Training glutes is something everyone should be doing. Not only will you build an impressive set of cheeks that look great in a pair of jeans but stronger glutes also mean fewer injuries and improved performance!
Aesthetically speaking, who wouldn’t want perkier and rounder glutes, am I right? Aesthetics aside, there are several reasons why you shouldn’t avoid glute training. The glutes are the biggest muscle in the body and you use them more than you think. From the time you swing your legs out of bed, walk to the bathroom and brush your teeth, squat down to pet the dog, your glutes are being used! Literally every step you take you’re using your glutes to stabilize your hips and lower back.
Having a strong set of glutes will set you up for injury prevention, better posture, improved athletic performance, and even balance! So today I’m sharing my top three favorite glute exercises that I’ve implemented to help me reach my glute goals. These exercises will not only have you on your way to strong glutes but one step closer to filling out those Levi’s!
My love affair with hip thrusts has been ongoing for several years now and I don’t see it ending anytime soon. This exercise is one of my staples and I credit a lot of my glute growth to it. In fact, I have these programmed into my training plan every lower body day since glutes are my main focus.
Muscles worked: Primary Glutes; Secondary Quads, Adductors, Spinal Erectors
Benefits: One of the most effective exercises to activate and work the glutes. Since the load is across the hips this allows more bias and muscular tension to be put on the glutes. This is a great exercise to build strength since there is a large capacity to progress in weight over time. Over the last several years I’ve gone from hip thrusting 135 lbs to my present-day 470 lbs!
How to do a Hip Thrust: Upper back should be braced on a bench with feet flat on the floor. Knees should be stacked over feet while keeping the torso/ribcage in a neutral position with abs braced. Drive the force through mid-foot. Avoid overextending the back or lowering too far in the eccentric. These can be done with a barbell, in the smith machine, or if you’re lucky enough to have access to a glute drive machine like me! Set up will vary slightly depending on the machine of choice.
Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat (RFESS)
This is one of those exercises where I feel slight dread every time I do them because they’re THAT intense. This exercise requires stability in your entire body making it a challenging movement. It took me a while to master the basics and acquire the appropriate amount of stability before moving up to heavier weights. Once I had the basics mastered this has really been a glute game changer for me. Get ready to feel the burn!
Muscles Worked: Primary Glutes; Secondary Quad and Adductor
Benefits: Since this is a unilateral movement you can focus on one glute at a time. Since the rear foot elevation allows you to sink down into hip flexion it places more muscular tension on the glute. A great exercise to build stability and strength which will have excellent carryover to other lifts.
How to do an RFESS: The working foot should be straight ahead with the other foot in alignment with the hip and placed on a bench or pad behind you. Align your torso in the direction of your knee travel. Keep your torso upright, ribs down with abs engaged. Drive your big toe into the ground through the descent and sit back and down in order to load the glute in a stretched position. Keep the back leg tucked under your hip. If done correctly this will most likely give you the best glute burn of your life!
Glute kickbacks are a great finishing exercise at the end of a session. Just like the Hip Thrust, I have these programmed in every lower body day. I credit most of my glute medius growth to this movement since there is minimal involvement of other body parts and I can isolate that area of the glute so well. If you want to have a booty “shelf” this is the exercise for you!
Muscles Worked: Glutes
Benefits: This is a great isolation exercise where you can focus solely on glutes. Glute kickbacks are easy on the joints since there’s heavy loading.
How to do Glute Kickbacks: Attach a cable to the ankle with the cable on the lowest setting. Lean forward to brace yourself on the cable machine while keeping the core engaged. With a slight internal rotation of the foot for the cable path to slightly cross the body. Aim to drag the foot along the ground to ‘touch’ the wall behind you. Foot placement will determine what area of the glute will be worked.
There you have it my friends! My top three glute exercises will have you on your way to rounder, perkier, stronger, and more functional glutes!
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Top 3 Exercises for Bigger Glutes
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