ΤHere it is very interesting to have strong buttocks. They help us with athletic achievements such as running faster and jumping higher, but also daily activities such as climbing stairs or getting in and out of a car. (Also: They do not hurt when they are about to roll up a pair of jeans.)
“Because the buttocks are at the center of our body, they are involved in most of our fundamental movements,” explains Daniel Richter, a certified personal trainer and co-founder of StrengthLog. “As we grow older, our buttocks become one of the most important muscles in maintaining our freedom of movement, including the ability to make daily movements, such as simply getting up from a chair.”
Seeing that we spend so much of our day sitting in front of computers or a car, working their buttocks prevents them from lengthening and starting to feel overly tight, says Heather Carroll, certified personal trainer and owner of A Balanced Life Training . He adds that the glutes help to keep our pelvis in alignment with the spine to maintain optimal posture. “The gluteus muscles work directly with the core muscles, keeping the pelvis facing the ground instead of leaning back or forward,” he says.
Fortunately, there are seemingly endless ways to strengthen our buttocks. But what is really effective? When it comes to the best way to strengthen the buttocks – which consists of the maxillary gluteus, middle gluteus maximus and gluteus maximus – many of us are not really sure what exercises to do. We asked three personal trainers to complete their favorite moves for maximum results that you can do yourself at home or in the gym.
Richter says the classic squat is a great base for any lower body workout. “The squat works your buttocks in a wide range of motion, stretching your muscles under load at the bottom of the squat,” he says. “Working a muscle in a wide range of motion under load has been shown to be important for muscle growth and strength.” Science supports it: A 2019 study showed that performing deep squats resulted in double the improvements seen in half squats, despite training with lighter loads.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, your shoulders back, your chest up and your core involved.
- Bend your knees and sit your hips all the way back, as if reaching to your buttocks backwards to sit in a chair while leading your arms forward in front of you for compensation.
- When your thighs are parallel to the floor, press your heels to get up again.
- Complete 20 to 50 repetitions.
2. Hip promotions
Hip push-ups, which can be performed with a barbell or hip push-up machine, use a hip extension to target the buttocks. “One advantage of pushing the hip is that it is easy to find and maintain constant muscle contact throughout the workout, which can be beneficial for muscle growth,” says Richter. “Aim for a wide range of motion for best results and gradually increase the weights in each workout.”
- Place your shoulders on a bench with your body bridged from the side so that your knees are bent 90 degrees, your legs are shoulder-width apart and your hips are on a table.
- Hold weights or a barbell on your hips.
- Lower your hips to the floor and then raise them until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
- Complete 10 controlled repetitions per set.
3. Bulgarian split squats
Because you stand on one foot at a time, Bulgarian split squats work with hip stabilizers — the medial gluteus and the medial gluteus. “Working one foot at a time also means that you can find and smooth out any differences in strength from one to the other, although it is perfectly normal to be a little more stable on one side and the other,” says Richter.
- Stand about three feet in front of a bench or one step, facing out, with the top of your back foot on the bench behind you. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and your front foot should be wide enough forward so that when you fall for a walk, your front knee does not extend beyond your toes.
- Keeping your shoulders back and your core engaged, bend your front knee to fall on a split leg.
- When the thigh of your front foot is parallel to the ground, press your heel to return to an upright position.
- Complete eight to 10 reps per leg per set.
- For an extra challenge, you can load this squat by holding dumbbells in each hand with your hands down to the sides.
Kent Probst, a certified personal trainer and fitness trainer through the Long Healthy Life Blog, likes that death lifts mimic the function of the buttocks in everyday life, like picking something up from the ground.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your arms at your sides, and a dumbbell in front of each ankle.
- Bend your knees to sit your hips as far back as possible until you reach and grab the weights while keeping your back straight and your chest high.
- Activate your core to lift the dumbbells while lifting your body to an upright position. Your back should be straight and the weights should be perpendicular to your shins.
- Sit your hips back again to slowly lower the weights back to the floor. Hold your chin up and look ahead.
- Perform 10 to 12 repetitions per set.
5. One-legged buttocks bridges
“This exercise is similar to pushing the hip, but using one leg at a time makes it more difficult even without weights,” says Richter. Adds that it is a great exercise for improving the stability of your hip for running and other athletes.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent, one foot on the floor and one straight in the air.
- Squeeze your buttocks to lift your hips until your body is in a long line from your knees to your shoulders.
- Hold and push for a breath, then slowly lower.
- Repeat 15 times and then change sides.
6. Weighted donkey kicks
Carroll likes this exercise because it works on both the buttocks and thighs and can go forward or down by adding or removing weight.
- Climb on all fours with an ankle weight on each ankle.
- Raise your right leg behind you, keeping the 90-degree bend at the knee so that the shin is perpendicular to the roof, then return to the start.
- Aim for 15 reps on each side.
7. Fire hydrants
Reaching your leg to the side, Carroll says this exercise works on your middle glute.
- Climb on your arms and knees in a table position with your core tight, your back flat and the weights of your ankles on your ankles.
- Use your core to stabilize your hips while lifting your right leg straight to the side, keeping your knee bent.
- Return to the starting position.
- Aim for two sets of 15 reps per side.
This Pilates exercise activates the rotator cuff muscles at the base of your buttocks, says Carroll. “This is also great for working the muscles that need to turn quickly and change directions.” To proceed with the exercise, he says, add a loop around the middle of the thighs.
- Lie on one side with your knees bent at 45 degrees with your heels aligned just below your bones. Spread your core to lift the heels off the floor, feet together, to align with the tail.
- Rotate the upper knee open, keeping the hips stable and the heels connected.
- Bend your knees to return to the starting position.
- Complete two sets of 15 to 25 reps per side.
9. Reverse glider missiles
If you do not have access to glider disks, you can use towels on the floor for this exercise. Carroll says this is great for functional movements, such as climbing stairs or lifting something heavy off the ground.
- Stand with your feet together and a paraglider or towel under your right foot.
- Slide your right foot backwards while bending both knees at 90 degrees so that you are in reverse motion.
- Push down through the heel of the left foot, lock the buttocks and thighs hindquarters and push upwards to the starting position.
- Do 12 to 15 reps per side.
So how often should you do these butt exercises?
Although you do not have to do all of these exercises every time you train, mixing and matching three or four in your regular workouts will give you the variety you need to build well-rounded, strong buttocks.
You can do butt exercises every day if you only train lightly, says Richter. “If you do more demanding workouts, one to three times a week is generally a good idea, with a sweet spot about twice a week.” As you become more advanced, you can increase the volume of your workout, notes Richter. “But if you’re just starting out, be careful not to overdo it!”
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