by Edith Werbel, IDFA Pro Fitness Model
Knockout glutes are an essential weapon to any female fitness competitor who’s ever rocked a ruched, scantily cut, bedazzled bikini bottom. For ladies in the fitness model and bikini divisions who might want to temper muscularity in other areas, a pair of fully developed and highly perched glutes are the crowning glory of strong and toned legs. They’ll turn judges’ heads and bring trophies home. And gentlemen, remember: A chiseled chest and broad back won’t get you a win without an equally impressive backside to fill out your custom-designed velvet posing suit.
Aesthetics aside, well-functioning gluteus medius and maximus muscles are integral to good form and condition. A vital link (though sadly often the weakest) in the posterior chain, glutes maintain healthy posture and assist in walking, running, and even getting your butt off the couch. As a trainer, I work with people who spend too much time sitting on their glutes—which have become weak and unfacilitated. In fact, most people have dormant glutes that don’t fire properly on cue, causing surrounding muscles to overcompensate and stress. This often leads to a host of chronic problems—chief among them, lower-back pain. Even experienced exercisers may be squatting and lunging with little assistance from what should be the prime mover. The glute-challenged can be spotted across the gym by their humdrum, wall-like backsides.
Do this quick test to see if you’re in control of your gluteals. Sit on a chair, feet flat on the ground. Try to contract each butt cheek individually, just as you can make a fist with each hand. As you clench your right glute, that side of your body should rise noticeably. Practise being able to do this.
Once you’re master of your glutes, continue engaging them actively in each of the exercises below. This routine is a complete lower body workout. Glutes can’t be strengthened in isolation—they develop along with your hamstrings, quads, and back muscles. Put extra emphasis on your glutes by actively pushing through them.
Warm up: 5 to 10 minutes on a Stepper machine or Jacob’s Ladder.
Squats with olympic bar: 3-4 sets; 12-15 reps.
Stiff-leg deadlift with bar: 3-4 sets; 12-15 reps.
Sumo squat with dumbbell: 3-4 sets; 12-15 reps.
Kettlebell swing squats: 3-4 sets; 12-15 reps.
Single-leg leg press: 3-4 sets; 12-15 reps.
A gluteus medius exercise, such as lateral-cable leg raise: 3-4 sets, 12-15 reps.
-Train heavy! Your lower-body is by far the strongest muscle group in your body. It can, and should, take a beating. Weights and intensity should be so much that you couldn’t possibly do this workout more than twice a week.
-Mix it up! As with training any other part of your body, don’t always do the same workout. Play with different exercises, reps, sets, tempo, and weights. The sample routine above offers infinite possibilities for change.
-Recruit your glutes! Since these are compound moves, requiring recruitment of several muscles groups, keep your glutes in the game by actively engaging them (this could mean simply thinking about them working).
– END –
RETURN to Exercises Main Page