Everyone wants stronger, leaner glutes, but very few people are training in a way that will make it happen. Instead of wasting your time attempting to avoid falling off the Stairmaster as you go up it sideways, try the research-based exercises and nutrition tips on this list!!
#1: Wake Up Your Posterior Chain With a Dynamic Warm-Up
You know that static stretching before workouts is passé, but doing dynamic movements to activate the muscles of the posterior chain is super important because the glutes are a “sleepy” muscle group. When you spend long hours sitting, suffer low back pain, or simply don’t work your glutes sufficiently, they can become inhibited. Get your butt in gear with glute bridges in which you lie on your back with your knees bent and raise up into a bridge.
#2: Train Deadlifts
Deadlifts are your best bet to get great glutes because you can use a lot of weight, and some variations such as the hex bar deadlift are useful because you can train them in a fatigued state to failure, which increases protein synthesis and triggers a metabolic, fat burning effect. Try sumo deadlifts with a side foot placement to increase glute activation.
#3: Do Full-Range Squats
Deep squats in which you go all the way down past parallel activate the glutes much more than partial squats. They also help you strengthen the hamstrings and quads of your thighs in a systematic manner for greater athleticism in the lower body. Two ways to increase glute activation are with sumo squats in which you use a very wide foot placement (double hip width), or place the barbell lower on your back.
#4: Be Explosive
Power exercises such as Olympic lifts and squat jumps require a huge contribution from the glutes. Power moves are great for growing shapely glutes because they require you to generate a lot of force quickly, which activates the highest threshold parts of your muscles that are hardest to train.
#5: Do Bulgarian Split Squats
Unilateral training allows you to increase glute muscle activity and overcome a weak connection from the brain to the muscle. It also equalizes strength levels between the right and left sides of the body. For example, we know from a study of college track athletes that Bulgarian split squat training produced higher glute muscle activity compared to bilateral squats. Instead of putting the rear foot on a bench, use a 4-inch box to avoid hyperextending the back during the down motion.
#6: Focus On Unilateral Training (Single-Leg Training)
Instead of wasting your time pressing the assisted chin-up platform down with each leg, stick with tried and true exercises that will specifically target the glutes. Include step-ups, lunges, and single-leg deadlifts.
#7: Do Glute Hamstring Raises
For targeted glute building, glute ham raises are your go-to exercise that hit the entire posterior chain of the lower back, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and even the abs a little bit. For best results, adjust the footplate so that when your feet are secured, your upper thighs are resting on the center of the bench and you can hang your upper body over the edge. Start with hands on hips and back straight throughout the motion. Progress to hands across your chest and then behind your head to increase difficulty.
#8: Train Reverse Hyper Extensions
The reverse hyperextension is an often overlooked exercise that puts minimal compressive forces on the spine but strengthens the lower back and hamstring muscles along with the glutes for a strong and balanced posterior.
#9: Do Sprints Or Strongman Training
Great glutes can’t have excess fat covering them up. Sprint training is one solution to help you lose body fat in the hips and thighs. For instance, a study of 45 young women found that bike sprints produced an impressive average loss of 2.5 kg of body fat, of which the majority of the fat was lost from the thighs and trunk—an area that is often considered “tricky” for women.
#10: Take Fish Oil
It’s well known that women store more fat around the gluteofemoral hip and thigh area than men. What is less known is that when women have a low percentage of DHA fish oil in the gluteofemoral fat, they’re more likely to experience significant weight gain during pregnancy. DHA fat is essential for the development of a healthy fetal brain, and low levels lead the body to compensate by increasing hunger cues so that women eat more. In contrast, Japanese women have a much higher percentage of DHA in their fat due to high fish intake and are correspondingly leaner.