Everyone wants great glutes, but truth be told, there is more value in having a strong backside than an attractive one. The good news is that in training for strength and function, you’ll also effectively train for shape and silhouette. (Have you ever seen a sprinter with a flat a--? We didn’t think so.)
Your glutes power hip extension and are used in all manner of sports and activities. The more powerful your glutes, the better you’ll be at running, jumping, squatting, leaping, and lunging. Proper glute training also can help prevent injury. “When the glutes are weak, your hips become misaligned, which can change your gait, lead to pain in your lower back or even cause knee valgus where the knees track inward,” says Hannah Davis, CPT, CSCS, founder of Body by Hannah.
The following 18 moves have been broken into groups of three based on their similarity in hip/gluteal action and muscular activation, and each group contains an A, a B and a C move.
A [ ACTIVATE]
Think of these moves as a sort of pre-workout primer: A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that beginning a workout with download gluteal activation exercises improved explosive power output in a subsequent workout. “It also creates a noticeable difference in your ability to ‘feel’ the glutes firing,” Davis says. Perform these moves with little to no weight and focus primarily on the form. Use them as part of your accessory work/warm-up before heavy training, or place them at the beginning of a leg workout to get all pistons firing.
Dumbbell Kickstand Deadlift
Broomstick Back Squat
Alternating Front Lunge
Single-Leg Hip Thrust
These bread-and-butter moves are those that add quality muscle to your rearview, as well as strength and endurance in all manner of sports. Perform them using moderate weight and work in an eight- to 15-rep range for hypertrophy (building), or use heavyweight and work in the five to eight-rep range for strength and power, Davis advises. Mix them into your regular lower-body rotation, or program them into a metcon or another high-intensity training style such as an AMRAP (as many reps/rounds as possible) or circuit for variety.
Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squat
Barbell Pause Back Squat
Dumbbell Walking Lunge
Side-Lying Dumbbell Hip Abduction
Eccentric Hip Thrust
C [ CRUSH ]
These moves are explosive, intense, and powerful, and adding them to your training will better enable you to crush any athletic goal imaginable. Perform these exercises with little to no weight, and execute each rep with all-out effort. Limit your sets to between one and three (depending on your ability), and keep your reps between five and 10. And because recovery from a plyometric/explosive workout can take up to 72 hours, perform these C moves no more than once or twice a week.
Dumbbell Jump Squat
Plyometric Front Lunge
A Dumbbell Kickstand Deadlift
Hold a set of light dumbbells in front of your thighs and assume a narrow staggered stance with your back knee slightly bent, heel lifted. Keep your weight in your forward foot as you slowly hinge at your hips and fold forward with your back straight until your torso is roughly parallel with the floor. Pause briefly, then slowly stand up. Complete all reps on one side, then switch.
B Barbell Deadlift
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