Sharing 5 Exercises That Target Your Glutes!
It’s January and I’m still trying to get back into my regular fitness routine, after what ended up being an extended holiday season for me. One of my favorite days in Pilates class was always the famous “butt & leg day”! So I’m starting with part of that since it’s a favorite and I’m better at these than most exercises. I’m sharing some of my favorite exercises with you too.
Strong glutes are important in order to stay injury free, especially if you’re a runner. Your glutes are part of your overall core muscles. When your core is strong, you will be less at risk for back pain, back injuries, leg injuries (like shin splints), and much more. Plus, who doesn’t want nice looking glutes!
If you already do squats, below are a few exercises you can start adding to your routine that will really target your gluteals and help them grow.
Step-Ups: These are great because you can do them even if you don’t have a gym membership. Simply find a park bench or use your stairs at home. You can start off with no weights and progressively increase your weights as time goes on. Plant your foot on the step, and as you step up make sure to keep your back leg straight. Hinge forward and step up. Don’t bend your back leg or use it to bounce up on to the step – you want to focus solely on using the front leg to do the lifting. Video tutorial.
Walking Lunges: These can also be done anywhere and with or without weights. If you have knee issues or knee pain, you may want to stay away from walking lunges. Do split squats or reverse lunges instead. With walking lunges, take a step forward and really focus on keeping your chest up and shoulders back. Lower your knee as low as it can go, come up and switch legs. Start with 8-10 reps, then increase either your reps or the weight you use.
Hip Raises: Hip raises are one of the key exercises to stronger glutes and to making your glutes bigger! Start off with just doing body weight hip raises. Lay on your back with bent knees. You should be able to touch your heels with your fingers. Plant your feet and lift your hips up as high as you can. Squeeze your glutes as you lift and really focus on utilizing those muscles. You may feel this in your hamstrings too. Hold at the top for about 2-3 seconds, lower and repeat. Once you get the hang of it, you can add a weighted plate or barbell on top of your hips in order to make the move more challenging. This is a great exercise for runners! Video tutorial.
Bulgarian Split Squats: This is a more advanced move. You can work up to it by regularly doing walking lunges, split squats and back foot elevated split squats (place your back foot on a low step or box). With Bulgarian split squats, you’ll be placing your back foot on a bench or box. Start with no weights and work up to holding dumbbells in each hand. As always, think of keeping your chest up and shoulders back throughout the movement. Slowly lower down as low as you can, then lift up and repeat. Video tutorial.
Back extensions. You will need a back extension machine for this, or you can do “supermans” on the floor at home. However, doing them on an incline back extension machine will target your hamstrings and glutes more. If your lower back is weak, you’ll feel it in those muscles as well. Lower down all the way, then squeeze your glutes to lift yourself up. Be careful not to hyper-extend. If you want to add weight, hold a weighted plate to your chest for this exercise. Video tutorial.
If you start incorporating these exercises into your routine, not only will you have stronger gluteals, you’ll be helping your body stay injury free. Sounds like a win/win situation doesn’t it? What are your favorite exercises that focus on the glutes?