The gluteus maximus is one of the largest muscles in our bodies. It’s also one of the trickiest muscles to work.
However, if you’re longing for a perkier backside, you can absolutely build the body of your dreams with a proper lifting routine.
But If you’re unsure where to start—these next few exercises are excellent for activating the gluteal muscles. Implement these, and you’ll start to notice a positive change in no time.
#5 – Hip Thrusts
This movement targets the glutes like no other. You’ll also be surprised to see how heavy you can go with these. Try them on the Smith machine, or use a barbell instead.
Also, try to challenge yourself and go quite heavy. High reps with a low amount of weight aren’t likely to produce the results you want. Whereas going moderately heavy and performing ten to twelve repetitions, will stimulate and grow the desired muscle group.
#4 – Hyperextensions
The hyperextension bench is typically used to target the lower back. However, by turning your feet out to the sides and squeezing your glutes as you pull your body back up from the downward angle, you’ll start to feel the burn in your glutes and hamstrings. You can thank the ‘Glute Guy’ Bret Contreras for this one.
#3 – Cable Kickbacks
Cables are awesome. They offer the freedom of free weights but still provide the guided support of a machine out on the gym floor. Use these as an accessory movement right after your big compound lifts—deadlifts and squats—or as a quick warmup/activation.
#2 – Sumo Deadlifts
When it comes to building up your glutes, squats will always come in second place to the deadlift. But make sure to do your research. Performing it for the first time with proper form can be a bit tricky.
The deadlift requires patience and practice, but once you get the hang of it, it will be a staple exercise on your legs days.
Keep in mind that this is a hinging movement, so push your hips back and don’t bend your knees as you would while squatting. Squats and deadlifts—though they’re both beneficial exercises—are entirely different movements.
If you wish to engage your glutes, the sumo stance is an optimal variation. Pairing these with some heavy squats will cause you to leave the gym limping, but also coming back for more when you start to see those changes in the mirror.
#1 – Banded Squats
If you struggle to feel any tension in your glutes while performing a squat, it’s probably because
- Squats are a quad dominant exercise
- You’re quad dominant yourself
Squats are fantastic for your lower body. It is a compound movement, meaning it works several muscles at once, such as the calves, hamstrings, and quads. If you want to feel more of a burn in the glutes, try using a resistance band. Roll it up, so it’s above your knees and then try the movement with a barbell. You’ll be shocked at how much of a difference this makes.
A band will help isolate those muscles and completely change up the workout, so it’s an excellent investment to make if you’re trying to build a better butt.