Undoubtedly, 2017 is the year of the butt. Possessing a strong, rounded back side is a goal that many wish to achieve. The good news is that unlike fitness trends of the past (namely, the thigh gap), achieving a strong back side is relatively easy to achieve with the right diet and training regime.
There is so much more to having strong glutes than looking good in jeans. Well trained glutes enhance performance in the gym and lower the risk of back pain.
One quick scroll through social media will bring about countless different exercises which can be performed to grow the glutes. While this might provide inspiration, it can also be very confusing and more often than not, misleading.
This article was created to spare you the gimmicks and other time wasting activities in the gym. Follow my 3 booty building tools to ensure that you grow your glutes in the most effective and time efficient way possible.
STEP 1: START YOUR ROUTINE WITH GLUTE ACTIVATION EXERCISES
Many of us spend a lot of time sitting on our tush. Long commutes to work, studying and binging on Netflix can cause what is termed Glute Amnesia, AKA ‘dead but syndrome’. When you sit for extended periods of time, the hip flexors become chronically tight. This causes both neural and mechanical inhibition of the glute muscles during exercise.
Sadly, because of this, many women cannot simply walk into the gym, start squatting and expect their glutes to grow. This is because the body doesn’t recognize our desire for stronger glutes and will fire any muscle it can to complete the exercise with ease. As a result, those of us with weak glutes will preference activation of the quadriceps.
However, there is hope! The good news is that you can switch your glutes on using activation exercises. These are a series of warm-up exercises designed to fire up the glutes and help you mindfully contract them during exercise. Great activation exercises included banded grab walks, as well as both bilateral and unilateral hip thrusts.
If you would like help with completing these exercises with the correct technique, make sure to leave me a message.
STEP 2: OPTIMISE YOUR REP RANGES AND EXERCISE TEMPO REP RANGES
To maximise glute development, make sure to incorporate a variety of repetition ranges into your workout. This is important to do because different exercises are best performed in certain rep ranges. For instance, I program my glute workouts to begin in the low (4-6) rep range. This range will effectively develop the strength of your glutes. Compound exercises such as squats and deadlifts are best performed in this range as they require a large amount of energy to perform. Next, I move into the medium (8-12) rep range. This range will facilitate glute hypertrophy. Put simply, this repetition range will increase the diameter of your muscle fibres, thereby creating that round, defined look you are after. Exercises such as the hip thrust and walking lunges are best performed in this repetition range. Please leave me a message if you would like to be shown how to use these exercises with the correct technique and intensity. EXERCISE TEMPO There are many ways to manipulate exercise tempo to facilitate glute hypertrophy. One technique I like to use is to perform a tempo of 1-2 seconds on the concentric (upward) phase of the movement, followed by a 1-2 second hold when the glutes are fully contracted followed by a 4 second eccentric (lowering) phase. For instance, when performing a hip thrust, I use an explosive movement to extend the hips, pause at the top for 2 seconds when the glutes are fully contracted, then lower the bar down for 4 seconds and immediately drive it back up.
Likewise, depending on the exercise, I also pause in the stretch position if the movement places tension on the muscles in that position. For example, during straight leg deadlifts, I pause at the bottom for 2 seconds before powering the weight back up. This helps to facilitate maximal hamstring and gluteal contraction.
Please leave me a comment if you have any further questions about exercise tempo.
STEP 3: BEGIN TRAINING WITH MOBILITY DRILLS
Adding mobility drills into your warm-up is a must for optimum glute development. One cannot expect maximum glute recruitment without first being mobile enough to move through the body’s full range of motion. Take, for example, the squat.
When performed correctly, moving deeper into a squat creates inversely greater glute recruitment, with maximal gluteal activation occurring at the bottom of the squat. In contrast, having poor ankle and hip mobility will cause the knees to buckle inwards, the heels to lift off the ground and the torso to collapse forward. This shifts the body’s centre of gravity to the front. As a result, the body primarily utilises the quad muscles for support. Thus, adding mobility drills into your warmup will help to ensure you are recruiting as many glute fibres as possible, thereby helping you grow that booty.
The bottom line…
When it comes to glute development, the most important thing is to ensure that you can feel your glutes contracting during the movement pattern. If you can’t feel your glutes firing, gradually decrease the weight until you can.
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