Whether you are a woman or man, activating and training your glutes should never be overlooked.
As a key player connecting the lower body to the upper body, gluteus specific training can revamp your leg day. Once you find the best way to strengthen your glutes, nothing can stop you from obtaining your goals.
Step 1: Activate and Warm Up Your Glutes
Since the glutes are comprised of three different muscles, maximus, medius, and minimus, it is vital to activate them all properly.
Before you begin your glute-focused workout, take at least 10-15 minutes to activate your glutes. Feel free to increase your glute activation time if your entire session and experience level call for it.
By gently yet mindfully focusing on the three muscles heads of the glutes, you adequately prepare them to perform at their best. Plus, you prevent injury and pave the way for faster gains with well-rounded activation.
To start, bodyweight glutes exercises are as good as anything to warm those muscles up. If you have bands, they can be helpful to provide more resistance too.
Break them out to use alongside the bodyweight activation exercises if your strength levels need a bit more of a challenge.
Glute Activation Exercises
The following glute activation exercises target all three heads of your glutes. Test them out the next time you are gearing up for a leg day or butt workout.
Just as you would imagine a dog peeing on fire hydrant, drop down to all fours and perform the same motion.
With your palms and knees touching the floor, bring one leg outside laterally parallel to the ground.
Make sure your hands are directly beneath your shoulders, and your foot stays flexed in a ninety-degree angle.
This exercise really wakes up the glutes, and you will feel the blood flowing.
Side Plank Leg Lift
Get into a side plank position, then raise your upper leg straight up. Do not be afraid to rest your bottom arm and shoulder entirely on the ground if your balance is an issue.
Plus, if you are completely focused on targeting your glutes, it is best to not train your supporting shoulder merely to hold your torso.
By laying on your back with your legs tucked comfortably near your butt, thrust your hips up to the sky.
Use your arms and especially triceps for support alongside your upper back. Your glutes and lower back should steadily rise off the floor.
If this bodyweight version is not cutting it for you, try pushing off with only one leg or hold a weight on your pelvis.
Step 2: Explosive Strength for Glutes
After glute activation, start your training day with explosive movements. When your fresh is the best time to exert fast-moving, maximal force.
Glutes Exercises for Explosiveness
Find a height of a box you can confidently jump onto. Work yourself up to greater heights as you progress.
To jump, start in a high squat and leap while pushing your arms down to provide more thrust.
Whether it be a with a barbell, dumbbells, or bodyweight, focus on performing squats as quick as possible yet maintaining good form.
For speed squats, 50-60% of your 1RM (1 Rep Max) is enough resistance yet light enough.
Once you feel comfortable and strong enough from speed squatting, level up to jump squats. When you rise up to the top of the squat, jump into the air.
Step 3: Relative Strength for Glutes
Much of the most noticeable glute strength will come from your relative strength. Take note of the best relative strength exercises for glutes.
Glutes Exercises for Relative Strength
Known as a traditional barbell squat, the barbell squat is arguably one of the bests test of relative strength for your glutes and entire body.
Barbell Good Mornings
With your knees slightly bent, start with your torso bent over almost parallel to the floor.
With the barbell in the same position on your traps or upper back like a back squat, stand up straight.
Barbell Hip Thurst
Either on the floor or using a bench to support your upper back, place barbell over your upper legs but below your abdomen.
Thrust upwards to the ceiling until your back and butt are parallel to the ground.
Step 4: Agility for Glutes
To cap off your glutes workout, agility training is a must to spice up your leg day. Keep in mind, listen to your body and let it be your guide when it comes to balance and quick changes in direction.
Glutes Exercises for Agility
For many, this agility glutes exercise can really burn in a good way. Instead of stepping gradually like a regular lunge, jump into the next leg through one swift, whole motion.
Similar to walking running in place, bring your knees up to your chest in an alternating fashion. To kick it up a notch, travel forwards, backwards, left, or right while running high knees.
Step 5: Prioritize Your Recovery
Recovery is no joke. Treating it with as much excitement and passion for when you enter the gym cannot be repeated enough.
If you recover to your fullest potential, there is nothing in your way to returning to your glutes training week after week with the same vigor and positive attitude as the first week.
To start, at least record your macronutrients and find your sleep’s sweet spot. So if you need to sleep more, do not hold back and snooze to your heart’s content.
Even if you have to go to bed 30-60 minutes earlier than usual, make the decision for your glutes gains.
Besides eating appropriately to either gain, maintain, or lose weight, setting up a plan of how you exactly exercise plays a large role in your energy and progressive strength levels.
This is known as programming, which can be used to your glutes advantage.
Glutes Strength Programming
If you are glute-focused and want your training regimen to revolve around your buttocks, train your glutes at least two times per week. Moreover, if your recovery, schedule, and overall lifestyle call for it, you can throw in a light third glutes day too.
Here is a sample glutes strength program you can put to the test and even incorporate into your current full body program:
- Monday (Heavy Glutes) – Perform your best and push yourself to your limits on this day to start the week off on the right foot.
- Thursday (Medium Glutes) – Depending on your recovery, make Thursday lighter than Monday but not too light to keep your glutes active.
- Saturday (Light Glutes) – During the weekend focus on recovery and perform the same and similar movements as your heavier days. Instead of using barbells and dumbbells, move through bodyweight routines just to keep your muscles’ moving.
If hitting glutes Monday and Thursday is too much for your personal recovery abilities, remove Thursday altogether and move Saturday’s light day to Friday.
Whether you like it or not, the glutes play a major role in almost every exercise you go, both upper body and lower body.
Due to our modern sedentary lifestyles, more and more people do not have fully activated glutes.
When this happens, the psoas muscles take over. These muscles attach onto the lower back and can cause some serious back pain if they are overactive.
Glute training is something to take seriously if you want to reach your full training potential.
Which I know all of you do!
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