When you think of your beauteous backside, which of these comes to mind?
- A cushy place to sit
- A part of your body you’re working on
- Swingin’ it
- The strongest prime movers in your body
There is some emotional baggage to our backside. Most of us think it’s too big. Some of us like it but want to improve it. But most of us really don’t care that the gluteus maximus is the largest, most powerful muscle in our body and that weak glutes are a ticking time bomb.
Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to have weak glutes. Sitting all day makes your hip flexors and erector spinae tight, and these muscles begin to over function for your glutes. Instead of letting the glutes take the load properly for functions such as climbing stairs, walking, running, jumping, or squatting, they play a minor role while other muscles are overused.
This is what I’m talking about when I refer to muscle imbalances – pain or injury that results from the wrong muscles taking the load over and over again.
If your glutes are weak it’s hard to feel them working. That’s because they may not be firing correctly; you’ve become accustomed to relying on other muscles. It’s obviously important to train your quadriceps and other leg muscles as well. Don’t only train your glutes. Focus on getting them strong while training your entire body.
Your glutes can never be too strong. Strong also translates into a firm, sexy shape! Strengthening these muscles should be as important as core strengthening in your workouts, and you can do this with these exercises:
- Dead lifts (single leg and regular)
- High step ups
- Leg presses
- Hip extensions
- Floor bridge
- Side-lying leg lifts
While I admit I overdid it last week when I trained my lower body, it provided such a targeted training in my glutes that I wanted to share my workout. To avoid total backside burnout for the next four days, don’t lift heavy for the entire workout like I did. Use a moderate weight for two of the exercises, meaning you could lift several more reps (but do not).
- Split squat 10×4
- Back extension 10×3
- Barbell squat 8×4
- Kettle bell swings 10×3
Of course, a side benefit to strong glutes is that they look tighter and higher. That can even be your primary objective. Whatever your motivation, make training your backside a top priority. Train them twice a week, lifting moderate to heavy weight, and you’ll start seeing results in six to eight weeks.
An excellent article describing what your glutes should be doing and how to fix it if they’re not is The Plague of The Mediocre Athlete: “No Glutes Equals No Results.”