Condition Your Glutes for Overall Appearance and Performance
They may be behind you, but a well-conditioned pair of gluteal muscles contribute to the fitness physique and training itself.
There is more than one advantage to having a set of well-developed gluteal muscles. While a bodybuilding athlete or fitness model might also value them for their muscular definition on a contest stage or at a photo shoot, on a more practical and everyday level, the gluteus maximus or gluteal muscles are also a large muscle group that is important for effective training performance in a wide variety of exercises. Contributing stability, strength, and power are all part of what makes the gluteals a practical training muscle in addition to their appearance when they are well-conditioned.
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Gym: Gluteal Targeted Exercise for Bodybuilding Goals
The gluteals’ main training-involved function is their ability to contract and help to straighten the overall line of the legs and torso form a position in which the body is completely flexed at the waist. In exercise terms, this might be in the performance of a deadlift, a lying leg press, or a barbell or dumbbell lunge, and consequently, these movements are the ones that target the gluteals themselves to maximum effect. Additionally, a strong pair of gluteal muscles is also important to support a proper movement that targets other complimentary muscle groups of the legs, be it the quadriceps or hamstrings. There are secondary and shaping movements that are very useful in targeting the gluteals for several conditioning objectives.
So what to include in any gym training regimen that is intended to shape and define the gluteals? The key exercises are those already mentioned above, but which deserve to be detailed as follows:
- Target: the hamstrings, gluteals, and spinal erectors. Also, secondary stress on the other back muscles.
- Performance: Position the feet reasonably close together with toes pointed forward. With a shoulder-width overgrip on the barbell and keeping arms and legs straight, slowly bend forward at the waist, lowering the barbell down until it touches your toes. Reverse the movement to return to the starting position.
- Tips: If using an Olympic bar, the plate’s size will make it necessary to either stand on a flat piece of wood or other elevated stable flat surface to ensure a full range of motion.
Lying Leg Press
- Target: Along with the emphasis on the quadriceps, leg presses are also excellent for placing direct stress on the gluteals.
- Performance: Place the feet at about shoulder-width on the footplate, with your toes pointed slightly outward. If on a vertical machine, straighten your legs and release the stop bars, then slowly bend the knees toward your torso while bringing them in toward each side of the chest. Avoid bouncing at the bottom position, then reverse direction until your legs are returned to a straight position.
- Tips: While other machines like an angled machine or Universal gym machine will be best for just targeting the lower gluteals and upper hamstrings area, a direct vertical machine leg press will most heavily work the entire gluteal muscle mass.
- Target: Along with the quadriceps, this simple movement also works the gluteals as the rear leg gets stretched from the upper thigh and hip flexor muscles.
- Performance: standing straight with two moderate weight dumbbells at each side and feet just eight to 10 inches apart with toes straight ahead, then step straight forward about two to 2.5 feet with the left foot. Bend the left leg as fully as possible while keeping the right leg reasonably straight. The right knee should be about two to four inches above the ground at the bottom position, with the left knee about three to five inches in front of the left ankle. Then straighten the left leg to the start position. So the next rep starting with the right foot.
- Tips: Weighted lunges can be performed with either a barbell or a dumbbell, but the dumbbell version will put the most intense stress on the forward leg’s gluteals and upper hamstring.
Reducing Fat and Refining Your Gluteal Mass and Shape
Running is another sport that can work well for achieving fat reduction and shaping the glutes. Focus on extending the hips while keeping the chest uplifted; adapt a forward roll motion on the toes to engage the glutes even more. The best surfaces to take advantage of will be hills, stairs, or an incline treadmill session.
Swimming is also beneficial for the glutes. Do laps using explosive power push from the wall. If you also use flippers, you will feel the intense burn put onto the gluteals much quicker. Try the following in-pool exercise: Standing in chest-level water with feet at shoulder-width and toes slightly outward, bend at the knees to lower your hips, and then push straight up explosively using the heels to power the movement.