The glutes are fairly underrated pieces of your anatomy.
Your glutes are your biggest and most powerful muscles (ideally), they protect your back, protect your hip joint and pelvis, improve your squat and deadlift, vertical jump, sprinting speed, ensure you don’t overload your hammies, and look damn good when they’re conditioned.
It’s common to have glutes that are lazy and soft in today’s modern world. When I initially test for glute function, the glutes typically lag well behind the action of the hamstrings and back muscles, causing overload in these other areas and shear forces across joints. If your glutes are strong, it’s pretty difficult to injure your lower back and give yourself a hamstring strain. If your glutes are strong, your core is likely to be working better and you are typically a more powerful, athletic human.
Sleeping pills for the glutes include:
- Pain, for example, lower back pain.
- .. and we do a lot of it.
- Sedentary lifestyles.
- Poor exercise form.
- Muscle imbalances and reciprocal inhibition, for example, tight hip flexors.
In exercises, the gluteal contribution increases, as the movement stimulates, especially into hip extension and hyperextension. You use the glutes when you are lifting, jumping, walking, running, squatting, lunging, change direction quickly, throwing, or decelerating your body in rotational movement. If your glutes are weak, loads are automatically taken up by the lower back and hamstrings. Lower back pain is an extremely common musculoskeletal disorder and can be effectively rehabbed with the strengthening of the glutes, hamstrings, and abdominals if the issue is purely strength related.
Here are a few ways that I prefer to train my glutes. Some of these are fairly advanced and specific to athletic movements. If you’re new to strength training, find a fitness professional to teach you the correct form and learn regressed versions of these exercises before you jump straight into it.
Rock Hard Glute Strength and Conditioning:
Barbell Hip Thrusts
Sit on the floor with your mid back supported against a bench. Place a yoga mat between your hips and the barbell. Roll the barbell back toward your hips, bend your knees to capture the barbell and hold the barbell wide. Push through the heels. Extend at the hip joint, not the lower back, by squeezing your glutes and abs to rotate your pelvis bones backward. Keep the core strong and ribs pulling down to prevent extension through your lower back.
Barbell Glute Bridge
Same as above yet position your back and feet on the ground and extend the weight up from the hips, making sure you are holding the barbell securely so that it doesn’t roll back toward your head. Tilt your hip bones backward to keep your lower back flat.
Single Leg Hip Thrust
Position two benches parallel to each other. Place your mid-back (bra strap area for women) on a bench. Place one foot on another bench in front of you and lift your other leg in the air. Adjust the benches if need be so that your knee and hip joints are at 90 degrees when you lift your hips into the air. Use your glutes to extend your hips up (exhale on the lift). Aim for full hip extension (not back extension) keeping weight in your heels to activate your glutes. Slowly lower to place your weight back on the floor before repeating on the same side. 5-10 reps per side should be adequate at this intensity. Rotate your pelvis bones backward to keep your lower back flat throughout.
Skater to Curtsy Squat
Keeping a neutral spine, squat on one leg with your other leg extended out to the side. Ensure there is no weight on the foot of the leg extended to the side. Then squat on the same leg and extend the leg behind you, again keeping your weight off that leg. Lastly, squat on the same leg again and cross the other leg behind your body. Repeat this sequence 4 more times. Keep the squatting knee over your toes throughout.
High Step Up
Being a single leg exercise, step ups will allow you to notice where you may have strength imbalances from left to right sides. The higher the step, and the more you lean forward from your hips, the more you will target your glutes and hamstrings. After mastering lower height versions of this exercise with good form, find a step or box around mid to upper thigh height. Place your foot in the middle, lean forward at your heaps to bring your butt back a bit (this keeps your shin closer to vertical and therefore less strain on the quads and knees). Lean into the step and use your glutes to step up. Slowly lower back down by sitting your hips back and feel the tension through your glutes and hamstrings. Make sure your knee tracks over your second and third toes on the ascent and descent with no awkward wobbling going on at the ankles, knees or hips!
Low Box Squat
By sitting back, not just down, the squatting muscles are stretched maximally. Lower, relax and then contract dynamically, forcefully pushing your hips forward and flexing your butt to stand up again.
With box squatting, your shins can go past the point of being perpendicular to the floor, which places all the stress on the major squatting muscles – hips, glutes, lower back, hamstrings. Place your feet very wide. Turn your knees out as much as your feet. Good inner leg flexibility is required for this. Sit back to a point at shin vertical or beyond shin vertical. This engages your glutes and hamstrings far more than a usual squat. Lean forward at the hip to counteract your backward sitting. Contact the bench for about a second and then jump/leg curl your way up again, explosively. This technique can be used for maximal lifts (work up to 1 rep with strict form), or for speed work (40-60% max intensity for 2 reps x 8 set).
Nomad Glute Burner
Perform anywhere in the world you are, without the use of anything other than a chair, bench, sofa, bed or table.
Lie on your back with one foot on a bench and your other knee to chest. Use your glutes to extend your hips up (exhale on the lift). Aim for full hip extension (not back extension) keeping weight in your heels to activate your glutes. Rotate your pelvis bones backward to keep the lower back flat throughout. Following your hip bridges, hold your hips up on the last rep, keeping your lower back flat. Slowly pivot on your heel to rotate your leg outward (knee and toes move outward) and then inward (knee and toes move inward) for 8-10 reps. Slowly return your hips to the floor with your knee/toes directed straight and repeat on the other side.
Rotate these exercises and don’t just stick to your favourites. As mentioned above, if you are new to strength training, grab a good coach.
Feel free to connect with me for more unique and effective strength and glute exercises.