The glutes and how to work them


The glutes – aka the buttocks, the butt, the rear, the derrière, the tush (and let’s not forget ‘booty’) are some of our most powerful and sexiest muscles. A curvaceous rump is so much in demand and the rewards so huge celebrities even resort to implants to make the right impact on Instagram. But when it comes to butts, nothing beats nature, with extra rewards from old-school development.

Developing the Gluteus Maximus as nature intended

The Gluteus Maximus is one of the largest muscles in the human body, but often unappreciated in its importance to our overall wellness. Critically important when standing, or performing any hip based movement, they enable our spine to be placed in the correct position for whatever is required of it.

Take the Tush Test

Stand up and try tensing your glutes. Notice how:

  • your pelvis moves forward
  • your lower spine becomes straighter

This is the first step in stabilising your spine – great for posture, but essential in resistance training.  If you now engage your abdominal muscles, you will fully stabilise the spine and be prepared for any lift, but especially any requiring hip flexibility. By fixing these two points, the spine will remain stable throughout any range of movement, keeping your spine safe and reducing the risk of lower back injuries.

If you are unable to keep your glutes stimulated, and your spine starts to take the load instead, this could lead to bio-mechanic complications and risk spinal injury, so there are lots of important reasons not to ignore these muscles. The most common problem in this regard is usually tight hip flexors. Stretching and increasing their range of movement will help, allowing your hips to take more load rather than your spine.

Build that butt

The glutes are incredibly powerful muscles, making development a priority if athletic performance and strength are fitness goals, never mind a beautifully sculpted physique. The great exercises that help develop the glutes include:

  1. Squats – the champion butt builder
  2. Deadlifts, both conventional and sumo stance
  3. Lunges
  4. Kettlebell swings

All require powerful hip based movements, but benefits will be felt in many sports, including soccer, American football, rugby and basketball, to name a few. However, perhaps the biggest pay-off of all is improved ‘pulling-power’ that comes from the impact of correctly developing this sexiest of muscles. So, get up off your rear and get squatting!

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           About the author

Alex is a registered Master Trainer and Nutritional Advisor with Level 4 qualifications in obesity and diabetes. He is also a strength specialist and a Ni Dan in Shotokan Karate.

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