By Lisa Rhea
Despite the recent big booty movement, most people are sorely in need of glute training. Men and women alike can benefit from a stronger backside. Your derrière muscles are so important, a properly strengthened set can correct posture, make you a better athlete and even cure and prevent back pain.
The solution is not as simple as you think. Most trainers preach squat, lunge, deadlift, etc., to get a stronger, better butt. However, your glutes may be so unconditioned, they have forgotten how to fire properly and all the squats in the world won’t wake them up.
Even seasoned athletes may not be recruiting their glutes during their workouts, due to excessive sitting, prior injury, or lack of use. All of these things can lead our glute muscles to simply remain inactive while other muscles of the posterior chain take over.
The answer is to activate the glutes and train them in isolation. Using simple body weight exercises and resistance bands is a great way to do this. Whether you need to activate your tush or simply want a stronger, more shapely backside, this workout is for you.
These exercises can be done in a circuit three times a week and will help activate, lift and shape your rear, while improving running and overall athletic performance. If you’re looking to add some size back there, these are a great precursor to squats, barbell hip thrusters and weighted lunges.
Glute Bridge/Hip Lift
Lay on your back with your arms by your side. Pull your heels in towards your hands and lift your hips, pushing through the heels and squeezing through the buttocks. Imagine trying to hold a quarter between your cheeks. Hold for a count of three and release. Complete 15-20 repetitions, rest and repeat 3-4 times. For added difficulty, change to a five count and on counts four and five, lift through the toes.
Single-leg Crook Bridge
In the same position, lift one leg towards your chest and hold at the knee. Lift the hips, squeezing through the glute. Hold for a count of three. Release and complete 15-20 repetitions for each leg, for a total of 3-4 sets. For added difficulty, like above, switch to five counts and raise to the toe for counts four and five.
Squat Pulse with Band
Place a band above your knees around your lower thighs (do not place on the actual knee joint). With your feet at or slightly wider than shoulder distance, place your weight in your hips and squat down to parallel. While holding in the bottom position, pulse your knees outward. This small movement will add a big burn! Pulse 15 times, come up to standing, squat down again and repeat 10 times.
High Band Shuffle
Keeping the band just above the knee, take a wide squat stance. Keeping tension the entire time, take 10 small steps to the left, then back to the right. Rest and repeat for 3-4 rounds. be sure to press through the heels as you side step and stay low in a squat position.
Low Band Shuffle
This is an advanced version of the above exercise. You’ll find it’s much more difficult. It’s important to keep the squat stance as you shuffle. Be conscientious about keeping your knees out and do not allow them to cave in as you step.
Place a band around your ankles and stand with your feet shoulder or hip-width apart. Balancing on one leg, slowly raise the other leg behind you, keeping your hips squared to the front. Pulse at the top, and lower back down. Complete 15 repetitions on each leg for 3-4 sets.
Try this workout and let me know what you think! I’d love to hear your feedback.