March 21, 2022 8 min read
Training glutes has become much more popular in the last few years, especially amongst females. There are a number of reasons for this.
Firstly, having well developed glutes helps to create an hourglass body shape which is currently favoured by certain celebrities.
Another reason is that there has been a significant rise in female bodybuilding, which requires competitors to have well developed and defined glute muscles.
The glutes, also referred to as the buttocks, are made up of three muscles; gluteus maximus, gluteus minimus and the gluteus medius. The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the body.
They play an incredibly important role in that they enable movement of the hips and thighs and offer stabilisation of the upper body.
Many of us lead fairly sedentary lifestyles, meaning we spend large parts of our day sitting. This could lead to weakened glute muscles and in turn result in a condition known as gluteal amnesia. This is where your glute muscles essentially forget how to activate / contract properly.
It may not sound significant but considering the glutes are a stabilizing muscle group, suffering from gluteal amnesia could result in lower back, hip and knee pain.
So, as well as helping to create a more pleasing physique, training glutes is incredibly important and can offer a number of benefits to both men and women. These include the following:
As the glutes are stabilization muscles, building muscle and increasing strength will offer additional support to the spine and pelvis, thus helping to improve posture.
The extra support to both the spine and pelvis will help to alleviate any lower back problems.
Many glute exercises are compound movements, meaning they target a number of muscles at once. Especially the posterior chain which, comprise the glutes, hamstrings and spinal erectors. A strong posterior chain greatly improves posture, back health and offers great carry over to athletic performance such as running and jumping.
As stated above, the glutes are the largest muscle in the body and by undertaking heavy compound movements to target the buttocks, you’ll also be using a lot of calories and consequently burn body fat.
If you’re not a member of a gym but keen to incorporate some glute exercises into your home workout, the below options could be ideal and minimum equipment is needed.
Ideally, this should be done on an exercise mat with the option to add resistance bands to make the movement more difficult.
Another one for the exercise mat which can also be made more difficult by adding a resistance band around the thighs. As well as targeting the glutes, this will also work the lower back and core.
This is very similar to the glute bridge but a little more challenging. You’ll find you also engage your hamstrings with this movement too.
For this exercise, you'll want to use either a chair, sofa or bed to support your upper back. Ideally, the surface will allow you to keep your chest and knees at roughly the same height.
This one isolates the glute muscles and can be made more difficult by placing a weight on your lap, creating resistance as you raise your hips.
Another floor exercise where a mat will be required. As with the other floor exercise, this exercise can be made more challenging by incorporating a resistance band.
The exercises listed above are just a small number that can be done in the home, meaning that achieving a truly effective glute workout should be no problem.
Other exercises to consider include the following, as with the above these need little or no equipment
All of the movements that can be done in the home can of course be undertaken at the gym but if you want to step it up a notch, and depending on what equipment is available at your gym, you could also look to add in the following exercises.
For this one you’ll need access to either a dual adjustable pulley or cable crossover. This exercise primarily targets all of the glute muscles as well as your hamstrings to a lesser degree.
The great thing about this exercise is that as your glutes get stronger you can increase the weight making for a more difficult workout.
Hip thrust machines come in many shapes and sizes, some are floor based and relatively basic whilst others feature straps to lock yourself into position and weight horns which can be loaded up with plates.
The more basic hip thrust machines tend to mean you need to incorporate fitness bands with a barbell resting at the tops of your legs. The larger machines can either be plate loaded or selectorised where the weight isn’t solely resting on the user making them safer.
They also often carry different names such as Booty builder, glute blaster etc. Given the rise in female training, glute machines and hip thrust machines are becoming much more popular in a commercial gym environment. If you have access to one in your gym, it’s worth asking a personal trainer how to get the most out of it.
Walking lunges is a variation of the static lunge. They can also be done at home if you have the room, a long hallway should suffice. However, they are easier to undertake in the gym as more space tends to be available.
Whilst these are great to target the glutes, they also offer other benefits. These include an improvement to flexibility and they help with loosening up the hamstrings and hips. Classed as a compound movement, walking lunges target the glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps.
Here’s how to do this exercise:
If you’re new to this exercise, you may find it tricky to balance. This will become easier over time as your core muscles become stronger. To make the exercise slightly simpler, when pushing off with your back foot, instead of going straight into another lunge simply return to a standing position. From there, step forward but this time with the other foot.
Probably the king of compound exercises, the barbell squat primarily targets your glutes, quads and hip flexors. You’ll also find that your lower back, hamstrings and calf muscles get a great workout with squatting.
The most important thing to note with barbell squats is proper technique, this becomes even more important if you’re squatting a heavy load. Also, get yourself a spotter. A helping hand is invaluable if you’re unfortunate enough to fail a lift.
If you’re new to squatting, it’s worth undertaking some body weight squats first to get the hang of the technique and then move to an unloaded barbell. Squatting with just the bar will allow you to get a better feel for squatting with weight, albeit a small amount, and also help you to best position the bar on your upper back. A loaded bar positioned incorrectly could lead to injury.
Here’s how to undertake a proper barbell squat:
Growing muscle takes time and consistent effort but, with a regular training programme you can expect to see modest results in around 3 months from when you begin. Usually, it can take anywhere between 6 months and 2 years to achieve your own muscle growing goals! Genetics will also play a part in how easy it is to build and maintain muscle, and some will find it easier than others.
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