Glute Exercises

Why should you train your glutes?

The gluteal muscles (glutes) are an incredibly powerful group – in fact, they are the strongest muscles in the body. They provide a key link between the upper body and lower body via the core and sling systems and are instrumental in creating and utilising much of the body’s total strength output. Read on to find GymNation's best glute workouts!

The glutes are comprised of three muscles that make up the backside, behind the hips and below the base of the spine. These muscles are:

  • The gluteus maximus
  • The gluteus medius
  • The gluteus minimus

Training the glutes to a high standard and maintaining long term musculature, health and function is crucial to both athletic performance and daily healthy function and wellbeing. Though there is certainly a strong aesthetic component to training glutes – a well-toned, tight backside, often on the larger side with increased muscle mass, that will accentuate an hourglass figure in women – the increased athletic performance, core stability and pressing power through the lower body that comes from strong glutes cannot be overlooked.

If you want to squat heavy, sprint fast, or in any other way generate great force from your lower body, you need strong glutes. They are what power pretty much every heavy compound lift, at least in part.

As large muscles that tend to need heavy stimulation – and that can generate and cope with intense power output – the glutes are also key in maintaining low body fat levels.

As well as athletic function, healthy, well-developed glutes will also lead to healthier knees and hips. Your knees will be able to better track over the toes, as they are meant to, which will reduce ACL strain and joint pressure. Absorption of eccentric hip flexion and excessive spinal movement will also be improved, as will stability through pretty much every plane of movement. The support to the lower back granted by having strong glutes will also lead to better posture, and a decrease in posture-related pain.

Exercises for the glutes involve anything that needs lower body power output. Sprinting, jumping, running, and twisting, speed and directional changes all use them heavily, and will thus train them when pushed to overload. In addition, large compound movements like squats, lunges and deadlifts will revolve around the glutes. To come closer to isolating them and placing more pressure into the glutes – thus eliciting greater adaptation from them – unilateral exercises work very well. Again, lunges should feature prominently, as should single leg presses, step ups, Romanian split squats, pistol squats and so on.

They will respond well to both low rep, heavy work as well as longer lasting exercises. Mix in 1-3 rep squats with sprints, jumps and high rep walking lunges, for instance, to build a well-rounded glute routine. Search for "Gyms in the UAE" and put your fitness first!

 

Glute Exercises

Walking Lunges

Lunges are much like the regular lunge in that they are a powerhouse movement for the full body. They are a great exercise to use in building up the legs, including the quads and glutes. As heavy compounds, they have direct carryover into everyday life, and as unilateral movements, they are perfect for maintaining symmetry of both power output and musculature.

In addition, the forward momentum generated at each step puts extra pressure into the glutes as your hips hinge forwards.

Main muscles used:

  • Quads
  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings
  • Lower back
  • Core
  • Hip flexors

Glute bridges

Glute bridges are not an isolation movement – they use a few joints and a fair few different muscle groups. However, they can take the place of an isolation movement for the glutes, as they take so much direct contraction during them. Glute bridges are also a lot less demanding on the central nervous system than larger exercises like squats and lunges, making them perfect assistance work at the end of a larger, lower body session.

Main muscles used

  • Quads
  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings
  • Lower back
  • Core
  • Hip flexors

Squats

Squats are among the best, most efficient way to build up your legs, including the quads and glutes. They will help to build strength, power, size and stability. As heavy compounds, they have direct carryover into everyday life, as well as into most athletic endeavours.

The forward thrust needed as you come out of the squat puts an enormous amount of pressure into the glutes – in fact, they are just about the most important component of leg pressing strength.

Main muscles used:

  • Quads
  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings
  • Lower back
  • Core
  • Hip flexors

Glutes look fantastic in a good pair of jeans if you have them well-developed. However, they are more important as a prime mover in pretty much any lower body movement – squats, deadlifts, jumps, lunges, running… anything that requires lower body force generation will get a lot of that power from the glutes.

 

Yolanda Ambrose
Personal Trainer, GymNation Silicon Oasis

 

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