A nice butt usually comes from training the glutes, which build bigger and stronger glute muscles. The glutes, or gluteus, is one of the most desired body parts for women (and real men train the booty!).
Most people falter in improving their glutes due to one of a few things:
#1 – Not training correctly
A common misconception about training the glutes is just sticking to one or two isolated exercises. The glutes are made up of three separate muscles, so isolating your workout to just lunges, for example, will only focus on your lower glutes. We aim to grow the entire glute muscles, building a firm and round booty!
#2 – Only training them once a week
There is a thought that training muscles once a week is the way forward to achieve results, right? Wrong!
That’s fine for smaller muscle groups or if you don’t have a focus on any particular body type, but you do.
Glutes are a big muscle group, so as long as your nutrition is on point and your rest is adequate enough, you should benefit more from training your glutes at least twice a week.
#3 – Focusing on cardio to reduce the fat between your glutes and hamstrings
This includes the stepper! Let’s get it out of the way early: Cardio is important to reduce your body fat and allow you to see muscle growth. However, walking aimlessly on a stepper or inclined treadmill 5 times a week will start to bring you more adverse effect and start to eat into the progress you’re making.
Let’s take a look at the best glute exercises you’ll need to make real progress in building a bigger and stronger butt:
Barbell Hip Thrusts
Begin by sitting on the ground with a bench behind you and a loaded barbell over your legs (have a pad on the bar to reduce the discomfort).
Start with the bar above your hips and lean into the bench so that your shoulders are above it. Drive your feet and extend your hips vertically and squeeze the glutes at the top. Extending as far as possible before slowly lowering back to the starting position.
It is a given that step ups do focus on the quads and hamstrings too.
Place the barbell on the back of your shoulders and stand up straight.
Place your left foot on the elevated platform and step onto the platform by extending the hip and the knee. Drive your heel into the platform as you step up, breathing in as you do so.
Step back down using your right leg by flexing the hip and returning to the original starting position.
Repeat with the right leg.
If you are unsure on this exercise, start with performing a body-weight exercise before adding the barbell.
It’s a given that squats are the most important lower body exercise. They work just about every muscle in your lower body and a few in your upper too! The difference is, to focus on your glutes, you need to make sure that your squat goes past the ‘parallel line’, thus putting more of a focus on your glutes and less on your quads.
Place the barbell on the back of your shoulders and make sure you’re stood up straight. Keep your shoulders shoulder width apart and your toes pointed ever so slightly out.
Keep your head up and facing forwards, maintain a straight back and lower the barbell by bending our knees and ‘sitting back’. Continue until your butt goes past your knee, breathing in as you’re lowering the weight. Pause for a second and raise the bar as you breath out. Extend your knees and hips back to the starting position, tensing the glutes as you reach the top.
Bulgarian Split Squat
Stand a stride’s length away from a bench and place one foot behind you on the bench. Keeping your head forwards and chest firm, bend your front leg down until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Make sure you go straight down and not forward.
When you’re nearing the floor, straighten your front leg back to the starting position.
Keep your legs closer together and avoid having them wide.
Cable Kick Back
Hook a leather ankle cuff to a low cable pulley and attach it to your ankle.
Face the front of the weight and stand an arm’s length away from the weight rack, grabbing the frame for support.
Whilst keeping your leg slightly bent, tense your abs your glutes to slowly kick back your leg, as far as it will go without losing your posture, squeeze the glutes and slowly bring your leg back down to the starting position — at the side of your standing leg.
Similarly to the barbell hip thrusts, begin by sitting on the ground with a loaded barbell over your legs and the bar slightly above your legs.
This time, lay flat on the floor with your knees bent and feet about one foot from your butt. Drive your hips forward until your back and legs are parallel with each other or as far as possible. Squeeze the glutes and then return back to the starting position.
Firstly, before trying to perform this exercise, you’ll need a great deal of balance to do so. If you struggle with balance, try to do this exercise either body-weight only or holding onto a fixed object.
Stand with your torso up straight and your legs shoulder width apart, holding onto a Dumbbell in each hand.
Step forward with your right leg as your left leg remains where it is, bend your front knee as you do so and breath in on your way down — your back leg will naturally bend slightly. Keep your knee around 1 inch from the floor. Power back, using your front leg, back to the starting position, breathing out as you do so.
Then alternate your legs.
You can lunge either body-weight, with a Dumbbell or a barbell.
Option: Rather than pushing back to your starting position, you can push your front leg forward, to perform walking lunges as an alternative.