Overview – Training the glutes in isolation is a fitness trend that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. During my initial consultations with clients, hypertrophy of the glutes has been the most commonly stated goal after weight loss. To give the people what they want, I have written this article outlining some of the functions of the glutes and exercises to target them.
Anatomy – The Gluteals are comprised of the gluteus maximum, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. Each of these muscles are layered on top of each other with the gluteus minimus being the deepest layer and gluteus maximums being the closest to the surface.
They are responsible for extension, abduction, external rotation and internal rotation of the hip, making them essential for functional movements like standing from a chair or walking up stairs.
Execution – Soften your knees, push your hips back and chest up. From here slowly squat down ensuring that your knees are following the line of your toes. Once you have reached the required depth (ideally your legs should be at 90 degrees) press your feet through the floor and bring your hips through to return to the start position.
Comments and Tips – This is one of the most commonly used compound movements to target the gluteus Maximus however they are also very quad dominant so would not be applicable if you were aiming to isolate the glutes. A back squat in comparison to a front squat puts more emphasis on the glutes because of where the weight is placed hence why I chose it.
Execution – Stand with your feet hip width apart, take a long stride back and across before lowering yourself down to the ground and pressing back up to the start position. Keep your chest up throughout.
Comments and Tips – The technique is the same as a reverse lunge but at a different angle. Rather than stepping straight back, you step diagonally across to increase the glute engagement. I personally get the best connection in the glutes when I do a slow eccentric phase. An easy way to make this exercise harder without adding weight is to do one leg at a time as apposed to alternating as shown in the video. This ensures more time under tension.
Execution – Lie on your back with your your feet and arms flat on floor. From this lying position thrust your hips straight up to the sky firing your glutes before slowly returning to the ground. Upon reaching the ground, avoid resting your weight down and look to hold the tension.
Comments and Tips – Having your feet closer to your body will cause a stronger contraction in the gluteals. You add resistance by placing dumbbells on your thighs or even holding a resistance band over your waist.
Execution – The technique is the same as the standard glute bridge with the exeption of the foot position. The key is to press your feet together with force throughout the whole movement.
Comments and Tips – Start off with body weight before attempting to use dumbbells as shown in the video below.