When people think of stronger, sexier glutes, what is the first exercise that comes to mind? If you guessed “squats,” then you are 100% correct. The truth is that spending your entire workout at the squat rack will not yield the results you desire. In order to form your rear like the brand ambassadors on Instagram, you need to target multiple muscle groups at once.
Most men and women are quad dominant, meaning that the quadriceps (front of your thighs) are more activated than other muscles in the lower half of your body during your workouts. One can blame this on the sedentary lifestyle, which causes people to sit for many hours a day. Hinging at the hip flexors causes them and the quadriceps to become tight, while the gluteus and hamstring muscles are stretched or sleeping. If it’s leg day and you want to build a better butt, targeting your quadriceps, which have been engaged all day, is not the optimal way to do so. You have to wake up your posterior muscles in order to balance your lower half, and we have the best exercises for you to do so.
Okay, okay…we know that we said squats are not the go-to exercise for a better butt, but sumo squats are different. These squats help to keep tension in your gluteus muscles, targeting them more than your quadriceps. To begin, stand with your feet about a foot wider than shoulder-width apart. You can hold a dumbbell in between your legs, or you can do this exercise without weights. Keep your weight in your heels and slowly lower your bodyweight down without leaning forward. Once your thighs are parallel to the ground, drive through your heels, engage your glutes, and return to the starting position. Do three sets of 10 reps.
Hip Thrust/Glute Bridge
If you are new to this exercise, you will want to do it without weights. If you are familiar with this exercise, you can alter the positioning by resting your upper back against a bench with your butt on the ground, placing a barbell across your hips and thrusting upwards, using your glutes and hamstrings to lift the weight. But let’s focus on the beginner version of this exercise. To start, lay down on your back with your hands by your sides. Bend your knees and place your feet on the ground several inches from your butt. Drive through your heels and engage your gluteus muscles to thrust your pelvis towards the ceiling. Once you are at the peak of the exercise, lower yourself back down and repeat until you’ve finished your reps. Complete three sets of 8-10 reps.
Single Leg Deadlift
This may become your favorite and least favorite exercise at the same time. The reason for this is because it targets the hamstrings and glutes, working to improve balance, strength, and pelvic stability. This exercise requires you to hold a light weight (10 pound dumbbells are sufficient) to help you balance. To begin, stand with your feet together and hold the weights in both hands, or the hand that corresponds to the leg you will keep on the ground. In a slow, fluid motion, extend your left leg back and bend your right leg ever so slightly. The goal is to hinge at the hip and keep your back straight as it becomes parallel to the ground. The point of extending your free leg behind you is for balance. Return to the upright position and finish your reps before switching to the other leg. Complete three sets of eight reps per leg.
Lying Hip Abduction
This exercise focuses on the exterior of the upper leg, which does not receive a lot of attention. While this exercise is important, you also want to focus on engaging your inner thighs along with your glutes in the other exercises. Lie on either your right or left side with your hips stacked on top of each other. Keep your core and glutes engaged as you lift your top leg toward the ceiling until your leg is at a 45-degree angle. Be sure to stabilize the pelvis by bracing yourself with one forearm on the ground. Return your leg to the starting position and continue until you finish your reps. Complete three sets of 10 reps per leg.
This exercise focuses on strengthening the inner thighs, quads, and glutes. To begin, stand up straight with your feet hip-distance apart. Step your right leg out to the side and shift your bodyweight over your right leg to squat. Bend your knee, but don’t let your knee go beyond your toes. Try to keep your back as straight as possible. Push off your right foot and bring it back to center. Repeat on the left leg to complete one set. Complete three sets of 10 reps.