The glutes, your body’s largest and most powerful muscle group, deserve more of your attention. Why? Because desk life does them a major disservice. Sitting at a computer, on a couch, and in a car or subway seat all day leads to weak glutes and tight hip flexor, and that has a cascading effect on the body.
It’s past time to give your glutes some extra TLC. Your pants will fit better, you’ll get a spring in your step, and you might just get a little extra attention when you hit the town. Add the following moves to your workout routine for a better-looking, better-performing butt.
Glute Workout Plan
|Exercise||Sets & Reps|
|Hip Thrust||4 x 8-12 reps|
|High step/reverse lunge combo||3 x 8-12 reps|
|Hip Extension||3 x 12-15 reps|
|Kettlebell Swing||3 x 20 reps|
|Cable Pull-through||2 x 30 reps|
|Band/Side Lying Clam||2 x 30 reps (per side)|
1. Hip Thrust
You may have to improvise with the set up if using a barbell, as you’ll need support behind the bench or step, to avoid it tipping over (bodyweight/band variations tend to be okay). There is a specific piece of equipment called The Hip Thruster for this, but they’re not very common in gyms at the moment.
- Place/roll a bar across your hips – you might want to use a foam pad around the bar for comfort, and position your upper back on top of a bench or step.
- Move your feet out so when flat, your shin is approximately vertical.
- If you feel the hamstrings working in the top position (image B), bring your feet slightly closer to the bench.
- On the other hand, if your weight pushes through the balls of your feet rather than your heels, move your feet slightly further away.
- From here, tense your abs and squeeze your glutes.
- Now push as hard as you can through your heels and lift the bar up with your hips until your body is in line with the top of the bench and your shin is vertical.
- Make sure you squeeze your glutes as hard as you can at the top, rather than using your lower back and overarching.
- Do the reverse to lower the bar back to the ground under control.
- Sets: 4 – Reps: 8-12
2. High Step/Reverse Lunge Combo
While single-leg exercises aren’t solely focused on your glutes, they can be very useful for development and strength.
- Place one heel on a step/bench and lean forward at a 45 degree angle (this forward lean increases glute activation, in comparison to standing upright).
- Push through the heel of your front leg until you’re standing on the step.
- Make sure all of the work is being done by your front leg, and that you’re not using your back leg to help.
- Lower yourself back to the ground under control, using the front leg as a brake against gravity.
- Sets: 3 – Reps: 8-12 (per leg)
3. Hip Extension
This one is very similar to a back extension, with a slight twist – instead of targeting the lower back, here we’re just targeting your glutes. In the example I’m using a Swiss Ball, but if you have access to a back extension machine you can use that instead.
- Position yourself with your hips on top of the Swiss Ball.
- Place your feet against the wall, somewhere outside shoulder-width, flare your feet at around 45 degrees and slightly bend your knees.
- Cross your arms across your chest, push your hips into the ball and squeeze your glutes hard to lift the upper half of your body off the ball.
- Make sure you keep your chest over the ground rather than arching your lower back and facing your chest to the wall.
- Sets: 3 – Reps: 12-15
4. Kettlebell Swing
As well as being an awesome exercise for strengthening and building shape in your glutes, the swing can also act as an amazing cardio workout!
- Stand with your feet around shoulder-width, with a slight bend at your knees.
- Pull your shoulder blades back and squeeze them together, and start to swing the kettlebell between your legs, keeping a straight back through the whole movement.
- Push your hips back, and keep them at the same height through the swing, instead of ‘squatting’ the kettlebell up.
- Drive your hips and the kettlebell forward to shoulder-height, as explosively as possible using your glutes (not your lower back).
- The momentum you generate with your glutes should be enough to raise the kettlebell up to that height, without using your arms or shoulders.
- Sets: 3 – Reps: 20
Related article: Gain Size And Strength For Monster Legs In 4 Weeks
5. Cable Pull-through
Use a rope connection at the bottom of a cable machine (you can also do this with a resistance band if you don’t have access to a cable machine).
- Stand with your feet around shoulder-width, with a slight bend at your knees, with your back to the cable machine.
- Holding the rope connection, walk forward from the machine.
- Move your hips backwards towards the cable stack, passing the rope through your legs.
- Keep your hips at the same level and your back straight at all times.
- Still holding onto the rope, drive your hips forwards away from the cable machine and squeeze at the end of the movement.
- Make sure you use your hips and glutes to complete the movement, rather than using your arms to move the rope forwards.
- Sets: 2 – Reps: 30
Related article: The Ultimate 100 Squat Reps in 10 Minutes Legs Day Challenge
6. Band/Side Lying Clam
All the exercises we’ve gone through so far have been in a forward motion using hip extension, however the glutes also have another function – abduction (moving your leg away from the centre line). Side lying clams cover this particular movement.
- Lie on your side with your elbow under your shoulder, supporting your upper body.
- Place one foot on top of the other, and bend your knees.
- Lift your knee back as far as possible, putting tension on the band, and squeeze your glutes as hard as you can.
- You should feel this one in the top part of your bum, which will be different to any of the above exercises.
- Alternatives to this would be fire hydrants or seated abduction.
- Sets: 2 – Reps: 30 (per side)