Last week I covered the principles required to build a strong posterior. This week, I thought we’d go over some of the best exercises I recommend for clients (and myself) to garner greater glutes.
Growing Your Glutes
First, it’s important to note that although building a butt seems more like click-bait, it’s extremely important outside of your Instagram feed. A strong, balanced posterior chain means you’ll have better posture and reduce your risk from lower back injuries. In addition, you’ll have more power and explosiveness needed to perform on the field or in the gym.
Truth is, most of us neglect our glutes because we don’t want to embarrass ourselves during a Jane Fonda impression. Couple that with the majority of Americans sitting on their keister most of the day (i.e. desk job, tv, computer, etc.) and it’s no wonder we have perpetual pancake ass.
Whether your rump has ‘humps’ or sits flat as a flapjack, these 5 exercises are sure to get your glutes firing like no other:
Two-Handed Kettlebell Swings
The Kettlebell Swing is one of the most effective ways to build your backside. Although easy to use improper form (hence the lengthy video example above), it provides the biggest bang-for-your-buck in terms of butt building and performance. The kettlebell is a great accessory for even the most minimalist training and can be manipulated for full body workouts.
The kettlebell swing is effective, because the driving force behind it is generated by your hips. Be sure to focus on engaging and squeezing your glutes as you fire your hips forward. Also, try to avoid using too much arm strength to compensate for swing height.
Much more than just your typical bodyweight movement, the lateral stepup provides some great unilateral training to any regimen. When most of us find ourselves walking forward and, sometimes, backwards, it’s rare to find us moving laterally in our day-to-day. This means that it’s easy for us to create imbalances, unless we account for it otherwise. Aside from improving our range of motion (ROM) on lower body movements, the lateral stepup gives our gluteus minimus and medius some necessary attention.
The biggest difference between sumo and regular squats is simply donning a wider stance with the toes pointed slightly outward. This wider stance allows for more activation in the hamstrings and glutes, as opposed to the quadricep.
The risk for injury is also much lower due to a superior positioning of the hips relative to the knee. You won’t have to go as deep into the hole, reducing the chance for ‘butt-wink.’
The key here is to press through the mid-foot when ascending and descending throughout the movement. Avoid drifting too far onto the balls of the feet as well as the heels.
7 Way Hips
A little closer to your Jane Fonda fears, but Ryan Flaherty’s ‘7 Way Hips’ is hugely beneficial when it comes to posterior accessory work. The focus of this technique is on the smaller muscles, which are often the ones we neglect.
I’ve found this technique grossly beneficial when applied early in my leg or lower body days. You’ll find greater glute activation in movements following this type of accessory work.
Barbell Hip Thrust
Male or female, this one, when executed properly, is essential to crushing your booty goals. Be sure when executing the hip thrust, to press through your mid-foot. Keep your eyes tracked with the movement to maintain alignment in the spine. When you hit the top of the movement, squeeze your glutes like crazy for at least 2 seconds before releasing.
For an additional challenge, execute these while maintaining strong eye contact with a stranger. There’s no doubt you’ll have set the bar for their definition of uncomfortable.
Now get out there and grow!