Everyone has part of their body that they are not happy with and want to change. For some it might be the calves, for others the chest, back, arms – the list goes on and on.
For me, it has always been the glutes! And I know it’s important to love your body and the faults that come with it BUT if you can improve things, than why not?
Since I was a child I wanted the big Brazilian butt that pretty much every brazilian girl had back home – except for me, lol.
In this article I will talk about my experience, and tell you about exercises for beautiful glutes!
Let’s start back in 2015 when I first started training with my boyfriend Paul. I remember showing him a picture of a fit girl on the internet and asking him if he could make me look like that. kkk (like if we could just copy someone’s body like that lol).
I was curios about training and had a huge desire to get the body I wanted. Paul had incredible patience, knowledge and the willingness to help me. Together, we made the perfect match!
Of course, Paul had to teach me everything from scratch like everyone else who just started.
The FIRST THING he focused on was my posture when doing the exercises, which I think is the most important thing to get right, if you want to avoid injuries – not only injuries while you are training, but also long-term injuries. Problems with your posture can affect you for the rest of your life, so you’ve got to make sure you are performing the exercises correctly.
So always remember guys, if you want to improve your body, and gradually improve your weights, make sure your posture is GREAT. Otherwise, you may not get what you want and on top of it, hurt yourself, which will put you off training for a while.
We’ll start with my 5 favourite lower-body exercises that are a MUST for great legs and glute building, along with things to look out for when performing those movements.
- Hip Thrust
From my own experience, and also scientifically proven by the glute master Bret Contreras, this is THE BEST exercise for ACTIVATING AND STIMULATING GLUTEAL GROWTH.
When performing this exercise you want all the stress on your butt not your lower back. You need to concentrate on making the push come from the glute, keeping your spine neutral. Make sure you neck is tucked in, facing forward.
A few easy tips:
- Keep your knees out
- Feet slightly pointing outwards
- Neck tucked in
- Push through your heels.
- Give one second pause/glute squeeze at the top of the movement
Here is a video of how this exercise should be performed.
Some people prefer narrow-stance squats, others wide-stance. Both are fine. You just have to find what works best for you. Personally, I like a slightly wider stance as it helps my balance.
When showing clients how to do a squat, I like to keep instructions to a minimum. So here we go:
- When squatting make sure you sit back. Imagine you are sitting on a box. The hips should move backwards always.
- Push your knees out at all times.
- At the bottom of the position, engage your glutes FIRST and than come up.
I often see people squatting with massive weights, but with half range of motion, like a half squat. Here is a tip: It is more efficient if you take the weight down, and try increasing the range of motion and posture first. Once you nail that, you can gradually increase the weight.
You can click here to watch the instructional video of the squats.
The most common mistakes I see with lunges are either people leaning forward when stepping or letting their knees go past their toes, this puts a lot of pressure on the knees and doesn’t effectively target the glute and hamstring muscles.
So when doing lunges:
- Pick a fixed point in front of you to look at (that will help you to balance).
- Keep your upper body straight
- Take a big step forward until the front knee is bent at around 90 degrees and in line with the feet.
- Engage you glutes, and than come back to starting position. Most of the force that brings you up should come from the front leg and glutes, the back leg is only helping you to balance.Click here to watch the instructional video of a lunge variation.
4. Back extensions
There are many ways you can do this. You can target a specific area, or make the exercise harder or easier depending on your level of fitness.
The most conventional way is to place the top of the pad just under the hips. The feet should be straight. You then bend your upper body all the way down to the floor. Then raise your upper body until just parallel with the legs (not hyperextending). Engage your glutes to avoid pressure on the lower back.
This exercise will work your hamstrings, glutes and lower back at the same time.
However, if glutes are your main focus follow these tips for better engagement:
- Both feet should be pointing outwards, your upper back should be rounded if needed.
- Use your glutes to bring you up. Really imagine as if they are pulling your upper body.
- Squeeze your glutes at the top of each repetition
I’ve also learned this technique with Bret Contreras. Bret has done a lot of scientific research and tests to prove that this exercise variation really does target your glutes, and you can actually feel it better when you do it too.
I know it looks a little bit weird but so does every glute exercise. Swap between video 1 and 2 to see the difference. Click here
5. Pendulum Quadruped Hip Extension
This exercise can also be done in several ways, either body weight, ankle weights, appropriate machine (which not many gyms have), cables, leg extension machine or smith machine.
But for all of them, you’ve got remember to:
- Push the weight upward with the middle of the foot
- Contract the glutes at the top of the movement
- Slowly and controlled come back to the start position.
Remember to keep your core engaged while performing the movement to avoid twisting the torso, which is a common problem with this exercise.
Click on this video link to watch the instructional video for the kickbacks on the Smith machine.
There you go!
Now you know the top 5 exercises for glute building and how to nail the form!
Let me know if you have any questions bellow.
Thank you for reading xx