The glute muscles are the biggest in the body. Or at least, they should be! How many guys do you know that go to the gym, and skip leg day in favor of more bicep curls? I can think of a few. Well, their loss is our gain, because:
Increasing the size of this large muscle group increases your resting metabolic rate, so you burn more fat while you aren’t in the gym.
The glutes are one of the most important muscle groups to train when it comes to preventing and treating back pain.
Working large muscle groups like the glutes promotes larger releases of hormones which up-regulate muscle building.
So, when it comes to training legs, I always make sure that my exercise selection works the glutes fully. Below are five of my favorite exercises to build bigger and stronger glutes!
If you’re a person who works a sedentary job, or you spend a lot of time sitting, the first thing you need to know is that your glutes might not be ready to go as soon as you step into the gym. When you’re sitting down, the glutes are relaxed and stretched. Sit often enough, for long enough periods of time, and your glutes will fail to do their job correctly when you start lifting weights. Because of this, most people would benefit from starting their workout with a warmup set of hip thrusts. To get the most out of this exercise, it is important to squeeze your glutes as hard as you possibly can on the way up.
The deadlift is the king of exercises for the posterior chain (back of your body). If you’re learning to deadlift, take your time to perfect your technique. You’ll only get the full benefits of this exercise if you’re performing it correctly. To work your glutes fully in a deadlift, squeeze them as hard as you can as you stand up tall.
Although similar to the Hip Thrust, the Glute Bridge (performed with weight) can be an entirely different exercise. As your upper back is resting on a bench, many people are tempted to arch their low back when resting their hips on the floor. Keep your core tight and squeeze your glutes as you raise up from the floor to avoid excessive back arch from robbing you of the best this exercise has to offer.
No exercise program is complete without some form of squat. In addition to working the glutes, the Squat targets the quadriceps, hamstrings and low back. To load up the glutes initiate the movement by sitting your hips back, then down. As always, squeeze your glutes hard at the top of the lift.
While many people think of the plank as a core exercise, in reality, it can be done as a whole body strength exercise, with most of the work being done by the glutes and core. To get the most out of your plank, squeeze your glutes and quads hard and activate your core by drawing your belly button in. In addition to working you harder in a shorter period of time, this version of the plank has better carry-over benefits to other exercises and sports.
So, next time you’re working out try out one of these exercises and really focus on a strong glute contraction. I promise you’ll know it’s worked by the way they feel the next day!
Rastafarian and vegan bodybuilder Torre Washington is a championship-winning IFBB Pro and NASM Certified Coach in physique. Having followed his dream of sculpting a body like the comic book superheroes he grew up idolizing, Torre is our resident muscle-building expert, offering tutorials, full-gym workouts and at-home alternatives to ensure you don’t miss a muscle.
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