In the days of every personal trainer talking about "quad dominance", here are 5 great exercises to strengthen your posterior chain muscles.
You already know that lower body exercise, and glute-strengthening exercise in particular, is essential to your overall fitness and physique. Aesthetically, strong glute muscles can help you fill out a pair of jeans, give you a great confidence boost, and make you feel strong and powerful, but there’s so much more to it than that. Besides the definite psychological impact great glutes can have, there are some other truly awesome benefits that have zero to do with aesthetics.
The glute muscles are capable of incredible amounts of power and strengthening them will lead not only to improved athletic performance like faster speed and acceleration, and gym performance like better lifts, but it can also give you some incredible yet seemingly simple daily life benefits like improved posture, reduced pain and chance of injury
and help with weight loss or weight maintenance.
You don’t need a gym membership or even access to a ton of weights in order to get a great glute workout in either!
HERE'S MY LIST OF THE TOP 5 BEST EXERCISES TO STRENGTHEN YOUR GLUTES
BRIDGES | HIP THRUSTS
Bridges and Hip Thrusts are amazing for glute activation and strength work, and there are so many variations to choose from that you can be sure you will never get bored. Complete a regular glute bridge by setting up on your back, lying flat on the ground with knees bent and both feet on the floor. Push through your heels to lift your hips towards the ceiling and squeeze your glutes. Hold for 1-2 seconds at the top position, keeping a neutral spine, and lower back to the ground. You can intensify this exercise in a variety of ways from adding weight - a barbell or dumbbell across your hips, adding a resistance band at the knees, using a single leg or B. Stance form, adding more seconds to the top hold, or altering your tempo in how fast you raise/lower your bridge. You can also progress into a hip thrust which is a shoulder elevated version of the glute bridge. From there, you can also add feet elevation, a “frog” stance setup, wide stance, narrow stance, and more!
Lunges are a great lunge variation to really target your glutes - the biggest muscle group in your entire body. They are a single leg exercise, so you can also target any muscle imbalances you might have since you’ll be training the body unilaterally. To set up: begin with your legs just about shoulder-width apart, and step one leg back behind you, sinking down towards the ground. Then, push upward through your heel to return to standing. You can make this exercise more difficult by holding onto dumbbells or by using elevation to increase the difficulty. For a deficit reverse lunge, you’ll need to step backwards and down off of an elevated surface like a bench or stair.
Steps Ups are an excellent and super effective lower body exercise for glutes and quads and, depending on the tempo used, can be a great cardio workout as well! You will need a bench or stair for this simple exercise. Start by placing one foot on the elevated platform, and push through your heel to lift your entire body from the ground up onto the bench or stair. Using a slow and controlled movement, lower your body back down to the ground and to the starting position. You can complete the required number of reps on one side before switching to the other leg, or you can alternate legs as you go. Add in some dumbbells to increase difficulty or try incorporating a Step Up to Knee Up or Step Up to Kickback and increase the tempo to get your cardio exercise in!
I’d be remiss to not add some version of squats to this list, and goblet squats are the ones! A great exercise for beginners and experts alike, the goblet squat allows you to focus on exceptional form without being too worried about adding a ton of extra weight.
Hold a weight - dumbbell or kettlebell - at about chest height with both hands and set up your feet just a bit further than shoulder with apart, toes pointed slightly outwards. This setup will allow you to squat to greater depth and thus place more activation on the glutes. Drop your butt down as you sink down and back into your squat, keeping your chest up. Go as deep as you comfortably can then push through your heels to return to standing. Add difficulty to this exercise by adding more weight, adding a resistance band at the knees, tossing in some pause-reps, or slowing down the tempo
try a 3-4 second descent and 3 second hold at the bottom for a real challenge!
BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUATS
Finally, I’ve got one more unilateral exercise to round out your glute strength training list. This one is potentially the most challenging of all since you are upping the ante from a traditional split squat to a rear foot elevated split squat. This small change will increase the balance required for this exercise, thereby engaging your core muscles as well as strengthening the front leg. Once again you’ll need an elevated, sturdy surface like a bench or a chair on which to rest one foot, about knee height is best. Start in a standing position about 2 feet in front of the elevated surface. Lift your leg behind you to rest one foot on top of the chair or bench. Your legs should be about shoulder-width apart with your front foot far enough that you can sink down into a comfortable lunge position - you might need to move around a bit to get comfortable. When ready, pull your core in tight and lean slightly forward sinking down into a split lunge. Push up through the heel of your front foot to return to standing position. Repeated desired number of reps on one side before switching.
Glute strength training is essential to a well-rounded fitness routine, as these powerful muscles help not only your gym and athletic performance but also help your posture, to stabilize your core, help with weight loss or weight maintenance and can even relieve pain and avoid injuries.
Try these 5 glute focused exercises for a great leg day session whenever you are stuck at home!
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