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Let’s talk about Butts. Most people want a stronger, tighter, rounder butt. Good News! There are exercises to help you achieve your goal!
Don’t forget to check below for quick links to some great Glute/Lower Body Workouts.
The three main muscles of your butt are the Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius, and Gluteus Minimus. These muscles are commonly referred to as the glutes.
Gluteus Maximus: This is the largest muscle in your butt. This muscle controls thigh extension. Thigh extension occurs when you straighten your leg (as in coming up from a squatting position), during running, and when you lift your leg behind you as in the video below.
Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Minimus: These muscles work together to abduct, internally and externally rotate your leg. They also help stabilize your hips during single leg exercises.
These muscles are imperative for maintaining appropriate position during exercises that target your Gluteus Maximus. For example, internally rotating your knees during a squat increases pressure on the knee joint. Strong Medius and Minimus muscles help maintain your thigh and knee position during these exercises.
Abduction occurs when you lift your leg to the side (as in the video below). Additionally, during the exercise below the standing leg is working to stabilize and balance your body during the abduction.
More Than Aesthetics:
A strong butt does a lot more than make your favorite pants look good. Strong gluteal muscles help prevent injuries to your low back, hips, groin, knees and hamstrings. The help maintain pelvic alignment. When your pelvis is properly aligned your pressure is distributed appropriately through your joints.
Strong glutes help you in every sport. They allow you to accelerate, decelerate and change directions.
The Most Effective Butt Exercises:
Finally! Let’s get to the information you really want to know. What are the best exercises to help you get a stronger and more shapely butt?
1. Single Leg Squat: There are several ways to complete the single leg squat.
Stand on one leg and keep the other leg bent behind you or stretched in front of you. Lower your body as much as you can while maintaining balance. Press through the heel to return to standing position.
You can also start out doing this exercise by sitting in a chair with one leg extended. Try not to use your hands, press through the heel of the foot that is planted on the ground to come to a standing position.
The gluteus maximus muscle is activated during the thigh extension, and the medius and minimus muscles are activated to stabilize the pelvis during this single leg exercise.
2. Bilateral or Single Leg Bridge: See the video below. Lie in a supine position (face up). Bend your knees and press the heels into the ground. Lift the hips off the ground and squeeze the glutes up toward the ceiling for the bilateral leg bridge. To increase the intensity try the single leg bridge with hip lift as demonstrated in the video below.
The gluteus maximus muscle is activated during the thigh extension, and the medius and minims muscles are activated to stabilize the pelvis and keep the knee appropriately aligned during this exercise.
3. Warrior Deadlift: This exercise can be done with body weight or weights for an added challenge. Keep the back straight and the core tight throughout this exercise. Extend one leg behind you and bend at the hips. Keep the knee of the extended leg facing the floor. If using weights keep them close to your body. If you aren’t using weights extend your arms in from of you and reach toward the wall. Keep a slight bend in the standing knee. Return to starting position and repeat.
4. Butt Lift: This exercise can be performed with a stability ball, bench, chair, or lying prone (face down) on the floor. Keep the core tight and the feet reaching toward the wall behind you as you simultaneously lift them toward the ceiling. Core activation is key here to protect the low back and target the appropriate muscles.
5. Single Leg Hip Thrust: Place your hands below your shoulders. Bend your knees and shift your weight into the heels while lifting your toes. Stretch one leg out in front of you. Lift the leg toward the ceiling, while pressing your hips toward the ceiling. Focus on lifting the hips. You may also like the Elevated Hip Thrust or the Bridge Hopper.
6. Goddess Squat Side Kick: This exercise is great for activating all of the muscles of the glutes. Your gluteus minimus and medius are working overtime to stabilize the leg, abduct your leg, and externally rotate the thigh to achieve the Goddess Squat position with the toes turned out to the side.
7. Speed Skaters: Keep the glutes reaching backwards, and the back flat. Bend one leg, and stretch the other leg out to the side. Push through the heel of the bent leg to jump up and switch sides.
8. Ball Pull: Come into a reverse plank position with your heels on a stability ball. Keeping your hips lifted throughout the exercise and core tight, pull the ball and your heels toward your butt. Return to starting position and repeat.
9. Lunge Kick: Start out in a lunging position. Press through the front heel to lift your body, while simultaneously kicking forward. Immediately return to starting position. Be sure to lower your body close to the floor (without touching or banging the knee off the floor!) each time you step back into the lunge.
10. X-Jumps/Cheerleader Jumps: Squat down, keeping the back flat, reaching the hips back and bending the knees. Gently touch the ground on either side of your feet. Press through the heels to jump up while reaching your legs and arms out to the sides so your body forms an X. Return to starting position and repeat immediately.
11. Warrior Split Squat: This exercise combines a Bulgarian Split Squat with a Warrior Deadlift. Start with your foot on a chair or bench. Weights are optional for this exercise. Squat down lowering your hips in an up/down motion. Press through the front heel to lift. Keeping your back straight, hinge forward at the hips to lift the leg behind you. Return to starting position.
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Quick Links: Glute Focused Workouts: