Glute Exercises for Men & Women - Effective Glute Workouts that Work

Glute Exercises

Get those ripped shredded glutes with the proper guidance

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Ladies, what's the first thing you look at when a guy walks away from you? Men, what's the first thing you notice about a woman's body, regardless of where she's walking or standing? The invariable answer to this query is, of course, the buttocks. No matter what you call them - because Lord knows there are plenty of names - if they're in good shape, a pair of buttocks by any other name are a dynamite set of glutes!

Much of what each of our individual muscle groups looks like has a great deal to do with genetic predisposition. Though there are exceptions to the rule, for the most part, if your glutes are naturally round and protrude with little or no training, that is the shape your genetic code deemed correct. Unfortunately some people were born with flat-as-a-board buttocks that seem to have little chance of becoming much rounder. Through diligent and correct training, however, one can achieve a certain amount of improvement in that, or any, area.

Understanding how to effect change in the glutes (buttocks) is the key to building the muscularity so crucial to shape. Simply doing squatting exercises won't necessarily be enough to add the additional girth or shape needed to improve them. Quite often, depending upon how you approach a squatting stance, this exercise won't effect any change in the glutes because basically the squat is a quadriceps-oriented movement.

To make changes in the glutes, one must first understand their primary function. Function is everything when it comes to resistance training, for function determines the exercises that benefit the extension and flexion of the bodypart being worked. Whereas some joints have adjoining muscles that work in tandem to flex and extend, the glutes are responsible for both the flexion and extension of the hip joint. Unlike a biceps, which is responsible for flexing the arm, and triceps muscles, which are responsible for extending the arm, the glutes must create both flexion and extension.

You have to understand flexion and extension of the hip joint by the glutes to learn which angles best affect the glute muscles in your quest to build a shapely backside. Flexion decreases the angle of the joint, and extension increases the angle of the joint. Therefore, when you are doing a stiff-leg deadlift, for example, as you bend forward, you decrease the angle of the hip joint to perform a hip flexion. When you return to the standing position, you increase the angle of the hip joint to perform a hip extension. While these tandem mechanics are important to learn, the most important factor in effective glute-training is the movement which utilizes the hip extension. This is the key to building great-shaped glutes.

Many exercises effectively isolate the glute muscles so that the focus is strictly on their ability to flex and extend. Such movements include glute kickbacks (Butt Blaster machine) and glute isolation exercises (flexing). Some combination movements also effectively work the glutes while placing a slight emphasis on other areas of the lower body, such as the quadriceps. These exercises include stiff-leg deadlifts, barbell/dumbbell lunges, barbell/dumbbell squats and hack squats. Each of these exercises will influence the glute muscles and can build shape and size, Maximizing the potential of each of these exercises depends on how you do them, not only intensity and volume but also mental emphasis. With this picture of your glutes in mind, you can literally direct physical impulses to follow your mental plan. This concept is often referred to as a mind/muscle connection.

The reason mind/muscle connection is such an important factor is that often what we picture can translate into physical commands that then become physical progress. We may not think of visualizing our muscles working during an exercise, but by doing so we can attain a much greater physical connection. Our muscles move in response to the neurological commands that our brain sends them. We may be aware that we have commanded our brain to send an electrical impulse to that muscle, but that fact alone won't necessarily work the muscle on anything but a very rudimentary level. The real key to creating mind/muscle connection is the ability to serve up an order that is as accurate as possible. So while the mind is sending that impulse to the muscle, your vision is constantly reconfiguring and directing it to hit an exact spot with the aid of the muscle fiber itself.

Initially you must still move against resistance - either your own bodyweight or an external weight - to create the environment for growth and shape. The best exercises for glute-training in both men and women are those previously listed. Although most people may be accustomed to working their biceps or quads in a regular weekly routine, they often forget to create a plan of action for their glutes. Making a plan and sticking to it is crucial to seeing any sort of change in your glutes. Where can you fit that plan into an already crowded schedule? I suggest working glutes on either a hamstring or back day because many of the exercises for back or hamstrings use the glutes indirectly, and therefore are good warm-ups for specific glute exercises.

Lying leg curls, straight-leg deadlifts, standard deadlifts, and hyperextensions all indirectly affect the glutes. Using these exercises as part of a regular hamstring or back workout, and then moving immediately to glute exercises is a great way to start getting into the habit of working the glutes regularly while gaining the benefits that glute exercises provide. In this way you can incorporate work for a bodypart that is often neglected by most bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts. I'll bet if you worked as an exotic dancer, a bikini model, or in some capacity that required you to have an exceptional backside, you'd have already been working hard on this part of your body. Unfortunately most people don't see a need for integrating glute work into their regular fitness routines. Why not make yourself the exception to the rule?

