Squats, squats, and more squats!
You will often hear people saying that squats are the only way to build muscles mass in the glutes, and while they do work for some people, it’s important to remember when working out that one size does not necessarily fit all, and this approach will never work for everyone. Trying a range of different exercises, to find the right mix for you is essential if you’re trying to lose weight around your buttocks, or just tone it into shape.
But before we get into the different types of exercises, first, to be able to effectively build your glutes, you have to know what they actually are. When we say ‘glutes,’ we’re referring to three separate muscles; gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. The largest of the three, the gluteus maximus, is the muscle that will mostly determine the overall shape of the butt and is named so for being the largest muscle in the body. You’ll find the other two, underneath the gluteus maximus.
Daily tasks, like walking or running, use these muscles, but to achieve strengthened muscles, most people don’t realize they have to train them specifically. When training the gluteus muscles, the secret it targeting each one individually, and progressively overload them with high-intensity workouts. This is best achieved with reps from a range of six to twelve and with heavy resistance from bands or weights.
So how do you know which exercises are the best fit for you? Try these five out to find your perfect match!
The glute bridge is a simple enough exercise that will work wonders to activate the muscles in your butt, and it has the added benefit of supporting the lower back. Follow these simple steps to perfect your glute bridge.
- Lie on the ground (best performed on a yoga mat), and bend the knees, making sure your feet are flat on the floor and hip-width apart.
- Place your arms by your sides with the palms facing down and press your feet into the floor.
- Slowly raise your buttocks off the ground until you form a straight line from your knees down to your shoulders.
- Keep your shoulders on the floor and squeeze in your buttocks.
- Bring your buttocks down while continue to squeeze. Once you reach the ground, rest for a couple of seconds.
- Do 3 sets of 15 repetitions, remembering to rest between each for 1-2 minutes.
Lateral Mini Band Walk
The lateral mini-band walk is an exercise that will hit the hard-to-reach gluteus medius. Activating this muscle during this exercise will help to improve your performance in moves like squats and lunges, and thus should be one of the first things you do when shaping your glutes. A mini-band is an essential tool for all training and is often overlooked, especially for glute training. Use these easy to follow steps to perform this exercise.
- Stand with your feet just wider than shoulder length apart and place your mini-band around your calves.
- Slightly bend your knees.
- Step your left foot out to the left, followed by your right, and keep the tension in the band and your feet pointed.
- Continue to move to the left for five steps.
- Then take 5 steps forward, using the same process, 5 steps to the right, and 5 steps to the back, to create a square.
- Rest for 30 seconds and then repeat for 2 more repetitions.
You can find our range of Be Sportify Resistance Bands here, to help you in your quest for the perfect derriere.
Step-Up with Reverse Lunge
The step up and reverse lunge is a great exercise that is not only practical for your glutes, it will also help with balance and stabilization. For this exercise, you will need a step, or if you don’t have one, a bench, or something table that is about knee-level in height.
- Stand in front of your step (or bench) with your feet together.
- With your right foot, step onto the bench and push through your heel to drive your left knee up above your hip.
- Lower your left leg and step backward off the bench. Lunge back with your right leg.
- Return to your starting position, and step up again with your right foot to complete the same steps.
- Repeat 12 times with your right leg leading, and 12 times with your left leg leading.
Lunges are great for all general muscle building in your lower body but especially effective in strengthening the gluteus maximus. They can be done with or without weights. However, it is often recommended that weights be included, as this will help keep your body stable during movement, and also add more intensity to your workout. Use the following steps to complete your lunge exercises.
- If using, take a dumbbell in each hand, preferable to your skill level (it’s important not to strain yourself too much, always work with what you can handle!) and stand with your feet together.
- If possible, find a line on the ground, to act as your start and return point.
- Take your right foot and take a large step forward, keeping the dumbbells by your side. Stop only when your thigh is parallel to the ground.
- Use the back of your heel, rather than your toes, to return your right foot to the starting position. Repeat with the left leg.
- Do 3 sets of 10 reps with each leg.
Lunges also help with hip flexibility. Muscles located around the hip can become very tight and stiff, thanks mainly in part to the sitting lifestyle of most people these days, so even if you’re not working on your glutes, including lunges in your daily workouts is a must!
The Donkey Kick is a great exercise that will target each butt cheek specifically. Make sure to use a floor mat to support your knees and wrists when doing this exercise and always remember to keep your glute muscles working throughout each movement.
- Start on the ground, on all fours with your knees hip-width apart and your hands in line with your shoulders. Keep your neck and spine in a neutral, relaxed position.
- Lift your right leg while keeping the knee bent, the foot flat, and the hip hinged. Use your glute muscles to press your foot towards the ceiling and squeeze when you reach the top. Make sure your pelvis and hip stay pointed towards the ground.
- Lower your leg, and return it to the starting position.
- Repeat with the same leg for 20 reps, and then swap to your other leg.
- Do 4 sets on each leg.
Build a Routine That Suits You!
It’s important to create a routine/workout that feels comfortable for you, while also pushing your boundaries a little bit every time. If things start to feel a little too easy, challenge yourself by adding in more reps or weights. By doing a glute specific workout, you should be able to start seeing results within a couple of months.