10-28-2015

5 Glute Exercises To Add To Your Workout

My glute strengthening workout post is one of my most popular posts on my blog and Pinterest, so I figured I would do a follow up and talk more about my favorite glute exercises.

While squats DO target your glute muscles, there are many other exercises that work them as much, if not more. Also, doing a proper barbell squat is challenging, and if you do not have correct form you are risking injury. I’ve seen many people load up the bar with a ton of weight, yet do not have the right form for it. Here are some of my tips for working on your squat form.

Anyway, let’s go through 5 exercises where you will definitely feel the burn!

Add these glute exercises into your workout routine to work that booty!

Hip Raises

There are so many ways to do these, that I guess this list actually won’t be 5 exercises ;)

If you’re just starting out, I suggest doing bodyweight hip raises. Lay on your back, lift your butt and hips up, squeeze your glutes and pause for a second, then lower. To make it more challenging, put your feeet on a bosu ball. To make it even MORE challenging, place your feet on a Swiss ball. I’ll show you that variation here:

swiss-ball-leg-curl

When doing the exercise, really focus on squeezing your glutes and raising your hips as high as you can. You should feel this in your hamstrings and glutes.

Once you feel like you’re ready to add weight, you can do weighted hip raises with a barbell across your lap. I do these laying on the floor, but you can also do them with your shoulders on a bench (shown below):

barbell_hip_thrust-the-30-best-legs-exercises-of-all-timeSource

I’m telling you, you will feel this in your hammies and glutes!

TRX Single Leg Squat

I am not yet able to do a single leg squat/pistol squat on my own, so I use a TRX. Trust me, you will still feel it the next day. The TRX stabilizes you until you’re able to do a single leg squat on your own. By using it, you’ll also get the added bonus of a little arm workout ;) Here’s how to do it:

TRX_SingleLegSquat_734x1000Source

As always, make sure to keep your chest up and shoulders back throughout the exericse. If you need one cue that is good for any exercise, it’s that one. Chest up, shoulders back.

Banded Walks

I talked about this in my previous glute strength post, but banded walks are a great way to target your sometimes neglected Glute Medius. It looks easy but it is not. I remember my personal training clients hating this exercise. I should actually do it more often because it is really important for runners to have a strong, stable Glute Medius, which helps with hip strength.

Front Foot Elevated Split Squat

This exercise will target more of your quad than glute, but you’ll still activate glutes as well. It’s a great way to make the normal split squat more challenging, and works on your stabilizer muscles as well.

Keeping your chest up and shoulders back, you’ll lower yourself down as low as you can, then come up. Your front foot wil be up on a step or small box.

Dumbbell_Box_Split_SquatSource

Bulgarian Split Squats

These are my nemesis. I have a love/hate relationship with them. They are so challenging and I get so sore the next day…yet you know that means you’re getting stronger.

This exercise is the opposite of the front foot elevated. In this one, your back foot is elevated on a bench. If you don’t think you’re ready for this yet, you can do a rear foot elevated split squat first, where your rear foot is elevated on a small step or box (like the image above).

With Bulgarians, you have to make sure your knees are tracking in the right direction, and that your knee doesn’t go over your toes. You should be lowering yourself straigth down. It might take a few tries and adjustments to figure out the right position for you. Once you do figure it out, place a towel or water bottle where your foot was so you can easily get back into position after your rest.

I recommend starting off with just bodyweight, and working up to adding weights. This one really targets those glutes and is also another great exericse for runners!

Split-SquatSource

The photo source for the image above is actually a link for “7 benefits of the Bulgarian split squat,” so you should check it out! Here’s one of their 7 reasons:

If you want to end up having a booty like the famous J.Lo, you better stop neglecting the Bulgarian split squat right away. It’s the best exercise to lift your butt.

Want to make these into a workout? I recommend splitting it up into separate days. Also, make sure you pair glute/hamstring dominant exericses with quad dominant exercises. For example, here’s a workout with some of the above exercises:

  • A1: Hip raises on Swiss Ball
  • A2: Front foot elevated split squat
  • B1: Banded walks
  • B2: TRX singl leg squat
  • Continue with other exercises (arms, abs, etc.)

Which of these do you regularly include into your routine?

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03-05-2014

Glute Strengthening Exercises

We all know what kinds of exercises strengthen your glutes…but what about the smaller glute medius? This muscle is very important for hip stability and strength. If you’re a runner, then pay extra attention to this post ;)

I got the idea for this post when “The Strength Guys” wrote about foam rolling and strengthening weak muscles. I asked them about how I foam roll the outside of my hip/IT band area because it is really tight, and they suggested also strengthening my glute medius and hip external rotators.

glute strengthening exericsesBackground Image via Scott & White Healthcare

This concept isn’t new to me – I have gone to physical therapy a couple of times during marathon training and was told my hips are weak. As a personal trainer, I used to have clients warm up with a few of these exercises, and also incorporate them into their programs in order to strengthen the overall hip area. Now I just need to be better with doing it myself!

The Strength Guys recommended a few exercises to me, which I wanted to share with you. If you are experiencing any IT band pain, or your outer hips are really tight (try foam rolling, if they’re tight it will hurt), then try adding these into your training routine, or at least into your warm-up.

Exercises

Clam With A Band

 You can do these without a band too, but the band adds great resistance.

Fire Hydrant

I do these as a warm-up before leg days, but I like the added band resistance.

Lateral Step With Band

I had my clients do this as a warm-up before every session. Trust me, you will feel this one and instantly know if your glute medius is weak! Start with 5-7 steps on each side and work your way up.

Crouched Band Monster Walk & Sumo Walk

A variation of the lateral step.

Side Lying Leg Raise

Add a band for more resistance.

I highly suggest incorporating some of these into your routine, as a warm-up and as strength work. According to The Strength Guys, strengthening areas that have trigger points can help you rely less on a foam roller, and instead strengthen those areas so they become looser. But in my opinion, if a foam roller helps you feel better than incorporate that too!

I like to foam roll before lifting as a way to increase mobility temporarily, and I foam roll after to get out some kinks. But I do also try to work on weak areas…I just need to be better about focusing on my hips!

Here are some items discussed in this post that can help you with your strength training:

  • Mini resistance bands
  • Dumbbells – I recommend getting a light set and heavy set if you mainly work out at home. Or if you only work out at home, consider investing in an adjustable dumbbell set.
  • Small plyo box – one of my favorite glute exercises are step-ups…also great for plyo moves like box jumps!

Do you do any of these exercises regularly?

Are you guilty of ignoring your smaller glute muscles?

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