For ladies, buns are the new guns, as glutes training becomes more popular all the time, it’s gotten to the point where any man or woman can hip-thrust a heavy barbell in the gym without anyone thinking them strange.
Glutes are one muscle group that should be given priority, a strong butt does make you safer and stronger in the gym as well as more capable in life overall. It helps prevent lower back injury, you will never see so many heads turn.
If you have wondered what some great glute-blasting exercises are then read on, adding some glute-focused work to your routine may be the best thing for your routine this year.
If you are thinking that the best way to deal with a flat butt in the mirror is to have a ‘glute day’ on the calendar, well not exactly.
It is actually quite difficult to get a workout where the glutes are completely isolated. Squats, deadlifts, lunges and even hip thrusts all work on the quads and hamstrings, you would struggle to find enough exercises to make a full day of it.
A good solution is to go for two leg days per week, one day is leg day and the other is leg day with an emphasis on a great bikini booty. There is a little movement overlap between the two but on butt/leg day the focus can be on glute-specific cues we will look at in this article, this approach will help you make some serious progress over this year.
Training individual body parts independently also known as unilateral training is amazing at bringing up lagging body parts, a good example is instead of performing a normal deadlift using a barbell, perform one-legged deadlifts using a dumbbell.
There are several reasons why this works, for one, mind muscle connection is much stronger when unilateral movements are included in a workout. During single-leg deadlifts you can really focus on pushing through with your heel and utilising your glutes for the exercise than you would with both feet on the ground doing the exercise normally.
This doesn’t mean you have to miss out on heavy squats etc. But it is typical to have one side of the body stronger than the other and when performing bilateral barbell exercises you normally end up relying more on the dominant side leading to muscular imbalance.
Unilateral training ensures that the weight is evenly distributed and each limb is doing an equal amount of work.
Obviously don’t do this for real!, on a glute-focused work day there are loads of exercises to choose from. There are the few firm favorites that always get the buzz on social media sites, squats are a good example of this but glutes respond best to variety.
It doesn’t mean every exercise has to be a completely new list of exercises. But if you have two different leg workouts each week then you will be off to a great start.
Exercises listed below get you working your glutes and lower body from a variety of different angles. Forward, reverse and lateral movements, as well as heavy and light movements. Mix and match them until you get a perfect sequence:
Before we continue with the guide I just wanted to put this here, training your glutes is just like any other muscle group in your body, you can mix and match rep ranges or have a strength day and a muscle pump day.
Don’t expect to take the entire list from 3 into the gym and be able to do a little bit of everything, goto the gym with a plan. Always show up at the gym with a solid plan in mind of what you want to accomplish and what exercises you want to do.
Make sure you are also properly fueled and eat at least one meal before exercising, preparing a mix of fast digesting protein and carbs plus a pre-workout for leg days to maximise your routine.
Don’t be underpowered, confused or unprepared for leg day.
With a movement like the barbell squat, more emphasis can be put on the glutes just by adjusting your feet position. Hip-width or wider stance will allow the utilisation of the glutes more than a narrower stance. When using a Smith machine for squats, kicking out your feet well in front of your body can put more emphasis on the glutes too.
On a leg press however, to put more effort on the glutes, you place your feet higher on the sled, this brings more of the glutes and hamstrings into action and with your feet lower on the sled, your quads essentially do all the work.
How deep you should squat depends a lot on the level of hip and lower back stability and mobility. Glutes will however benefit from going down far enough to have your knees bent at 90 degrees or what is also known as ‘parallel’.
Getting that low without rounding of the back is probably low enough.
If the list I put above seems a bit daunting then take a look at these couple of moves to prioritize. Heavy cable kick-back, a lot consider it a none-serious lift but it really does produce results.
It is good to do the standard version keeping your leg as straight as possible when kicking back, being sure to hold the contraction at the peak of each rep movement. You will really feel your glutes working overtime with this exercise without overdoing quads and hamstrings.
Don’t forget walking lunges, you knew they would be coming.
When wrapping up a lower body workout you should include some sort of superset burnout combo at the end, it won’t be easy or fun the first few times you do it but stick in there and come out strong.
On a normal leg/glutes day you can pair an exercise like the one-legged deadlift paired with wide-stance jump squats for one of your supersets. When performing cable kick-backs, as your already hooked up to the ankle attachment, you can superset those with a cable side lunge or a cable reverse lunge, lunging with the leg attached to the cable of course just to bring it up a notch.
Hip thrusts alternated with tuck jumps make another good pair, just use your imagination.
Women tend to store more fat in their hips and thighs making the butt stubborn trying to get it to look the way you want. You don’t need to live doing cardio, but performing at least three days per week doing some form of cardio with a 20-40 min session is a good idea.
A stairmill or treadmill are great for cardio, the former is great in intervals for the ultimate fat-blasting. When on a treadmill just crank up the incline and go hard for a while, walking at a fast pace on a high incline forces you to engage your hamstrings and glutes more compared to just a flat surface.
Be prepared to feel the burn in your glutes and you will know you have done your body and glutes some good with some great exercises.
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