A good way to get into the habit of doing glute-specific work is to think about how each hamstring or back exercise you do is warming up the glutes before moving into a glute-specific exercise. To ease into doing regular glute workouts, you might want to try doing just one glute exercise after your last hamstring movement or after your last set of hyperextensions. Once you have become accustomed to doing just one glute exercise for a couple of weeks, add another to the program. Two extra glute exercises per week can make a huge difference in the shape of your glutes. Once you have seen the results, you may even decide to add glutes into your workout schedule as a wholly separate and distinct bodypart.

Here are the best glute exercises I recommend for building enough muscle to add shape to your backside:


Glute Isolation - Glute isolation is a form of isometric exercise that involves tightening of the glutes for several seconds and then relaxing them. This movement is often best done on n hyperextension bench with little or no lower-back involvement.

Butt Blaster - The Buff Blaster is a machine that requires you to get into it on all fours. You then push back - out and away from the body - a pedal that is driven by weight resistance. Similar to kickbacks, the exercise works one leg at a time.


Stiff-leg Deadlifts - This style of deadlift is commonly associated with hamstring work, but it can emphasize the buttocks (glutes) if clone correctly. Maintain a slight bend in your knees and tighten your glutes at the bottom of the exercise. Keep them tight the entire way up, pulling them underneath your body in a superflexed position. Thrust the pelvis forward to tuck in the glutes.

Barbell/Dumbbell Lunges - This exercise is best done after all hamstring and quad work is completed in a leg workout. Work first with a barbell to gain control of balance and to learn the mechanics of the movement. Then you may switch to dumbbells. Lunge forward and tighten the glutes at the body's lowest point. Keep your glutes tensed and use them to push up to a standing (starting) position.

Barbell/Dumbbell Squats - Squats, though primarily for the quadriceps, can benefit the glutes. After you have completed all sets of squats, do high-repetition squats with an empty bar, keeping your back flat and upper body bent slightly forward. Though this is not a good position for quad development, it does place emphasis on the glutes. Flex the glutes both on the way down and upward again.

Hack Squats - Hack squats which benefit the glutes are slightly different from traditional hack squats. Try your last few sets in preparation for a glute workout by pushing the pelvis all the way forward while still keeping your upper back against the pad and squeezing your glutes on the way up with the weight. I recommend using light weight for this exercise since heavier weights could compromise the lower back.

In general, I suggest high repetitions with lighter weights for glute work because you are trying to build only a slight amount of muscle. You don't want to bulk up in that area. Using lighter weights will tone the glutes, and high repetitions will prevent the sort of bulk you may not want to attach to your backside. High reps also make up for the use of light weights, since doing 8 repetitions with light weight would not cause the muscle to work at all. Doing 12 to 20 repetitions certainly works the muscle, but doesn't allow it enough chance to recuperate and build. This consideration is particularly important for women, who may want some muscularity in the glute area, yet not want an overabundance of it. For men, using light to medium weight is the best choice because a little extra muscle in the area of the glutes couldn't hurt. Men are more predisposed to putting on muscle naturally. Try to keep the repetitions in mid to high range.

If you don't have the time to incorporate a complete glute workout into your weekly routine, try adding glute work to your cardiovascular training as often as possible. Keeping the glutes in mind during cardiovascular aerobic work is a virtually uncharted zone of benefit for most people, yet this is one of the best ways for women - in particular - to work on their glutes. Walking up stairs two steps at a time causes the step and reach of the leg to increase, thereby creating an opportunity for increased tension on the glutes. As you plant a foot on the higher step, tighten your glute and keep that glute contracted with flexion throughout the entire step upward. Though both your glute muscles will work, the glute on the side of the upwardly moving foot gets the most tension and flexion during each step.

Walking or sprinting up a steep hill five to ten times per session is also a great way to strain the glutes. The action is similar to walking up stairs because it forces you to plant one foot and lift your body with your glutes. Try straightening your leg with each extension and flexing your glute as much as possible each time. This technique also works when walking a steep grade on a treadmill. You can get the same effect while using a stair-stepping machine by holding onto the handles and pushing your pelvis slightly forward while stepping. You thus force your glutes to absorb most of the work and flex during the entire stepping motion.

The glutes constitute one of the largest muscle groups on the body, and they require as much work as other muscle groups of similar size. Doing glute exercises is a simple way of increasing shape and condition in that area, but don't neglect some of the more subtle ways of getting your glutes in shape. Doing a glute workout immediately after a leg workout is a good start. Each time you get on a piece of aerobic equipment or go out to walk your dog, you can create a mini glute workout. Get creative by alternating sets of exercises which may traditionally benefit the quads or hamstrings, and make every other set into a glute set. You may feel as if someone shot you in the backside for the first month or so, but after a while your glutes will have taken on an entirely new shape.

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