While you might not be a fan of the old squat, there are plenty of ways that you can shift your attention to this part of your lower physique.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE STRONG GLUTES?
“Having strong glutes is about way more than having a perky peach,” explains Helen Barlow, Personal Trainer and Online Coach, founder of Helen Barlow Training. Sure, training your glutes will make your behind look great, but there are other benefits too.
“Strengthening your glutes will help to prevent injuries, by creating proper alignment and stability, whilst also helping to increase your power and overall exercise performance. Powerful glutes play a key role in how efficiently your body moves, and help to limit the amount of stress put on your lower back.”
“You want to look to be training your glutes 2-3 times per week-your glute exercises can easily be combined with other exercises as part of a full body workout,” she continues. “If you are a runner, it is really essential to add glute strengthening into your weekly routine.”
EASY GLUTE EXERCISES TO DO AT HOME
If you don’t have the time to hit the gym, there are plenty of ways that you can target your glutes in the comfort of your own home. Find a decent space, lay down your mat, and get to work. Let’s take a look at some of Helen’s top tips for strengthening these muscles.
Rep range: 10-15
First up, it’s the aptly-named glute bridge. You will need to get down onto your mat to get this right. However, as you will soon see, the results will be well worth it.
“Lie face up on the floor, with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, shoulder distance apart,” says Helen. “Lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line. Squeeze and hold for a couple of seconds before lowering slowly to the floor, and repeat.”
Rep range: 10-15
To do the Romanian deadlift, you will need a couple of dumbbells. If you don’t have any of these at home, you can use any type of weight. Make sure you have an even amount in each hand. You also need to ensure that you can easily hold onto each weight.
“Stand with your feet hip width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand,” explains Helen. “Hinge your hips back, maintaining a very small bend in the knee. Pause when you feel the tension in your hamstrings and glutes, before driving through your glutes up to your start position.”
Bulgarian Split Squat
Rep range: 8-12
If you thought you’d get away with doing no squats, you should think again! No glutes workout would be complete without these. Luckily, these exercises are easy to do.
“Stand facing away from a bench (or a low surface),” says Helen. “Have one foot resting on the bench behind you. Squat with your standing leg until the knee of your back leg almost touches the floor. Pause at the bottom of your rep before driving your glutes to the top.”
Rep range: 15-20
If you have a resistance band at home, you can easily do this next glute exercise. Adding this to your workout is an easy way to target your glutes directly. Posture is everything here. Ensure that you are precise when you are doing the exercises from start to finish.
“I like to use a looped resistance band around my thighs to increase resistance. Start on all fours,” says Helen. “Drive one leg up to the sky in a 90-degree angle, using your glute to reach your leg as high as you can whilst maintaining a neutral pelvis and lower back.”
Rep range: 10-15
The final glute exercise is — you guessed it! — another squat. For this one, you will be adopting a slightly different stance. You will repeat it between 10 and 15 times each set.
“Start with the feet shoulder distance apart, and your dumbbell and/or kettlebell close to your chest. Sit your hips back and bend your knees to lower into a squat,” says Helen. “Keep the chest up as you squat and only go as low as you can maintain a neutral pelvis (you are aiming to get parallel to the floor). Drive through your glutes to stand.”
Strengthening your glutes doesn’t have to be challenging. When you’re creating a home workout plan that suits you, it’s well worth including these glute strengthening exercises. However, you also need to include days off so that your muscles can recover.
“Rest days are so important! Without rest, your glutes cannot recover and grow,” explains Helen. “Overtrained or overactive glutes will lead to extremely tight muscles, and can also pull on the joints.” Create a workout plan that includes both training and down time too.