by Dave Thomas
CPT-NSCA, USAW, RKC
“There is nothing more physically pleasing on a man or woman than a nicely developed heiny.”
– Isaac Newton
If you are going to be vain on a body part, make it your arse. The better the development of your glutes, aside from the opposite sex wanting to be on you, the better you will perform and typically speaking, the healthier you will be from injury prevention point of view. Strong glutes, aside from looking just wonderful, increase your strength, speed, athleticism.
In case you missed Coach Raechel’s first entry on the topic of backsides, you should check it out here. Those will always be the best movements you can do, and really, you never grow out of them. For those who have been at ’em for a while now and want to mix up the variety, we have a few other good ones for you here today.
Prior to our opening Performance360, I trained in the famous World’s Gym. You don’t spend the better part of two years watching San Diego’s top bikini and physique competitors train without picking up a thing or two on how to develop glutes. Some of these require the gym, others can be done in your living room. Here are five movements taking isolationist strategies and combing them with proven compound movements.
RDLs are technically more of a hamstring dominant exercise, but glutes and hamstrings have always gone hand in hand as it’s virtually impossible to work one without the other. Developed hamstrings also prevent SBS, or Saggy Butt Syndrome. By removing most of the knee flexion from the movement, you take away any involvement on the quads and you place all of the tension in the hamstrings. The hamstrings take this movement most of the way while the glutes finish it (as they often do in most movements).
It’s important you keep the knee just very slightly bent. RDLs also carry the added bonus of being a great deadlift plateau buster, and you can do them with barbells, kettlebells or dumbbells. Highly untrained folks can even do them with just their body weight and likely receive hamstring strengthening benefit.
This probably goes under another name in the yoga world, but that’s a world to which I am a patron, not a server. This a personal favorite of mine that I have been programming at P360 quite often over the last month. It looks goofy but it will make you more sore in your hamstrings and glutes than any deadlift set you have done in a long while. Guaranteed. These smoked even our 500#/300# deadlifting men and women, those with the strongest of strong hamstrings and glutes.
Perform by standing on two feet and hinging your hips back while your leg slowly elevates. Ideally, we want it to be completely parallel to the ground in the position above. If performed properly, you should be able to squeeze your glute while in the air, with the intent to hold this position for 30 – 45 seconds, then switch. If balance is an issue, stand next to something you can hold on to. Don’t be a hero with it. The goal is to feel tension and if you are wobbly all over the place, it’s lost.
Goblet Side Lunges
It’s easy to forget that our glutes are made up of three parts to it: The gluteus maximus, medius and minimus and in order to get the most out of it you need to target all three from time to time. The goblet side lunge is a good movement to target the smaller of the glute muscles.
No need to go heavy on these. In fact, it’s better that you don’t as heavy weight tends to throw off our torso and make it more of a quad movement. Body weight or just a little bit of weight will do the trick. Sit back and sit low. Keep the opposing leg straight like the image above.
I’m very excited to include this one today as a lot of people see farmer’s walks and they think Strongman competition only. Nothing could be further from the truth as the farmer’s walk is one of the best all around movements that athletes can do.
Because you are walking under maximal tension, your muscles are all firing like crazy to try and keep you moving. Each step you take is essentially moving and landing under load, with heavy involvement on the glutes (among other muscles). While your focus will be on your grip and core, your gluteus maximus, minimus and medius are the drivers of this movement.
Twerking on all fours donkey kicks are another one from the family of single leg, body weight movements. While these may look remedial and a regression to seasoned weightlifters, movements such as these can hit our glutes and hamstrings in a manner that big barbell movements cannot. When we deadlift and squat, we work the total unit together under load. It’s the reason these movements are the best of the best and why we do them every single week, but in the area of muscle isolation they can be limited. When we drop the weight, remove the need for the total body to pitch in on a movement and allow big muscles like the hamstrings and glutes to do EVERYTHING, they tend to get worked in a manner we are not used to.
On all fours, kick your leg back and up while contracting your glutes. Believe it or not, reducing the range of motion on these can actually be better as your never really give your glutes a break from the tension. Perform 10 – 20 kicks per side and switch until you can’t do anymore. Or, you can rotate back and forth cutting five reps off of each set, non-stop.
An area in which we are trying to show people in 2015, is that not everything has to be all barbell, all the time in order to get stronger, and that training for aesthetics is perfectly okay. In fact, you will GA-RATE-LY benefit from mixing up your routine and performing high contracting body weight work in a position of suspension. You will develop stronger hamstrings, stronger glutes and a head turner on your hind parts. Bank it.
Performance360 is located in Mission Beach and Crown Point, San Diego. Specializing in diverse workouts for all levels, P360 was established in 2011 and serves members in Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach and Point Loma.