Home Training THE 10 BEST BODYWEIGHT EXERCISES TO TRAIN YOUR GLUTES

THE 10 BEST BODYWEIGHT EXERCISES TO TRAIN YOUR GLUTES

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Glute Work

Countless books and articles have been devoted to developing powerful, traffic-stopping glutes. Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez—these ladies (and, more specifically, their posteriors) are the foundations of entire industries.

Gorgeous rear ends are a thing of beauty, not just for aesthetics but because they represent optimal human movement. But here’s the thing: Most of us sit on our butts all day, which deactivates our glutes, tightens our hips, and shortens our hamstrings—and that leads to all kinds of muscular dysfunction, most notably back problems.

When we can activate our glutes, however, we can prevent this kinetic “chain of pain” and put our bodies back in proper alignment. One good way to start is by getting in the habit of activating (squeezing) your glutes, one cheek, at a time, while standing in line or sitting in traffic. Yes, seriously: Get in the habit of squeezing your cheeks as you walk or climb stairs. If you approach daily life as one big workout you’ll be well on your way to muscular glutes and pain-free living.

Also: We’ve all heard about doing squats and lunges forever and ever. There’s no doubt that they work—but there’s plenty more to building great glutes than those two exercises.

And if you’re caught staring at someone’s rear end, tell him or her you simply were marveling at their glute activation and wondering about their workout. Should they ask about yours, mention this routine. You can use these 10 as a warmup, part of a legs workout, or as a standalone circuit. If you do a circuit, do two sets of 10.

1. Glute Bridge

Why: It’s one of the best moves to improve the activation patterns of the glutes.

How: Lie face-up on the floor with knees bent 90° and feet on the floor. Squeeze your glutes and bridge your hips to the ceiling. Only your shoulders and hips remain on the ground. Hold for two seconds, and then lower your hips toward the ground without touching. Repeat for a set of 10.

Prescription: 2 sets of 10 reps with 30 sec. rest between sets.

2. Downward Dog

Why: One of yoga’s signature moves is great for the hamstrings, shoulders, and back. It’s also an underrated glutes move.

How: From your hands and knees, move your hands out from under your shoulders so your arms are extended at roughly a 45° angle. Tuck your toes under your feet. As you exhale, straighten your legs and lift your butt and midsection toward the ceiling. Your knees are slightly bent, and you’re up on your toes. Now drop your head between your arms, straightening your arms and legs, pushing back on your feet. Press your heels into the floor, or as far as you can go. Hold for two seconds.

Prescription: 2 sets of 10 reps with 30 sec. rest between sets.

3. Quadruped Rocking

Why: This move is a combination of two familiar yoga poses—cow and child’s pose—and provides a great stretch for the glutes. The more activated the glutes, the better you’ll do.

How: Get down on all fours, and let your lower back sag. Push your hips back as far as you can, holding the lumbar arch. You should feel a stretch in and around the hips. Return to the starting position, and repeat.

Prescription: 2 sets of 10 reps with 30 sec. rest between sets

4. Sliding Legs Curl

Why: This move challenges your glutes, as well as your hamstrings and lower back.

How: Lie face-up on the floor with your arms at your sides, legs straight, and heels on a towel on a slippery surface (or while in socks on a smooth surface). Lift your hips off the ground, keeping a straight line from ankle to shoulders, sliding your heels to your body. Fire your glutes, and slowly return to the starting position. For an even greater challenge (and an imbalance-eliminating workout), do one leg at a time.

Prescription: 2 sets of 10 reps with 30 sec. rest between sets.

5. Sumo Squat to Stand

Why: This improves flexibility in your hamstrings, and is a good indicator of how much room you have to improve, which for most of us is quite a bit. Remember: tight glutes = tight hamstrings.

How: Bend at the waist, grabbing underneath your big toes. Keeping your arms straight inside your knees, pull your hips down until they’re between your ankles, and lift your chest up. Tuck your chin and try to straighten your legs, holding on to your toes as you straighten the hips and knees.

Prescription: 2 sets of 10 reps with 30 sec. rest between sets.

6. Knee Hug

Why: This simple move stretches the hamstring and glute of your front leg as well as the hip flexor of your back leg.

How: Lift your right knee to your chest, and grab below the knee with your hands. Pull your right knee to your chest while squeezing your left glute. Return to the starting position, and repeat on the left side. Continue alternating sides.

Prescription: 2 sets of 10 reps (per side) with 30 sec. rest between sets.

7. Inverted Hamstring

Why: Think of this move like an unweighted, single-leg Romanian deadlift. It not only works your hamstrings and glutes, but also tests your balance and core strength.

How: Balance on your right foot, keeping your midsection tight and shoulders back and down. Bend at the waist with both hands out to the sides, and extend your left leg back as you fire the left glute. Your shoulder and heel should move together, forming a straight line. Return to starting position and switch legs.

Prescription: 2 sets of 10 reps (per side) with 30 sec. rest between sets.

8. Elbow to Instep Lunge

Why: This full-body stretch hits everything, and is a good indicator of how well your glutes are firing.

How: Start by stepping forward into a lunge with your left foot. Place your right forearm to the ground and your left elbow to the inside of your left foot, and hold the stretch for two seconds. Then place your left hand outside of your foot and push your hips up, pointing up your left toes as you do. Return to standing position, and repeat by stepping out with your right foot. Continue alternating sides.

Prescription: 2 sets of 10 reps (per side) with 30 sec. rest between sets.

9. Lateral Lunge

Why: Lateral movement is important to sports and the motions of everyday life, but too often we ignore it in the gym. The lateral lunge hits the quads and glutes, along with the hamstrings, and from angles you won’t normally get from the average bodyweight lunge or squat.

How: Step out to the right, keeping toes pointed straight ahead and feet flat. Squat down on your right leg, keeping your left leg straight. Squat as low as possible, keeping the left leg straight. Hold for two seconds. Return to the starting position, and repeat for set of 10. Switch sides.

Prescription: 2 sets of 10 reps (per side) with 30 sec. rest between sets.

10. Straight Leg Skip

Why: This dynamic move works your hamstrings and glutes while also challenging your coordination. Make sure you’re warmed up before you do it.

How: From a standing position, lift one leg straight in front of you while you swing the opposite arm forward. Pull your heel down to the ground as the other arm and leg swing forward. Repeat for a set of 10.

Prescription: 2 sets of 10 reps (per side) with 30 sec. rest between sets.

BY , CPT