It seems like every man and his dog in the gym right now is looking to build, shape and GROW their glutes. In the crazy world that is social media, we've seen a LOT of glute-building methods. From crazy, elevated cable kickbacks superset with squat jumps with a hip abduction in between, to hundreds of body weight squats, to fancy leg work on the stair master.
Now, we know that there is a time and place for conditioning exercises like these, and they will certainly shape and contribute to the building of your glutes to a degree (plus, getting your body moving in any way, shape or form is a WIN). Another thing to keep in mind is that any exercise that allows for progressive overload will contribute to the building of muscle mass. However, we strongly believe in the effectiveness and versatility of those building block, plain ol' exercises that we know and love. Think squat, deadlift, heavy, on-your-program-every-week type exercises. These are the foundation to building your glutes.
Below, you will find our can't-live-without glute building exercises that are awesome foundational moves to add to a lower body day.
A lift like a squat requires several muscles to work together as a unit, and when working together, the greater your strength and ability to shift a heavy load. To grow muscle, the muscles need to experience stress and damage. Micro-tears to muscles occur when weight training, and as a result, they rush to repair the tears, causing the muscles to become thicker and stronger (aka growth).
So here it is, our Top 5 Glute Exercises:
1. Hip Thrusts
This exercise is at the very top of our list because of one word... ISOLATION. You'll notice as you go down the list that a lot of the exercise will recruit not just your glutes, but other areas like your posterior chain, core and erectors. The hip thrust is amazing as it's a low impact exercise that allows for a lot of strength progression. It targets mainly the glutes, followed by some quad and hamstring.
How to make this exercise home-friendly: All you need is a stable surface such as a box to lean against when performing a hip thrust. You can use a heavy, balanced weight such as a water bottle.
Extra exercise: glute bridge
You can also do this exercise with your back flat on the ground, often referred to as a glute bridge.
These babies are a hip-dominant movement that can be performed in several variations. From back squats, to front squats, goblet squats, dumbbell squats and box squats, the list is endless. You can change up the tempo, rep ranges and rest periods to challenge yourself.
How to make this exercise home-friendly: Squats can be performed ANYWHERE! If you'd like to add weight to the movement whilst performing squats at home, find two level weights to hold either side of your body, or one stable weight to hold across your chest.
Whether you perform a conventional or sumo deadlift, the deadlift is exceptional for glute building. Prior to your deadlifts, ensure you warm up and activate your glutes, and focus on the muscle contractions. This movement is technical, and breakdown of technique can cause other areas of the body to overtake the movement.
How to make this exercise home-friendly: try a variation such as the Romanian Deadlift which doesn't require resetting between each rep. This will reduce your risk of injury as without the correct heigh weight set-up.
Lunges are not only an exercise you can safely progressively overload on, but as a unilateral movement, can identify muscle imbalances and IMPROVE them.
If you find that you fatigue sooner on one leg than the other, you may like to consider adding more unilateral movements to slowly bridge the gap. This can be in the form of body weight lunges, single leg leg press, single leg hip thrusts, pistol squats and more.
How to make this exercise home-friendly: find two level weights to hold either side of your body and a flat surface to perform walking lunges or stationary lunges.
When doing these, focus on both the eccentric and concentric phase of the movement. This means, really focus on your glutes and the glute of the working leg contracting as you step up AND down. To help, this could mean slowing down the movement or even using a stick to stabilise yourself.
How to make this exercise home-friendly: find a stable step whether it be the stairs, a park bench or table to step onto.
So many gym goers today suffer from inactive glutes. This is due to underusing these muscles through desk jobs and minimal physical activity throughout the day. By setting aside a few minutes prior to your next glute workout to activate, you can train with peace of mind knowing you're recruiting your glute muscles. Our guide is perfect to support you in ensuring you maximise your next glute workout.
Ready to start training your glutes? Ensure you set aside some time beforehand to activate them correctly.
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