It’s true what they say, “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.” When it comes to your gluteal muscles, this is 1,000 percent true. It doesn’t matter if you feel like you were shortchanged in the butt department or you have one like Jennifer Lopez’s. In order to keep your butt strong, round, firm, lifted, toned, tight — whatever adjective you like to use — you’ve got to constantly work your gluteal muscles.
Whether your physical therapist has prescribed activating your glutes to help with an injury, you’re looking to improve your performance during workouts, or you’re just here for vanity, I’ve got some exercises that will get the job done and really work your glutes. The 10 exercises ahead are not meant to be done as one workout. If you do that, you’re in for jello legs and an extremely sore lower body. Instead, pick three to five that really speak to you and begin doing them two times a week. You can opt to use heavy weight and do fewer reps and sets (four to six sets of one to five reps), or you can do them with light to medium weight and more reps and sets (one to three sets of 12-20 reps).
Now that you’ve got the moves to work your glutes, don’t forget to adjust your daily caloric intake as needed. You may begin to feel hungrier since you’re building muscle, and that’s absolutely normal. The more you work out, the more energy you expend, which means the more food you’ll need to recover and refuel.
- Romanian Deadlifts
Stand holding a pair of medium-weight dumbbells in each hand, arms at your sides, with your knees slightly bent.
Keeping your arms straight and knees slightly bent, slowly bend at your hip joint (not your waist) and lower the weights as far as possible without rounding your back, which should remain straight.
Now squeeze your glutes to slowly pull yourself up (don’t use your back). This counts as one rep.
2. Glute Kickback
Adjust the carriage so that it’s at the bottom of the cable machine. Place the ankle strap attachment around your left ankle, and then attach it to the machine. You should be facing the pulley.
Next, select a weight that will challenge you — 10 to 20 pounds is a great starting point. As you begin to become more comfortable with the movement, feel free to increase the weight.
Step one to two feet away from the pulley, and place your hands on the frame to maintain your balance.
With a slight bend in your knees and your core engaged, kick your left leg back as high as it can go. Hold for one second, then return it to the starting position with control. This counts as one rep.
3.Bulgarian Split Squat
Grab a pair of 10-pound dumbbells. Begin by placing the toes of your left foot on a bench, box, stair, or chair, with your right leg straight.
Make sure your right foot is out far enough so that when you lower your hips, your knee stays directly over your ankle.
Bend your right knee, squeeze your left glute, and lower your pelvis toward the ground.
Press your right heel into the ground to straighten your right knee. This completes one repetition.
Lie on your back and place your hands on the floor for stability as you bend one leg and lift the other leg off the ground.
Pressing your heel into the floor, lift your pelvis up, keeping your body in a stiff bridge position.
Slowly lower your body to the floor. This completes one rep.
5. Reverse Lunge With a Knee Drive
Stand with your feet together. Take a controlled lunge (or large step) backward with your left foot.
As you lunge back with your left foot, drive your left arm forward to maintain your balance.
Lower your hips so that your right thigh (front leg) becomes parallel to the floor and your right knee is positioned directly over your ankle. Keep your left knee bent at a 90-degree angle and pointing toward the floor. Your left heel should be lifted.
From the ground, drive your left knee up, coming into a standing position with your left leg lifted at a 90-degree angle. Simultaneously drive your right arm up to maintain your balance.
If it’s too hard to come into the knee drive from the lunge, step your left foot in to meet your right, then raise your left knee up.
This is considered one rep.
Place your right foot firmly on the bench with your left foot directly under your left hip.
Step up, straightening your right leg, bringing both feet completely onto the bench. Slowly bend your right knee, lowering the ball of your left foot back to the ground, keeping your right thigh engaged. This counts as one rep.
7. Weighted Glute Bridge
Grab a medium to heavy dumbbell; 20 pounds is a great starting point. You can also do this exercise using just your bodyweight.
On your mat, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Be sure to keep your feet underneath your knees, not in front. Place the dumbbell on top of your lower abdominals (below your belly button and above your hip bones). Hold the dumbbell in place with both hands to prevent it from moving.
Raise your hips up to the ceiling, tensing your abs and squeezing your butt as you do. You should be making a long diagonal line with your body, from shoulders to knees.
Hold for three seconds, making sure your spine doesn’t round and your hips don’t sag. Keep your abs and butt muscles engaged.
Lower down to the ground; this is considered one rep.
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and raise your right leg, flexing your right ankle and pushing your hips back.
Lower your body while keeping your right leg raised (a squat with one leg). Keep your knees behind your toes and your heels firmly on the floor.
Hold and then return to standing. This completes one rep.
You can use a bench to squat/sit on to work your way toward doing the single-leg squat if needed.
9. Dumbbell Walking Lunges
Stand upright, feet together, with 10-pound dumbbells at your side. Take a controlled step forward with your left leg, lowering your hips toward the floor by bending both knees to 90-degree angles. Your back knee should point toward but not touch the ground, and your front knee should be directly over your ankle.
Press your left heel into the ground, and push off with your right foot to bring your right leg forward, stepping with control into a lunge on the other side. This completes one repetition.
10. Barbell Hip Thrusts
Sitting on the floor with your legs extended, rest your back against a stable bench.
Place a towel or shoulder cushion on the bar for comfort (optional). Roll the barbell over your thighs until the bar is directly above your hip joints.
Brace your core. As you drive your heels into the ground, squeeze your glutes, lifting your hips up to full extension, meaning your hips are even with your knees.
With control, lower back down to the ground.
This is one repetition.