The glutes are an interesting muscle group. Aesthetically speaking, they can make your lower body look fantastic with minimal effort. From a strength standpoint, strong glutes can almost singlehandedly carry you through many exercises. And most importantly, if you're careful, you can get away with training them twice per week. Today, you'll find two workouts dedicated to building your glutes. The first is somewhat more quad-dominant, while the second is slightly more hamstring-dominant. Perform each workout once per week, at least 48 hours apart, for best results. And I know, the workouts are a little short - add two core exercises of your choosing to each to finish them off.
Narrow Stance Squat
Sets and Reps: 3 sets and 8-12 reps
I know we just talked about narrow stance squats last week, but it would be a crime to leave them out of a glute-building workout. Once again, I stand by the narrow stance squat as THE lower body exercise everyone should learn. Start by positioning a barbell on your back just below your traps. Grip the bar on both sides of your head and lock your elbows in - this will help keep your chest puffed up and out and ensure solid balance throughout the movement. Start the movement with your hips - not your knees - by pushing your glutes slightly backward. Now you can start to bend your knees. Continue pushing your hips and glutes backward. Pretend you're about to sit back into a comfy chair. When you hit the 90-degree mark keep going for a few more centimeters, then explode upward by driving your feet into the floor and pushing your hips up and forward.
Bulgarian Split Squat w/ One Side Loaded
Sets and Reps: 4 sets and 8 reps per side
This is the advanced version of the more often chosen split squat. While the split squat keeps both legs on the floor, the Bulgarian version forces you to elevate one. Position a flat bench next to you and face away from it. Grab a dumbbell in only one hand and allow one foot to rest on the bench - most of the top of your foot should be touching the bench. Squat down and drop your back knee towards the floor, then explode back to the start. Make note of your front knee - if it's cruising way past your toes, take a few hops away from the bench until it's closer to 90-degrees. If you feel like you're leaning to one side, you should be - that's the point of the single weight. Try to counter it, limiting lateral flexion, by bracing your core and keeping your posture nice and tight.
Rollback Pistol w/ Pogo Hop
Sets and Reps: 3 sets and 45 seconds per side
This exercise combines the classic pistol squat with two extra movements that require additional balance, coordination, and power. In other words, we're making an already difficult movement even harder. But hey, it's good for you. Start in a standing position with your arms extended in front of you. Drop down into a single leg squat, but don't stop when you near the ground. Allow yourself to keep dropping and then roll onto your back. As you continue to roll, you're eventually going to reverse direction and start rolling forward - ride this momentum back into a single leg squat. As you finish the squat, perform a mini pogo hop with the working leg. I normally don't condone cheating, but don't be afraid to use your extended arms to give you some extra momentum to get you back into a standing position.
Side to Side Tuck Jumps
Sets and Reps: 3 sets and 10 reps
This is the power movement of the bunch. It's a great starter plyometric exercise and an even better glute builder. You should also be happy to hear that it's one of the easier plyo exercises to learn and perform. Start in a standing position with arms at your sides. Quickly and slightly bend your knees - the same knee dip that you would use with a push press - then explosively pull your knees to your chest. The goal is height, so don't be afraid to use a strong upward arm motion to help you out. That's the standard tuck jump, but today we're adding a spin. As you pull your knees to your chest, allow your body to drift to the side. Alternate as you go and aim to cover about half a meter of side to side distance.
Sets and Reps: 5 sets and 3 reps
Yep, we're squatting again. The pause squat isn't terribly different from the close stance squat of Workout A, but it's different enough. Follow the technique cues provided for the close stance squat, but this time use a slightly wider stance and add a pause to the bottom. Beginners should feel free to start with a brief 1-second pause, but most lifters should be fine using a longer 3-second pause. Just in case it isn't clear, add the pause to the bottom of the motion. When you're in this position make sure to keep your core braced. Don't let your technique suffer. Other than that, it's the same movement with a different rep range.
Slow Motion Pull-Through
Sets and Reps: 4 sets and 6 reps
Similar to the close stance squat, I'm a big fan of the pull-through. If you read these programs regularly then I'm sure you've seen it a few times. As with the squat, I just couldn't leave it out of a glute-building workout. This variation still utilizes the classic pull-through exercise, but adds a tempo twist to increase the difficulty. Start by attaching a rope to a cable machine and set it to the lowest setting. Facing away from the machine, grab the rope with both hands and hold it right between your legs - it should be directly under your crotch. Take a few steps away from the machine to create some tension. Now, with arms straight, squat down and let your hands move through your legs towards the machine. This is the starting position and should feel like the starting position of a deadlift or any movement that relies on the hip hinge. Usually you want to explode through the movement, but let's take it slow today. Squeeze your glutes and push your hips forward until you're in a slightly angled standing position. Try to take at least three times the amount of time you would on a normal rep and make sure you feel your glutes and lower back straining.
Sets and Reps: 3 sets and 10 reps
Last week was so barbell heavy that I thought we'd perform this classic deadlift variation with dumbbells today. The RDL is most easily described as a straight leg deadlift with slightly bent legs and a major focus on hinging the hips. Get started by grabbing a pair of dumbbells and holding one in each hand. In a standing position, slightly bend your knees. Hold the dumbbells out in front of you on either side of your legs. Now, simultaneously push your glutes and hips backward and drop your torso towards the floor until you're nearly at a 90-degree angle. Your back should be straight or slightly arched - this is the starting position. As with any other deadlift, pull the weight up and return to the starting position. The key point to remember is that there should be very little movement at your knees - it should be coming from your hips.
Hip Thrust w/ Pause
Sets and Reps: 4 sets and 6 reps
The hip thrust is definitely a progression from the more commonly used bridge exercise, but it's simple enough that most beginners should be able to handle it. Position your upper back along the edge of a flat bench. Your feet should be flat on the floor and your knees bent. Try to angle your back to about 45-degrees. This is the starting position. Before you make any movement, do these two things: drive your heels into the floor and squeeze your glutes. Now you can push your hips into the air until your body - minus your knees - is nice and straight. Hold this position for 3 seconds and slowly lower yourself back to the floor. Once you're comfortable with the movement you can load it by holding either a dumbbell or barbell directly over your hips.
- Team Supplements.co.nz
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