Regardless of whether you’re an athlete, physique competitor or an average Jane or Joe, more and more people are now associating real strength with those big buns that are the most noticeable in your posterior chain. Among many, many roles, the gluteal family (Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Minimus) helps stabilize your pelvis and your lower back which helps you walk on two legs and keep an upright position. Not bad right? Your glute max is by volume the biggest muscle in your body. Imagine the possibilities of what can happen to the largest muscle in your body if you start giving it more attention in your training program or workout routine. Now, don’t be mistaken. As is usually the case, big muscles don’t always mean strong muscles. If you want to get full potential out of your glutes it’s going to come down to how you train them. If you’re not sure how to start, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Until the past decade or so there hasn’t been too much emphasis put on the importance of glute strength, especially not in the realm of mainstream fitness. Check out these 3 basic exercises that’ll help future you get a little boost in the booty region.
FROG PUMPS (not an exercise for the faint-hearted)
Lie down on your back with your feet together and knees apart. With your weight on your shoulder and upper back lift your butt off the ground, extending the hips, and squeeze your glutes at the top. Aim for a slightly posterior tilt in your pelvis to prevent hyper extending your lumbar spine.
GLUTE BRIDGE / HIP THRUST (two for the price of one here!)
Lie down on your back with your feet firmly planted on the ground. Have your weight on your shoulders, not your neck and drive your hips up. Remember to aim for a slight posterior tilt in your pelvis. You should feet your low back touch the ground at the bottom of the movement. For the Hip thrust you’re going to have your upper torso on a bench, bottom of your shoulder blades are your point of contact with the bench. Let your arms relax on the bench or place them across your chest so you don’t get tempted to push off your elbows.
Increase the difficulty: Either of these can be done in a weighted variation. Dumbbell or barbell will work. Place the weight right on your hip crease. Use some form of padding if you find it uncomfortable.
KNEELING HIP THRUST WITH BAND (Also a great warm up for your booty)
Wrap a band around a leg of a squat rack or something similar. Place some padding on the ground to keep your knees comfortable. With yourself inside, place a dowel or something similar through the two looped band ends. This should be resting on your waistline. Make sure you are far enough enough out that you have adequate tension on the band. Sit back on your heels, extend the hips forward and squeeze those glutes. Hold it at the end of the movement for a few seconds and repeat.
Increase the difficulty: No. Although there are similar kneeling hip extension exercises this one is my favorite because of the force coming from a forward driving motion. Your glutes activate like crazy through that motion.
Give all of these a try and play around with them. Adding pauses is a great way to increase the difficulty before moving on to heavier weight. If you’ve had low back problems in the past be very careful with these. Watch that tilt in your pelvis and make sure you aren’t putting your low back into hyper extension. Let me know what you think and if we should do a 1 hour frog pump class!