Whether it’s to improve posture, fill out your clothes, or just have a backend others admire, it’s no secret that a solid butt never did any harm. While a flat stomach or six pack abs are typically a “summertime goal”, we think having a great bum year round wouldn’t be anything to complain about. The only question though, is how does one achieve that highly desired round, peach emoji-like bum?
Before we get into the exercise details, let’s talk about the health benefits of conditioned glutes. Most importantly, glutes help to stabilize the hips and take pressure off the hip flexors. The glutes act as a mechanism for hip extension, which in turn promotes healthy posture, proper knee movement, and helps to alleviate hamstring overuse. Furthermore, because strong glutes promote our hips to remain neutral and out of flexion, lower back stress and pain can, in some cases, be reduced.
Now that we know the WHY for glutes, let’s get into the HOW with a few great exercises:
No glute guide would be complete without hip thrusts, but let’s point out the elephant in the room – this exercise is awkward. There’s no way around it, but if you’re too embarrassed to do these at the gym and want to avoid the potential stares or unwanted attention, you might want to reserve these for the comfort of your own home.
Without a weight, start with your back perpendicular to a bench, butt on the ground and legs bent at about a 45 degree angle. Simply push your hips up so that your back lays flat on the bench and your knees finish at a 90 degree angle. At the top of the hip thrust, it is critical that you squeeze your glutes and push your hips into extension. This is where you’ll reap the most benefit! Once you get the movement mastered, grab a barbell or straight curling bar and place it across your lap for added resistance. When you feel yourself not able to push your hips past neutral into extension, either drop the weight or end the set.
Another great exercise for building the booty is weighted step ups. While these are pretty straightforward, it can be easy to slack and not engage the proper muscles. To get started, grab a pair of dumbbells and place your right foot on top of a bench. Take your left knee and drive it up while extending your right leg. Finish with your left knee at a 90 degree angle and your right leg straight. Just like in hip thrusts, the goal is to squeeze your glutes and push your hips to at least neutral. Slowly lower your left leg down in a controlled manner and repeat the movement. After you fatigue one side, switch legs and feel the burn!
The squat – the holy-grail of all movements. The squat rack is where magic happens. There aren’t many other exercises that utilize as many muscles as the squat, and you guessed, glutes are one of those. If you have not squatted before, it is highly recommended that you watch a few technique videos as improper form can lead to serious injury. When squatting, make sure you are not only feeling the contraction in your legs, but also in your glutes on the concentric movement. Squeeze your bum at the top and push your hips to neutral!
Weighted Walking Lunges
Similar to weighted step ups, weighted walking lunges are a great hip opener that target glutes. With a dumbbell in each hand, start by stepping out with one leg far enough so that when you lunge down, your knee does not pass over your toes. After you lunge down, push back up on your front leg, and kick your back leg out and flex your glute. Three sets of 10 lunges on each side should have your legs burning and your booty sore!
Last but not least, the stair master is a great cardio tool that is also excellent for targeting the glutes. If you keep the speed up above 8 and your hands off the rails, you’ll be a sweaty mess in no time. As with anything, however, there is a right and wrong way to do things. Keep your back straight, hips neutral, and with each step squeeze your glutes. Within 15 minutes, you’ll be feelin’ the burn and destroying calories!
Let’s be honest, butts are in right now. Are you ready to finally get the butt you’ve always wanted? With these exercises, proper diet, and dedication to the goal, you’ll have glutes that fill out any set of pants and have others double-taking.
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Yours in health,