Ladies, let’s talk about the glutes. While building your glutes might be a common fitness trend right now, they are actually a lot more important than you might think. Not only do the glutes make up the LARGEST muscle group in your WHOLE body, but they also help to support your hamstrings, lower back, core and pelvis.
If you aren’t using your glutes much during the day, or are sitting at work, this can lead to your glutes becoming inactive or dormant. When you sit a lot, this causes the muscles at the front of your body like your hip flexors to become tight and your glutes to not work as they should.
When your glutes don’t fire properly, your other muscles compensate. This can create poor or inefficient movement patterns and lead to potential injury or lower back, hip or knee pain.
While anyone can get weak glutes, the good news is that there ARE effective exercises you can do at home to strengthen them and at the same time know that you are getting the MOST out of leg day.
Try these exercises to strengthen your glutes, choosing three or four to create a home circuit workout and introduce free weights as you build your lower body strength!
They look simple but crab walks are a great glute strengthening exercise! Bending your hips and knees places your glutes into a weight-bearing position, so you are likely to feel these the next day.
For a greater challenge, try holding a medicine ball in front of you, or place a resistance band around your ankles during the movement, ensuring you maintain tension on the band the whole time!
Plant both feet on the floor hip-width apart ensuring that your knees remain in line with your toes. Looking straight ahead, bend at both the hips and knees, ensuring that your knees remain in line with your toes. Continue bending your knees until your upper legs are parallel with the floor. Ensure that your back remains between a 45- to 90-degree angle to your hips. This is your starting position.
Exhale. While maintaining a squat position and keeping your right foot on the floor, step your left foot outwards so that your feet are slightly further than shoulder-width apart.
Inhale. While maintaining a squat position and keeping your left foot on the floor, step your right foot inwards to return to the starting position.
Complete half of the specified repetitions on the same side before completing the remaining repetitions on the other side.
Don’t underestimate this exercise! Stepping up onto a chair places a large emphasis on the glutes, making them work hard. Drawing your knee towards your chest helps to engage your core as well.
Start by placing the chair in front of you and plant both feet on the floor slightly further than shoulder width apart.
Firmly plant your ENTIRE right foot on the chair making sure your knee is not more forward than your toes.
Push through your right heel to extend your right leg. Avoid pushing through your toe to prevent placing additional pressure on your shins, knees, and quadriceps.
As you straighten your right leg, bend your LEFT knee and bring your leg in towards your chest, as shown.
Release your left leg from your chest and place it back to the floor.
Not only will you be working your glutes, but your core and shoulders too! In this exercise, your glutes are doing the majority of the lifting.
Side note, place a resistance band around your upper thighs to increase the intensity and feel those muscles work hard!
Starting on all fours on a yoga mat, ensure that your knees are below your hips and your hands are below your shoulders. Set your spine in a neutral position and draw your shoulder blades down and back.
Exhale. Keeping your knee bent, release and elevate your right leg until your thigh is in line with your spine, ensuring that your foot remains flexed.
Inhale. Lower your right leg to return to the starting position, but without resting your knee on the mat.
Complete half of the specified repetitions on the same side, before repeating the remaining repetitions on the other side.
When it comes to a simple bodyweight glute exercise you can do at home, the glute bridge is hard to beat. If you have a home gym set up, you can even place a weight plate gently on top of your hips for added resistance as you thrust upwards.
With this exercise, you are not just strengthening your glutes but opening up the hips as well.
Start by lying flat on your back on a yoga mat. Bend your knees and position your feet firmly on the mat, ensuring that they are hip-width apart and your spine is in a neutral position. Allow your arms to rest by your sides on the mat. This is your starting position.
Exhale. Press your heels into the mat, activate your glutes and raise your pelvis off the floor until your body forms one straight line from chin to knee, resting on your shoulders.
Inhale. Lower your pelvis to return to the starting position.
Repeat for the specified number of repetitions.
With a reverse lunge, there is the additional challenge of stability. This makes your glutes and lower body work even harder to keep you steady.
Plant both feet on the floor shoulder-width apart. This is your starting position.
Inhale. Carefully take a big step backwards with your right foot. As you plant your right foot on the floor, bend both knees to approximately 90-degrees, ensuring that your weight is evenly distributed between both legs. When done correctly, your front knee will be aligned with your ankle and your back knee will be hovering just off the floor.
Exhale. Extend both knees and transfer your weight completely onto your left foot. Step your right foot forward to return to the starting position.
Inhale. Carefully take a big step backwards with your left foot. As you plant your left foot on the floor, bend both knees to approximately 90-degrees, ensuring that your weight is evenly distributed between both legs. When done correctly, your front knee will be aligned with your ankle and your back knee will be hovering just off the floor.
Exhale. Extend both knees and transfer your weight completely onto your right foot. Step your left foot forward to return to the starting position.
Continue alternating between right and left for the specified number of repetitions.
Goblet sumo squat
Squats are a compound exercise, so they target multiple muscle groups like the quads, hamstrings and abs! In a wider stance, your glutes need to engage in a different way compared to a regular squat due to the depth you are able to reach, so adding variety to your glute training, like squat variations can help to promote consistent improvements!
If you don’t have any equipment, just leave out the weight altogether, or use anything you have lying around the house of the same weight, like cans of food!
Holding a dumbbell with both hands directly in front of your chest, plant both feet on the floor further than shoulder-width apart. Point both feet slightly outward. This is your starting position.
Inhale. Looking straight ahead, bend at both the hips and knees, ensuring that your knees point toward your toes. Continue bending your knees until your upper legs are parallel with the floor, ensuring that your back remains between a 45- to 90-degree angle to your hips.
Exhale. Push through your heels and extend your knees to return to the starting position.
Repeat for the specified number of repetitions.
Take leg day home with these glute strengthening exercises
You don’t need a gym membership to have a solid leg day — as long as you have a few effective glute building exercises up your sleeve, you can take your workout anywhere!