The gluteus, also know as your booty, is the biggest muscle group in the body.
There are three glute muscles that comprise your behind, including the gluteus medius. No one minds a good looking rear end, but a strong booty is worth so much more to our overall health than aesthetics.
Our glutes are the most powerful muscles in our body, and responsible for any movement of the hip and thigh. This includes sitting, walking, running, and more. Unfortunately, we sometimes forget to use them as we should and instead we rely on our back.
Have you or someone you know ever hurt their back from lifting something heavy? Well, chances are, the injury was caused because the glutes were not engaged. Our glutes should be doing the heavy lifting, not our spine!
Strengthening this area requires good form and concentration. You have to "tell" your glutes to work — they can be lazy.
Weighted Dead Lift
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and parallel.
- Keep your spine long and your gaze forward. Shoulders are back and down.
- Squeeze the glutes as you fold from the hips, bending the knees so that your seat reaches back past your heels. Resist the urge to "give in to the weight" and round your spine.
- Allow your glutes and belly to control your descent and ascent.
Tip: Imagine you have a pole strapped around your torso to help you keep your spine from flexing.
Try a single leg version.
- Reach one leg back, flex the foot and use your glutes to lift the leg as you fold forward from the hips.
- Watch your hips, keep them level, and avoid letting your body weight settle in your standing hip.
Weighted Hip Extension
- Start on all fours with your knees directly under the hips and hands under the shoulders.
- Keep your belly drawn in, shoulders back and down and your spine in one long line. Place a light (3- to 8-pound) dumbbell in the crook of your left knee.
- Use the power of your right glute to balance, and the power of your left glute to lift your left leg up.
- Flex your foot and raise your knee up a little higher than your hips. Maintain your balance by pressing equally down with your hands and opposite knee.
- Repeat 10 times, switch sides, and repeat 2 to 3 sets.
Tip: Use your exhalation as you lift the leg. Keep your neck long. Imagine you are balancing a teacup on your back to keep your ribs from sagging towards the floor.
Add 10 to 15 pulses on the leg lift. Also, you can use a resistance band. Anchor it with your hands and loop in around the arch of your foot. Repeat the same movements with added resistance.
This is a super move that tones your legs and glutes! Sometimes just lunging correctly is challenging enough, so before you add weights, practice a few lunges first.
- Start with your feet parallel and one foot about 2 to 3 feet in front of the other. Square your hips straight ahead.
- Try and keep your front shin vertical and right above the ankle.
- Lower about halfway to the floor by bending both legs equally and keep your torso upright. Resist the urge to power through these. Slow is better for your form and requires more stamina.
- Do 5 to 10 lunges on each side.
Tip: Imagine your back is sliding down a wall and keep your gaze focused on something straight ahead to help you maintain balance.
Try alternating lunges and increasing your repetitions. Be aware of your knee to hip and knee to toe alignment. Keep your front knee behind your foot and tracking straight out of your hip socket.
This move is a staple of any glute workout. You use your core, your legs, your arms, and it provides your upper back with some much-needed extension.
- Start on your back with your arms long by your side and your knees bent. Your legs should be apart approximately the distance of the width of your fist.
- Peel your spine off the mat starting with your tailbone and lift your hips until you feel most of your weight under your shoulder blades. Keep your core engaged.
- Squeeze your glutes and keep your inner thigh engaged. As your body stays lifted and your hips stay level, reach one leg up to the ceiling.
- Start with alternating leg lifts, 4 on each side. Lower your body down and then reset into your bridge. Repeat 3 to 6 times.
Keep your leg lifted and glutes toned by pulsing your toe up to the ceiling 10 times. Repeat 3 to 5 sets.
This move is a major booty blaster and has the added bonus of being dynamic. Which means it can burn major calories.
- Start with your legs shoulder-width apart. Hold the kettlebell or dumbbell in the center of your torso, with your elbows reaching out to the side. Keep your shoulders down and engage your core, with your chest upright.
- As you descend, think of reaching out with your knees. Allow your seat to reach slightly back as your hips flex as if you were about to sit down.
- Start with 3 sets of 8 to 10. As this gets easier, increase the weight.
Lateral squats are the same basic squat but after you stand up, side step to the left, and then squat. Return to center, side step to the right, and squat. Be mindful of your leg, knee, and foot alignment. Make sure your keep your knees and toes tracking in the same direction.
With any exercise routine that’s new to you, it’s important to start slowly. Allow your body to build up the appropriate strength and endurance before you add on additional weight and reps. We all get excited about starting a new program and sometimes it’s hard not to go "all in" when we want immediate results. As hard as it is to remember, be patient and work your way up.
Remember that injuries occur when the body is fatigued. Allow 1 to 2 days for recovery before repeating this workout to give your body the best chance for results. Mix in upper body workouts and core workouts between your glute workouts to get strong and balanced.
Most importantly, love your body and remember to rest, eat well, and stretch. Take care of your body and it will take care of you!