I was never blessed with shapely, round glutes, I squatted for them. You can buy yourself a chest but if you want firm, round glutes you are going to have to work for them.

During my contest prep for my first bikini competition, I was under the impression that shoulder-width squats on the Smith machine, using the leg press, and doing lunges were going to give me the glutes that I wanted. WRONG! With the help of my degree in exercise physiology and my experience as a personal trainer I decided to come up with my own system.

The term “glutes” refers to the gluteal muscles, which are comprised of the gluteus minimus, gluteus maximus and gluteus medius. Abductors also play a large role in glute toning. In order to get the results you want, you must do a different exercise for each muscle. On top of isolating each muscle, you must have excellent mind-muscle connection.

Mind, muscle connection, in my experience, involves reducing the weight and really dialing in and concentrating on the muscle you are engaging with each exercise. Another common misconception I had during my first contest prep was that you must lift as heavy as you can in order to see results. WRONG! My glutes improved significantly when I started lowering the weight, increasing my repetitions and really thinking about my glutes improving during each exercise.

I like to dedicate one whole day to glute training; it is one of the most judged body parts as a bikini competitor. I usually start with a heavier leg day on Mondays which consists of more compound leg exercises. Thursdays, when my legs have recovered, I do more isolated exercises for my glutes. (This is a fun training day and you can get very creative with it!)

Here is an example of what my leg day and glute day looks like:

Leg day (heavy)
1. Shoulder-width squats on squat rack – 90 degree
2. Stiff-legged deadlifts
3. One-legged hamstring curl, superset with walking lunges
4. Linear hack squat, superset with weighted hip thrusts on bosu ball
5. Leg press (I like to use the squat press)
6. Leg extension (light weight until burnout)
Glute day (lighter weight)
1. Box jumps to warm up
2. Wide-stance (sumo) squats on the Smith machine with toes pointed out
3. Narrow-stance squats
4. One legged squats on smith machine
5. Glute kickbacks on cable
6. Glute kickbacks (using the prone hamstring curl machine backwards)
7. Glute stomps (using the assisted pull-up machine)
8. Abductor machine until burnout (done very heavy and leaning forward)

On top of resistance training I ONLY use the Stairmaster for cardiovascular exercise, and I squeeze my glutes with each step. Remember mind-muscle connection for best results – SQUAT FOR IT!

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