If you know me (Matt Whitmore) or have followed Fitter Food for some time, you’ll know I love training my glutes and helping others do the same – and for good reason. The glutes are essential for a strong foundation, injury prevention and for looking smoking hot in and out of clothes. Here are my current 5 fave exercises to target the glutes ensuring they are strong and firm.
So how could you use these exercises? Throw them in with your regular training and try to do 2 of them in a workout 2-3 times a week instead of all in one workout.
Bulgarian Split Squats
I have to say these are hands down my favourite exercise at the moment! My glutes and hamstrings feel every repetition and I always know it in the right places the next day – know what I mean? They’re also a great alternative to regular squats if you have an injury, so I really advocate adding them into your regular training plan.
I prefer to complete mine with a slightly wider than usual stance. By having the front foot a bit further away we engage the hamstrings and the glutes a little more. Feel free to do these using just your bodyweight, with dumbbells in your hands or a barbell on your back.
- Go for 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps on each leg with 45-60s rest
- Get a full range of movement
- Start with your weaker leg first
- Take 3 seconds to lower down and get a brief pause at the bottom to eliminate movement….ouch
Single Leg Hip Thrusts
I prefer the single leg hip thrust purely because I can really focus on each glute individually, which sounds obvious I know but hey. Again these can be done with just your bodyweight but if you can, use a barbell across the hips or resistance bands to help increase the load.
- Go for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps on each side
- Pause at the top for a solid 1-2 second count to really emphasise the contraction on the glute
- Have the foot in position so that your knee is bent to about 90 degrees at the top of the movement
Perform on a nice big step if you can as glutes respond well to a large range of movement. Whilst step ups onto a low box, step or bench will have their benefits, if you try and increase the range a little you’ll really give yourself a great workout. Start with solely your bodyweight if needed and then progress to holding dumbbells in your hands over time.
- Go for 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps on each leg
- Keep the abs braced to support the lower back
- Keep the torso as upright as possible
Warm up, find a hill and sprint up it and see how your hamstrings and glutes feel! Running up an incline is a fantastic way to get the glutes working and the beauty is there’s no equipment needed. Even if you’re not quite ready for hill sprints then some fast paced walking up a good inline will be a great place to start. The glutes respond really well to both heavy loads and fast movements, hill sprints focus on the latter.
- Warm up thoroughly before doing sprints
- Start your sprint with a slow jog for a few metres before turning up the pace to avoid injury
- Perform 5-10 sets of 20, 30, 40 or 50m sprints up a decent incline with 30-90s rest. The longer the distance ran the more rest needed
- When sprinting pump the arms nice and fast to make the sprints more efficient
As I’ve said, the glutes love full range of movement and the goblet squat (whether using a kettlebell or a dumbbell) make it easier or should I say more comfortable to get nice and low on the squat.
- Go for 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps
- Pause at the bottom of the movement for 1-2 to maximise tension and avoid bouncing too much
- Keep the weight through the heels to avoid them coming off of the floor
- Keep the torso as upright as you can
- Keep the abs braced to protect the lower back
So here you have 5 exercises to try out. The key here is consistency and glute activation. Sounds obvious but it’s really important you actively focus on using the glutes to perform these movements instead of mindlessly going through the motions.
I’m currently working on an intensive ‘build your booty’ workout plan for members of our Fitter 365 team. For more exercise plans and video tutorials check out our membership options at www.fitter365.com.