challenge, especially as leg and glute workouts are pretty much my absolute favorites which is why I'm always talking about how to do deadlifts with barbells.

Not sure how to do a fire hydrant? I focused solely on the kneeling fire hydrant, which involves starting on all fours with shoulders directly above the wrists and hips above the knees. Keep your core and back engaged as you lift your right leg up and away from the body at a 45 degree angle. Whilst doing so, your right knee should stay at a 90 degree angle. Pause when the right leg is up, then lower back down to the start. 

For this challenge, I did 25 fire hydrants on each side. During the move, you need to ensure that your torso is facing downwards the whole time, and that it doesn’t rotate round as you lift up your leg.

As a personal trainer perspective, I find there are several benefits to the fire hydrant exercise. It's a great move to wake up all three of the gluteal muscles, the biggest muscle group in our body, and one that often remains inactive thanks to our sedentary lifestyles. Fire hydrants also work the hip abductors, which are the muscles needed to move our leg away from the body.

The fact that throughout this move, the torso is expected to remain still and engaged, also gives our core, but more specifically our back, a workout too and engages many of the tiny muscles that are often neglected.

So, is the ‘50 fire hydrants a day for three weeks challenge’ all it’s cracked up to be? Here's what happened.

1. I noticed immediate burn in my glutes

Naturally, an exercise that keeps a muscle under tension for a period of time will elicit some kind of ‘burn’ and you’ll feel the muscle firing up. And that’s what I felt whilst doing fire hydrants. This is a good exercise if you’ve been sitting down all day perhaps, and are feeling like your butt is a little bit ‘unused’. It will re-activate the muscles and potentially help prevent other muscles from doing their work, in turn avoiding injury.

2. My bum didn't become rounder

As a standalone bodyweight exercise, the fire hydrant won’t really have much impact on the shape and size of your butt. It certainly didn’t do anything for mine. In fact, walking up a hill several times would probably do more for me. Doing 50 fire hydrants is great before a glute-based workout to wake up the muscles in preparation for weighted exercises; activation is super important before any workout.

But, if you think doing 50 fire hydrants every evening in front of the TV will give you the bum of dreams, well, you may disappointed. You'll need to add weight and keep challenging your body to get results. Take a look at our feature on progressive overload explained for more on this.

Lucy doing fire hydrants

(Image credit: Lucy Gornall)

3. My back felt it

As I mentioned, the fire hydrant exercise also engages the back, particularly the lower back known as the lumbar spine. This exercise didn’t hurt my back, but I definitely felt it working as I attempted to keep my torso straight and avoided the temptation to rotate my hips.

If you do this exercise though and you do feel pain in your lower back, then stop, or assess your form. Perhaps try to avoid bringing your legs out too far either side and only bring them up to a comfortable angle. 

Fire hydrants challenge: my verdict

In a nutshell, don’t bother. Seriously, if you want to grow or shape your glutes, get down to the gym, lift some weights, eat plenty of good food and be patient. That is how you’ll elicit glute growth. Or, use ankle weights to make the exercise a little more resistance-based and perhaps follow it up with another glute-based exercise. 

Meanwhile,you can also incorporate fire hydrants as an activation exercise, to wake up the glutes before a weighted workout. Do the move slowly, while engaging the core and back and keeping the torso still. Activation, like I mentioned, is incredibly important before a lower body workout, so don’t skimp on it.

There’s many other lower body workouts and exercises that will elicit better results in 50 reps than the fire hydrant will however, if say, you’re doing a HIIT workout at home and need an exercise to throw in, then this could work in that too, perhaps as a slower, less intense move.

Lucy Gornall

Lucy is a freelance journalist specializing in health, fitness and lifestyle. She was previously the Health and Fitness Editor across various women's magazines, including Woman&Home, Woman and Woman’s Own as well as Editor of Feel Good You. She has also previously written for titles including Now, Look, Cosmopolitan, GQ, Red and The Sun. 

She lives and breathes all things fitness; working out every morning with a mix of running, weights, boxing and long walks. Lucy is a Level 3 personal trainer and teaches classes at various London studios. Plus, she's pre- and post-natal trained and helps new mums get back into fitness after the birth of their baby. Lucy claims that good sleep, plenty of food and a healthy gut (seriously, it's an obsession) are the key to maintaining energy and exercising efficiently. Saying this, she's partial to many classes of champagne and tequila on the rocks whilst out with her friends.