Hey, hey! How about a few exercises that are guaranteed to help sculpt and strengthen the gluteus and are sure to make you feel the fire burning through those muscles??
Sure, a nicely rounded butt has, in more recent years, become something many people desire and become one of the standards of attractiveness. And while that’s all great and good…what about the FUNCTIONAL purposes for having strong glutes??
Having a strong backside is important for stabilization during walking and running movements. If the glutes are weak, and are you perform movements that call upon muscle power from that area, your risk of injury increases. This is due to the fact that other muscles will take over to perform functions that the glutes are responsible for…
- I think we can all agree that core strength and stability is crucial; it’s where all of our movement stems from. And thinking logically about the way our bodies are structured, I would consider the glutes part of the core. If we don’t have stable cores that are strong enough to support our bodies, we run into issues doing even simple things like standing for considerable periods of time. Low back pain, a condition SO many people suffer from, can also be a result of weak glutes.
- And for all you athletes out there, you want to strengthen the gluteal muscles for POWER. The gluteus maximus is actually the largest muscle in the body and as such, has the potential to generate a lot of power. If you want to get faster, jump higher, etc., you better strengthen those glutes!
Below are just three exercises you can do to help strengthen your glutes, stabilize your core, and of course, get that rounded shape we all want.
–Barbell Walking Lunges
How to do it:
- Take a barbell (you can use a body bar also if a barbell is too heavy–the idea is to stick to a weight that allows you to properly perform the movement), and place it across your back, resting it on the top of your traps at the base of your neck.
- Get comfortable with this bar on your back–move around a little bit–because you’ll be switching from foot to foot when you begin your lunges, so you need to first feel stable and comfortable on two feet with this bar on your back. Adjust the bar up/down if necessary to get it in a comfortable spot. It should be in a place on your back that it can almost sit there on its own without you holding it, so your hands shouldn’t be tightly gripping it to keep it in place.
- Keeping the bar steady, lunge forward with your starting leg allowing the back knee to lower down to about an inch or two off the floor, push off that front leg by planting that foot into the floor and bringing the back leg forward into a lunge. Then, repeat this for as many reps as you would like to perform. Keep in mind that you should be stepping forward enough that your lunge creates approximately a 90 angle in both the front and back leg as you lunge down toward the floor. Also important–>that part about pushing off of the front leg in order to propel yourself forward and into then next lunge.
Why I like this…
Lunging is great for working on balance and stabilization, two key pieces of physical health that most of us need to work on. I also like using the barbell because of how the weight is distributed–with the bar being wider than me (haha I’d hope!) and the weights on either side, it makes the difficulty of maintaining balance that much higher which, in turn, causes my gluteus minimus and medius to put in work (these are on the sides of your booty and help keep you balanced and moving straight instead of from side to side).
–Goblet Squats with Band
- Place small band (or bands–don’t be afraid to double up on them if you don’t feel like you can get enough resistance from just one) around your thighs, about an inch above your knees. Stand with feet a bit wider than shoulder width.
2. Grab a kettle bell or dumbbell, and use both hands to hold it securely at chest level and close to the body. I prefer a kettle bell just because of the ease with which you can hold it in this position, but use what feels most comfortable for you (some other options could be a medicine ball or sand bell).
3. Perform squats in this position, keeping the weight close to your body, resisting the pressure of the bands against your thighs, and focusing on keeping the heels of your feet grounded into the floor while using the glutes to raise you back up to the standing position.
Why I like this…
Heavy squats are GREAT for building strength and power, but sometimes I like to back off of the heavy squats and add some variation–it’s important that your body doesn’t get too “used to” the same exercises week in and week out. I love that these add in the use of the band, so they tie in further activation of the gluteus minimus and medius. I also like the goblet squat because it’s functional–we all need to carry things in our day to to day lives, and while the barbell squat is awesome, chances are we aren’t carrying our groceries, cases of water, etc. across our backs, so the weight held in front, helps to build our functional strength. Additionally, it’s helpful in maintaining upper body form while squatting–when you’re holding the weight at your chest, you are more inclined to keep your upper body upright instead of rounding forward.
–Prone Glute Kickbacks with Band
- Take a band that has handles and a mat. Fold the mat in half so that your knee can rest on it while you’re in the prone (face down) position. Hold one handle of the band in each hand, get on all fours in the prone position, and place one of your feet inside the band. Extend the knee of the leg that has the foot inside the band so that the leg is straight. Ensure you’re balanced and comfortable in this position.
- With your extended leg straight, kick up, and repeat for as many reps as you would like to complete. Then, repeat with the other leg.
Why I like this…
It’s a great alternative to standing cable kickbacks. I find that when I do standing cable kickbacks, I often feel it just as much in the standing leg as the one performing the kickbacks. That may not necessarily be a bad thing, but this variation is more effective for focusing in on one side at a time. You can also kick out to the side in this same position to work additional glute muscles.
Try these, try your own variations! Have fun, and get strong!