Your glutes are some of the largest and strongest muscles in your body and you can train them in a variety of ways. The stereotype is that squats are the way forward for growing and strengthening your glutes. They are, really, but only in conjunction with other glute exercises, a good diet (with plenty of carbs, protein and fats as well as vitamins and minerals), good form and regular workouts. I would say to work them out around twice a week doing 3-6 glute exercises. It must be noted though, that most, if not all glute exercises will incorporate your legs, mostly the quads which is good for strengthening both at the same time!
Note: be sure to warm up your legs before the work out with some light cardio (five-minute fast walk on the treadmill perhaps) as well as some leg stretches before and after the workout to reduce the pain felt in your glutes the next day. Also be careful when using weights if you are not used to them.
Here are some fun glute exercises other than your average squat. They’re sure to get your legs shaking!
1. Split Squats: Difficulty 4/5
— Place one foot on a raised platform like a bench with about a 2 feet+ distance between your straight leg and the bench.
— Bend your straight leg and descend, making sure to squeeze your glutes, until your working leg is at a right angle.
— Push back up slowly and repeat.
You can do this with weights (such as a kettlebell or dumbbell) held either in the hand next to your straight leg, or in both hands, or held up to your chest. For first timers I would suggest doing this weight free for 3 sets of about 8 reps on each leg.
2. Donkey Kicks: Difficulty 3/5
— Get on your hands and knees on a mat.
—Keeping your knee in the same bent position, push your leg back until your thigh is in line with your torso.
—Hold for a moment and push back down.
If you would like to add weight, be especially careful with this exercise .
— Place a weight (start off light) in the bend on the back of your knee.
—-Squeeze your calf and thigh around it to make sure it won’t move.
—Raise it up and hold it when your thigh aligns for a moment (though be careful to not raise it up any further as the weight could fall forward).
First timers try this weight free with about 3 sets of 8 reps on each leg.
3. Fire Hydrants: Difficulty 2/5
—Again, get on your hands and knees.
—Instead of moving your knee upwards like we did for the donkey kicks, move it outwards, mimicking the movement of a dog peeing, like a fire hydrant, hence the name.
—Bring it back down to the start position and repeat.
Make sure to do this exercise relatively slowly rather than using momentum to raise your leg. This could be weighted using ankle weights or a resistance band.
First timers try this weight free with 3 sets of 8 reps on each leg.
4. Glute bridge/ Hip Thrust: Difficulty 3/5
—Lie down with your knees bent and your hands laid palm down beside you.
—Push your hips upwards until they are in a straight line with your torso, whilst squeezing your glutes.
This can be weighted for those who are confident by resting your shoulders and back on a bench, and placing a barbell (a good start weight would be 10-12 kg) on your hips, using something to protect yourself from the bar.
First timers try this without weight doing 3 sets of 6-8 reps.
5. Glute Pushdown (on assisted pull up machine): Difficulty 4/5
—Climb up on an assisted pull up machine, and hold on to the handles on the top.
—Place one foot on the pad and drive down with your heel until your leg is straight.
—Come back up without letting the weight fall back all the way and repeat.
Remember to engage your glutes by squeezing. Before you do this exercise, do a few trial reps on a low weight like 20kg so you can find the right weight for you.
First timers choose a low weight, be careful stepping up and stepping off of the machine and do 3 sets of 6-8 reps on each leg.
Edited by Nicole Swain