In the world of athletics, much of the power needed to generate force and speed is derived from the glutes with the hips being the pivotal point. When strengthened as a part of the posterior kinetic chain, athletes with strong glutes will experience a tremendous boost within their ability to move directionally in an extremely efficient and highly effective manner. In the physique world, it's just all about how those glutes look; how firm you can get them, how round you can get them or how striated you can get them. The glutes is an area that both men and women should focus on and include within their programs so that the body continues to strengthen as a whole which will improve training performance as well as the rear view you are trying to achieve. Here then are 3 great exercises that will help you build glorious glutes.
Exercise #1: Wide Stance Smith Machine Squats
You might have thought that the first exercise I would list here would be your standard free weight barbell squat, and for good reason. That exercise certainly helps build the glutes but as a byproduct of building the quadriceps and hamstrings as well. However, if you're focusing on solely targeting the glutes, I think the smith machine is a better option and here's why. In a smith machine, you can alter your stance so that your feet are much further ahead of you when compared to a free weight barbell squat because you can lean back and into the bar without worrying about falling backwards. This will shift the tension to the glutes first so that they will engage as the primary muscle group moving the weight back up. Widen your stance to further enhance glute engagement and make sure to squeeze those glutes at the top of each rep. Also, be sure to stay on and drive through your heels with each rep you perform to keep the tension on the area you're targeting. A great pair of flat soled training shoes such as the Tactical Trainer by Heyday Footwear will help you with this.
Exercise #2: Long Stride Walking Lunges
As mentioned in the introduction of this article, the glutes play a major role in mobility so as such, it only makes sense to include an exercise that couples mobility with resistance. The best exercise for doing that is the long stride walking lunge. I would suggest that you map out an area in your gym where you will be able to complete your strides within at least a 15-20 yard distance if you can. If that space is not available to you inside, then take your lunges outside to the parking lot where there should be lots of room. With a dumbbell in each hand or a barbell on your shoulders or even just your body weight alone, lunge with an extended stride to lengthen and stretch out the glute first, firmly plant your foot on the surface below paying close attention to keeping the pressure on your heel which will be firmly secured in your Super Shift Training shoe, engage the glute first by flexing it followed by the hamstring and then quadriceps, give the glute a good squeeze as you transition in to taking your next step and then repeat. The pump you will get from doing this will be crazy so enjoy the roundness that will ensue.
Exercise #3: Barbell/Machine Glute Bridges
The final exercise I would like to see included in a proper glute workout is the barbell or machine glute bridge. You can perform this exercise with a padded barbell, in the smith machine or if your gym has the glute bridge machine, then use that. Either way, the glute bridge is an excellent exercise for focusing on the contraction portion of the rep to really carve out those striations or to maximize the pump to get that roundness you are trying to achieve. I think it's really important to remember just how strong your glutes actually are, even if you haven't been training them seriously, so don't shy away from using some good weight here. Set yourself up so that the padded part of the barbell or the pad from the machine lies directly across the front of your hip flexors and your back is resting on the bench underneath you at just below your shoulders. Plant your feet firmly on the floor beneath you, again keeping the pressure on your heels in your flat soled Heyday shoes. Then, slowly lower your hips as close to the floor below as you can, pause to allow you to engage the glutes and then proceed to push the bar back up into place with a hip thrust finishing off with an extreme squeeze. Keep the weight heavy and the reps high and you'll have full and round or ridiculously striated glutes in no time.
Whatever your goal may be here, it's just good practice to include some form of direct glute training within your programs with each week that passes. It will improve your functional movement patterns, help you in achieving the look you're after and maybe more importantly than anything else, increase the likes on your social media accounts ;)
Author: Dana Bushell
AST Sports Science sponsored athlete/writer, sponsored by Schiek Sports Inc.