Let’s talk about butts, because let’s be honest – who doesn’t want a nice one? Not only do strong glutes look nice, but developing glute strength also comes with benefits. A solid booty is essential for optimal performance, and it can also decrease the risk of injury for your knees, lower back, hamstrings, and groin. Explosive power in jumps and hip extensions comes from your glutes. So, stronger glutes means more power for your Olympic lifts.
Not only will strong glutes improve your athletic performance, but they can help with your posture and lower body alignment.
Here are five glute exercises you should be adding in to your training routine to build strength and get the booty you’ve always dreamed of.
5 Glute Exercises for a Bigger and Stronger Backside
1. Glute Bridges
This exercise can be done with just body weight, a band around your knees, or a barbell on your hips.
- Lie down on the ground with your feet underneath your knees, about hip width distance apart.
- Activate your glutes while you raise your hips up so they are in line with your knees. Hold for at least one second at the top before descending your hips back to the ground.
- Be sure you don’t hyperextend your low back to get your hips up higher!
- You can add a tempo to make this exercise even more challenging.
2. Sumo Squats
Sumo squats isolate and engage the glutes, making it a very efficient booty exercise.
- Start in a wide stance with toes at a 45-degree angle.
- Keeping your back straight and chest up, start to lower by first pushing your hips back slightly, followed by bending your knees while making sure they are tracing your middle toes.
- Keep your weight in your mid-foot and make sure you are pushing as hard as you can to reach full depth (knees past hips)!
You can make these more challenging by adding weight (holding a kettlebell or dumbbell in front of you), or making these tempo squats (lowering for a 3 count, holding the bottom of the squat for a 3 count, exploding back up). Adding a few sets of 15 reps of these squats into your warmup or accessory work will help lift, tone, and strengthen your glutes.
3. Single Leg Romanian Deadlifts
Single Leg RDLs are great for strengthening glutes and also the musculature of the posterior chain (glutes and hamstrings), as well as your hips and core. As you first start incorporating this exercise into your training regimen, start with just body weight to make sure technique is perfect and you’re moving correctly. To perform this movement:
- Stand one foot with a slight bend in your knee.
- To improve overall stability through the exercise, press through the mid/back of your foot and big and baby toe.
- Hinge your hips back as far as you can without breaking neutral spine.
- Make sure your body stays square to the floor and your pelvis doesn’t tilt.
- Once you feel a mild stretch in your hamstring, return to starting positing by lowering your foot and pushing your hips forward.
Once you feel confident with the movement, you can start using kettlebells or dumbbells. Hold the weight in one hand to do an offset single leg RDL, or in two hands so the weight is straight down the center of your body.
This is another effective exercise that you can do weighted or just with body weight. Lunges are so versatile because you can crank out a lot of reps at high intensity, or do fewer reps with a slow tempo and added weight. You can do walking lunges, stationary lunges, or elevated lunges (Bulgarian split squats). Aside from glute activation, lunges can also improve core strength, hip flexor flexibility, and balance. When performing the lunge…
- Make sure you keep your upper body straight and core tight.
- Whether you are stepping forward or back, push your hips down with your step until your knee is lightly touching the ground. (Don’t bash your knee into the floor.)
- Push your hips back up and step your feet together and stand up all the way to complete the movement.
5. Glute-Ham Raises
For this exercise, you will need a GHD machine, so these would be great to add in as accessory work before or after you train in the gym. This is another underrated exercise that really works your whole posterior chain.
- Start by making sure the GHD is adjusted to fit your body. Place your feet against the footplate in between the rollers and lie face down, with your knees just behind the padding.
- Begin with your torso perpendicular to the floor.
- Squeeze your hamstrings, glutes, and abs and lower under control until your torso is parallel with the floor.
- Return to the start position by pushing toes into footplates and pulling up with your hamstrings, all while continuing to squeeze your glutes.
This is a rather difficult movement — don’t force it! You could experience discomfort and pain if you do so. To start, you may want to use a PVC pipe to help guide you down while you keep your muscles in control and focus on doing the exercise correctly.
Many of these exercise can be done anywhere and anytime, with little to no equipment needed. Sneak them in when you can! Glute activation is important in almost every exercise – so start strengthening your glutes now for increased performance, and the added benefit of building a bigger booty!