Beginner Friendly Glute Workout
As a national level bikini competitor, glutes are a huge focus of my workouts! I don't know a single woman that doesn't want a round, perky set of glutes SO. That being said, I just HAD to share this workout with you!
I used to think squats were the answer to all the booty problems.
But over the years, I've learned the power of isolation exercises, lighter lifting, and resistance bands!
You might have seen lighter lifting and thought, WHAT? Lighter??
Let me explain.
Most people have weak, under active glute muscles. Add to that the fact that most women are quad dominant.
This means that when the booty is weak, the quads take over to make the movement happen! Your body wants to find the path of least resistance to make the movement happen - whatever movement your brain is commanding it to do.
So even if you're doing a glute focused movement like hip thrusts, if the weight is too heavy for the glutes, the quads come to the rescue to lift the weight. Now, rather than building the butt, we're just overdeveloping the quads.
We don't want this!
That being said, for each of the movements in this workout, I want you to focus on mind muscle connection. Focus on contracting the CORRECT muscle by using proper form. If you can feel your form wavering, lower the weight. It's okay to lift lighter if it means you're lifting correctly!
It's important to warm up with some dynamic stretching. This means completing bodyweight movements similar to the movements you will be doing during your weighted or working sets. This is the best way to prepare your muscles for a particular range of motion.
Bodyweight squats, walking lunges, and some light walking on the treadmill are all great ways to get the lower body warm and ready for what's coming.
Hip Thrusts - 6 sets of 12, 10, 8, 8, 10, 12.
This movement is performed using pyramid style sets. This means that our reps go down and back up as we complete all of the sets. As reps go down, increase the weight you're lifting. Then as reps go back up, decrease the weight again. The benefit here is that the initial sets serve as somewhat of a built in warm up for the heavier weighted sets.
Your body also adapts to rep ranges faster than it adapts to exercises themselves so varying rep ranges provides a new challenge for your body.
1. Sit with a barbell on your lap, your back against a secured bench, and your legs bent out in front of you.
2. Driving through your heels and squeezing the glutes, thrust your pelvis upward.
3. Pause at the top of the movement and then slowly lower the barbell to the starting position.
Single Leg Glute Bridges - 3 sets of 20
The first time I researched these, I remember scoffing because they're bodyweight. Do not knock it til you try it because OH MY GOSH. They hurt and they're fantastic! Single leg glute bridges allow you to isolate even further by focusing on just one side! So if one side is weaker than the other, we can tackle that issue.
I would venture to say this is one of my favorite glute movements ever- a close second to hip thrusts.
Really aim to keep this movement slow and controlled and feel the burn!
1. Lie on a mat with both legs bent out in front of you.
2. Raise one leg off the floor and keep this leg straight.
3. Push down by driving through your other heel and thrust your hips upward.
4. Raise your glutes off of the floor until your hips form a straight line with your torso.
5. Pause and then slowly return to the starting position.
6. Complete all reps in a set for one leg and then switch to the other leg. That's one set.
Banded Fire Hydrants - 3 sets of 15
This exercise always makes me laugh because it's literally named after the way dogs lift their legs to pee on a fire hydrant... I guess now my pup and I share something in common! They look a bit silly but WOW.
These are fantastic for rounding out the SIDES of the glutes by hitting the gluteus medius and minimus.
Again, keep it slow and controlled!
1. Position yourself on all fours with knees at a 90 degree angle and a resistance band around your thighs.
2. Raise one knee out to the side while maintaining the 90 degree angle in your leg.
3. Pause and then slowly lower your leg to the starting position.
4. Complete all reps in a set for one leg and then switch to the other leg.
Leg Extension Machine Hip Thrusts - 4 sets of 12 (hold last rep for 10 seconds)
These are another fantastic variation of the hip thrust! Especially if you're working out in a gym with limited equipment, these are a great way to get some glute work done on a leg machine.
I also recommend these for beginners to hip thrusts. Although getting set up under the foot pad may feel a little awkward at first, as the machine wasn't designed to be used for hip thrusts, this equipment provides a lot more stability to do the same movement as you see with the barbell.
If you're concerned about form and trying hip thrusts for the first time, using this machine to do them is a great way to maintain greater control of the movement.
1. Adjust the footpad of a leg extension machine so that you can sit with your back against the front of the seat with the foot pad against your torso.
2. Just as in the first hip thrust movement, drive through your heels and squeeze the glutes as you lift the foot pad and your hips upward.
3. Squeeze the glutes at the top and slowly return to the starting position.
Resistance Band Glute Kickbacks - 3 sets of 12
I perform these at least 3 days per week - even on non leg/glute days to touch up the booty throughout the week. Kickbacks are the old school, gold standard for building glutes! You can use a band with handles and perform these on all fours.
I prefer to use a band loop and perform them standing as you would on a cable machine.
1. Stand up straight with your feet together and a resistance band loop around your ankles. Hold a bench, wall, or cable station for support.
2. Kick one leg back and up, squeezing the glutes as you do so.
3. Slowly return the raised leg to the starting position without planting your foot on the ground.
4. Repeat until all reps are complete for one leg. Then switch legs.
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