Have you ever stopped to appreciate your glutes? Maybe you should because they do a lot more for you than you might have thought. Did you know your glutes play a major role in your balance? They are the muscles that move your hips, allowing your legs to move. Every time you lift one foot off the ground, your glutes are working. This is why working the glutes plays such an important part in any personal trainer’s repertoire.
They are also major players in the maintenance of your overall strength, preventing injury to the rest of your body. After all, if your glutes aren’t strong, your hamstrings are forced to compensate and when your hamstrings become too tight , you’re in for a lot of pain…
The sad truth is that most of us have under-developed glutes since we spend hours every day sitting on these amazing muscles, instead of moving them! Here are six exercises to strengthen your glutes and get that bubble butt you’ve always wanted.
1. Glute bridge
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Make sure your knees are in line with your hips. Engage your core and then squeeze your glutes to push your pelvis upwards until your upper body is in one line. Pause at the top of the movement to hold the squeeze for a few moments and then control the movement all the way back down.
Place your feet hip-distance apart. Lift your chest and your chin (look directly ahead of you). Tighten your abdominals to engage your core and then step forward with your left foot, making sure you put that foot flat on the ground in front of you. Sink your hips into the step so you end up with your left knee bent at 90 degrees. (Your knee shouldn’t go past your toe). Your right knee is now almost touching the ground and almost bent at 90 degrees too. Your upper body should still be upright. Squeeze the glutes and hold for a few moments before pushing off the left foot to return to the starting position. As a variation, you can balance a barbell on your shoulders.
3. Walking lunge
This is a powerful variation on the regular lunge. Plus, you can add weight to it once you’ve got the basic technique right by holding a dumbbell in each hand. Follow the step-by-step instructions, as for the regular lunge, but instead of pushing off the left foot to return to your starting position, squeeze your glutes to stand upright and then lunge forward with the right leg (as if walking).
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed slightly outwards. Engage the core and squeeze the glutes to keep your balance. Sit back as if you’re sitting into a chair. Squat down until your thighs are lower than a mark parallel to the ground. Make sure you keep your upper body upright throughout the movement and your knees over your toes. You can hold dumbbells or a barbell over your shoulders to add weight to the exercise.
Stand in front of a box or step. Place your left foot up onto the box/step and engage the core and the glutes. Stand straight up onto the box/step, making sure you squeeze the glute of the standing leg. Hold the position at the top (keeping your balance will work the glutes too!). Then slowly, with control, lower yourself back to the ground to repeat (or swop legs). Again, you can hold a pair of dumbbells to add an extra dimension to this one.
You’ll need a barbell for this one. Stand with feet shoulder width apart to start and the barbell against your shins. Hinge at your hips and bend the knees so you can grab the barbell (hands just slightly wider than your shoulders). Keep your back in its naturally arched position but focus on pushing the hips forward in order to lift the torso up and stand straight. You should squeeze the glutes through the movement, pausing at the top for that extra squeeze. Then slowly, with control, lower the barbell back to the starting position.
If you’re passionate about exercise, strength training and wellness in general, check out Trifocus Fitness Academy’s Comprehensive Personal Training Certification. It’s an investment in the skills you need to become a pro trainer!