Glutes, booty, butt, fanny – whatever you call it, it isn’t just made for you to sit on or to look at. Outside of your core muscles, your gluteals are very essential in ensuring your performance in your sport is top notch. They also help improve posture and alleviate lower back, hip and knee pain. Unfortunately, due to our jobs, not working out, etc., our glutes can become inactive and their ability to fire when needed is compromised. When that happens, your body has to compensate by overworking neighboring muscle groups to keep you moving. Unfortunately, it leads to various injuries and imbalance that if left unchecked can dramatically affect one’s performance over time.
These four exercises will not only wake up your glutes, but they’ll also bring you to a higher state of athleticism only dreamed about. Also, from an aesthetic standpoint, it gives your competitors something to look at as you overcome them in competition.
Barbell Glute Bridge (perform 3 sets for 8 to 12 reps)
1. Begin seated on the ground with a loaded barbell over your legs. Using a fat bar or having a pad on the bar can greatly reduce the discomfort caused by this exercise. Roll the bar so that it is directly above your hips and lay down flat on the floor.
2. Begin the movement by driving through with your heels, extending your hips vertically through the bar. Your weight should be supported by your upper back and the heels of your feet.
3. Extend as far as possible, then reverse the motion to return to the starting position.
Barbell Reverse Lunge (perform 3 sets for 8 to 12 reps, each leg)
1. Position a weighted bar across your upper back, holding the ends with your hands to keep it stable. Alternately, you can do this in a squat rack to more easily get into the starting position. Stand erect with your chest out and your shoulders back, maintaining the natural curve in your back and knees unlocked. Your feet should be about hip width apart. This is your starting position.
2. Staying erect, initiate the movement by stepping back about two feet with one foot, keeping your hips facing forward as the toe of your back foot makes contact first. Then, allow both knees to bend and descend just short of allowing your trailing knee to touch the floor.
3. Press back up by pushing through your back foot, maintaining balance as you return to the starting position.
4. Repeat on the opposite side and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squat (perform 3 sets for 8 to 12 reps, each leg)
1. Start by standing about two to three feet in front of a flat bench with your back facing the bench. Have dumbbells in front of you on the floor.
2. Squat and pick up the dumbbells, and while using a neutral grip, hold the dumbbells by your hips.
3. Move one foot back so that your toe is resting on the flat bench. Your other foot should be stationary in front of you.
4. Slowly lower your leg until your thigh is parallel to the floor.
5. Leading with your chest and hips, elevate your leg back to the starting position.
6. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.
7. Switch legs and repeat the movement.
Frog Pumps (perform 3 sets for 20 reps)
1. Sit with your knees on the floor pointing outward and your feet together. Your legs should make a diamond shape.
2. Lay back on the floor as you would for glute bridges.
3. Squeezing your bum hard, lift your hips so that your body makes a straight line to your knees.
4. Lower your bum back down to the floor and repeat.
Slow Walk/Marching Prowler Push (perform 3 sets for 20-yard distance)
1. Place your sled on an appropriate surface. Load your sled with enough weight to require effort, but not so heavy that you are significantly slowed down.
2. Place your hands on the lowest handles or at a height around knee level with your arms extended, leaning into the implement.
3. With good posture, drive through the ground with alternating, short steps. Move as fast as you can for a short distance.