Focusing on your glutes and strengthening them has become the ‘popular’ thing in fitness as of the past few years.
There seems to be an oversaturation of exercises you can do to build and grow a butt. On so many social media sites it is very easy to find many a person showing off their favorite glute movement.
Why grow a butt though?
The main reason seems to be the aesthetics for most people, afterall we workout to look good 🙂 But besides having aesthetic benefits building your booty overall (perkiness, density, and musculature) exercising your behind makes you stronger, fit and it is important for all athletes in their respective sports.
An added benefit that I have personally seen is that a lot of my imbalances due to my body being a certain way from life use and my anatomy have greatly improved with strengthening my glutes.
Now I have put together a few exercises that can either be done as a warm up for a compound lift day such as a back squat strength day (pick 1 or 2 of the movements and do 2 sets at light weight for 5-8 reps), or as a finisher after a lower body day (pick one movement and think about doing 1-2 sets for many reps anywhere from twenty to fifty), or by combining all the movements they can be their own circuit (and if that’s the case pick one movement as the strength and make it for less reps at a heavier weight but not too challenging and the rest of the movements can be done for a lot of reps; try 8-12 at a lighter weight) and just cycle through them for maybe 4-5 sets.
Movement #1 The Hip Thrust
This is probably the most popular glute ‘isolation’ exercise that is utilized by novice exercisers to athletes alike. This is a movement that you can definitely get heavy on, increase weight on over time for measuring progress and also cycle it for many sets and reps at light weight.
First make sure you have a barbell squat sponge or barbell pad as the barbell will be over your pelvis.
Place a bench against a wall so that it does not slide, then add weight to a barbell (start off light if you have never done this exercise before), sit in front of the bench, slide the barbell over your hips, make sure that the sponge or pad is in place then get ready to pick up the barbell by using your hips only. You will have to adjust your shoulders to be on the bench and keep a neutral spine so that may mean you will have to tuck your chin to your chest.
Grasp the barbell with your hands but here your glutes will be doing the work and bring the barbell until your hips reach full extension and then come back down but only until your hips reach flexion and repeat. Not only is this a glute exercise though but it also utilizes the hamstrings, quads, adductors and back strength is not a factor for this lift.
Movement #2 Feet Elevated Glute Bridge
Now very similar to the hip thrust it is a good movement for circuits or activation but not strength.
The biggest difference is that the lower half of your body will be elevated by either having your feet on a box or bench while your shoulders will be driving through the floor.
With your shoulders on the floor and either the balls of your feet of heels on the bench you should have your hands to the side and on the floor as well to help you maximize the extension of the hips.
Push through the feet and aggressively bring up the hips squeeze and come all the way back down to have your butt on the floor.
Movement #3 Barbell Good Morning
I like to think of the good morning as an upright hip thrust. Instead of the weight being over the pelvis the weight of the barbell is on the shoulders.
There are more differences though, you start off in a standing position and there is more range of motion when you push your hips backwards.
You unrack the barbell by placing it on the traps and stepping away from the rack. Brace your spine by taking in a belly breath (your lower core muscles on your lower back will be doing a lot of work on this movement so brace!) While keeping a slight bend in the knees and a tight back push your hips back, your glutes and hamstrings will fire up but do not let your neck fall (I should see your face and not the top of your head).
The same as the previous movements you want that hip extension and tight squeeze at the finish of the good morning.
Movement #4 Bulgarian Split Squats
This movement is tough and can be weighted or not. It is also extremely great at fixing imbalances since it is a single leg exercise.
This is one of my favorites even though it is killer. The reason being is that it allows you to be more upright in the torso as opposed to any of the above movements and especially conventional squats but at the same time most people can have a lot more range of motion on the lowering part of the exercise so then there is more soreness the next day on the booty.
Place the top of your shoe on a bench (this requires balance) think of the part where the shoelaces start and your other foot will be the front foot. Find the position where the front foot will be comfortably in front of the bench but still allowing for the heel to stay grounded. Also make sure that your stance is not so narrow as this can complicate the knee position. Afterall you still want to keep the mechanics of a squat.
Drive through the front foot, keep your torso tall, and lower yourself as low as you can go, come up and squeeze!
Once you are comfortable with no weight you can load with weight to the side or even front or back rack variations.