Improving strength in your gluteal muscles (or, in the common tongue, the butt) is not just great for aesthetic purposes - it's key for developing practical, everyday strength. Toning and conditioning your glutes can help you avoid lower-body injuries, improve athletic performance, improve posture, develop a stronger back and core, and better your overall health.
So what are the best exercises you can do to get your glute muscles in top-notch shape? Here are the five best glute exercises out there:
1. Kettlebell Swings
Kettlebell workouts are all the rage, and for a good reason. They're tremendous workouts. For this one, grab a kettlebell of comfortable weight (don't go too high or too low) and stand with your legs spread slightly wide, the weight in your heels, and knees slightly bent. Holding the kettlebell with both hands, swing the kettlebell first between your legs and then straight up, driving forward with the hips, and then repeat. This is a tricky exercise to master, but it's a great one to add to your repertoire.
Ah, the classic squat. This is one of the best exercises for the entire body (it works out tons of the biggest muscle groups), but it's especially great for the gluteal muscles. To begin, stand up with your feet at your hip level. Bend down at the knees with your backside sticking out as you keep your upper body stable and engaged. Make sure that you keep your knees behind your toes as you do this. Raise back up by pushing into your heels and repeat. As you get better and become more familiar with the squatting motion (and only after you have the motion down cold) you can add in some weights - either dumbbell weights or barbell weights - at shoulder level to boost the intensity.
3. Hip Thrusters
A very beneficial exercise, not only for your glutes - but your hamstrings and quads as well. Lie down on a flat surface and spread your arms wide, with your shoulder blades touching the floor. Keep your feet flat on the floor and your knees at a 90-degree angle. Engage your core, squeeze your glutes, and move your hips up for a natural thrust. Keep your neck in a neutral position as you lift. As you get more comfortable with this exercise, you can try doing it with one leg, or with weights.
Lunges are a tremendously helpful exercise when it comes to building muscle and strength in the glutes. There are many different modifications of lunges - and feel free to experiment with variations like weighted lunges, lateral lunges, and pylo lunges as you continue working - but let's get the basics down first. Stand up on a flat surface and step your left or right foot forward, then lower your hips until both knees reach an approximately 90-degree angle. Keep your core stabilized as you do this exercise. When one leg is done, repeat with the other leg. Another tip: Don't let your low-to-the-ground knee touch the floor.
5. Side Planks
This is an easy and fun exercise that is great for both the core and the glutes. It's also easy to do just about anywhere! To do it, lie on a flat surface on your side, propped up with your elbow and with your feet stacked up (you'll see why they call this a "plank"). Try your best to maintain your balance for as long as possible, and then move to the opposite elbow. As you get better at this exercise, switch it up by moving your top leg up and down as you maintain the plank, while keeping your core stable. It might take some time and practice, but you'll get it!
Of course, exercise and training is only half the battle when it comes to getting stronger, in the glutes and elsewhere. Proper nutrition, recovery and supplementation is the other. Click on HERE to checkout our exercise library