Booty Gains! 7 Best Glute Exercises

You need to know the biomechanics behind the functions of the glutes to understand that the glutes are responsible for hip extension. The glute max is primarily responsible for hip extension. You can see this in sprinters coming out of the blocks. It is similar to the finish on a clean or snatches, the Same thing with a hip thrust. The hip extension even occurs during the big finish in a vertical jump.


A great way to get recruitment from the glutes is near the end of the terminal extension. Training in the region of terminal extension can help with motor unit recruitment. The hip extension also pulls the leg back when running at high speeds. Extremely strong and powerful glutes help your speed.


Your glutes also contribute to hip abduction. Think of rotating your leg out from the glute mead primarily. Hip abduction can be seen doing a squat. It creates more pelvic stability to help with protecting the knees and lower back.


Glutes also respond well to slow eccentric movements through full hip flexion. The metabolic stress will help your glutes grow big and strong. The glutes also respond well to hip abduction work at very high reps. 

1. Quadruped Banded Kickbacks

The first exercise requires you in a quadruped position. It can be done with a PowerLastic band or with just body weight. The movement will improve your pelvic stability and lead to better posture. The range of motion isn’t tremendously large. Using a PowerLastic band will improve the motor unit recruitment.

In the quadruped position, you extend the leg back with a 90-degree bend in the back knee into the hip. The movement requires hip abduction and hip extension to occur. You might even feel the movement in your lower back. Do it for 3 sets of 17 reps on each leg.

2. Single-Leg Squat

You want a single-leg roller and a foam balance pad to get the most out of the single-leg squat. The equipment helps more than you may ever know.


The big factor with the single-leg squat is achieving hip, pelvic, and trunk stability. The single-leg squat is not an isometric movement by any means, but it targets the glutes a whole lot. 


When you do single-leg squats, you can load the barbell with a very heavy weight or lighter weight. The single-leg squat being loaded heavier can trigger more motor unit recruitment. You can also load it lighter and use the metabolic stress to enhance the size of your butt cheeks. 


You can do 4 sets of 3 reps on each leg with 2 drop sets of 12 reps on each leg to get an insane pump through the glutes.

3. Barbell Step Ups

You want about exactly 90 degrees from where the tibia meets the femur performing step-ups. A lot of EMG studies indicate the glutes get targeted tremendously with step-ups. The barbell potentiates the body and wakes up the nervous system.


You can do 4 sets of 4 reps on each leg. Make sure the other leg is not put on the box until there is a full extension through the hip and the knee. Keep an upright trunk while performing the movement.

4. Cross Barbell Step Ups

Immediately after the barbell step-ups, you will want to take the weight off the barbell and go right into cross-barbell step-ups at a much lighter load to improve hip abduction and hip extension. You want to do at least 12 reps on each side. The higher rep range will lead to a sarcoplasmic adaptation.


The exercise is also great to warm up with body weight. It can be done on a park bench or steps. 

booty gains

5. Full Range Of Motion Back Squats

You doing a full range of motion back squats will drastically improve your glute strength and glute size. 


Remember that some of the key factors of training the glutes require a long eccentric pattern through hip flexion with hip extension at the top. The full range of motion back squat checks both boxes. 


Focus on spiraling out while going through the squat. Think of spreading the floor so that the knees stay wide. It is almost like turning the feet apart. 


4 sets of 3 reps with a drop set of 17 reps will do wonders for developing glute strength and size.

6. Butterfly Glute Ham

The butterfly glute ham is a unique movement that targets hip abduction and hip extension. Doing the movement with a PowerLastic band adds more resistance at the top to lead to more motor unit recruitment. 

On a glute ham, wrap the PowerLastic around the neck while the band is anchored to the glute ham. Your knees are spread to create hip abduction. At the top, squeeze the glutes. The movement occurs through hinging from the hips. You also want to spiral the feet on the footplate similar to the full range of motion back squat.  


Do 3 sets of 20+ reps.

7. Barbell Hip Thrust

The hip thrust puts the glutes at terminal extension for more motor unit recruitment from the glutes. When you do the hip thrust, you want a big drive through the heels, hip extension, and a slight isometric action at the top to squeeze the glutes and hold a solid position.


Doing 12 to 15 reps for multiple sets is great for the hip thrust. The exercise is great at simulating the finish of a vertical jump, coming out of the blocks as a sprinter, or finishing the pull of a snatch. The barbell hip thrust will transfer over to sports and enhance glute functionality.

Doing a drop set of hip thrusts with the feet on the outside of a dumbbell for 30+ reps creates a unique scenario where the glute mead is targeted to help with pelvic stability while enhancing glute size and strength.

Recap

If you want to be strong, fast, and athletic you need to train the glutes. The glutes are the largest muscle in the body. Most elite athletes have large glutes from all the elite-level training they do. You need to train your glutes to improve your overall athleticism, be strong, and turn all the heads. 

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