This is usually a topic that interests women of all ages; however, both men and women can reap the benefits of strengthening and toning their glutes. Women normally want tighter buns for the image of the popular “bubble butt”, but women should not be the only ones looking to increase muscle tone in their rear ends. Men who participate in winter sports such as snowboarding, skiing, soccer, or hockey will definitely benefit from having more strength in their posterior chain because all of these sports put significant demand on the lower body.
The best way to achieve the look of strong toned glutes is to build muscle and decrease the amount of body fat in that specific area. As I have mentioned in previous articles there is no such thing as spot reduction and no exercise will decrease fat in any specific area; however, with the combination of the exercises mentioned in this article, clean eating, and sufficient cardiovascular exercise, having the “buns” you dream of is within reach.
TIP: Ladies do not be afraid to lift heavy weights! This is how you increase muscle mass, firm up, and tone the body. Lifting light weights for 20-30 reps will get you nowhere!
Here are 3 of my favourite exercises to help strengthen and tone the glutes:
Stand with feet a bit wider than your shoulders and toes pointed out at a 45-degree angle. Hold a dumbbell on end out in front of you between your legs. Now squat as you normally would, making sure you go nice and deep and focus on squeezing the glutes on the way up to feel them working. Repeat 12-15 times.
These can be performed with dumbbells in your hands or a barbell on your shoulders. Begin by taking a large step forward with your right leg and while keeping your back straight, bend your knees and go down to a point just short of your left knee cap touching the ground. In this bottom position both right and left knees should be at a 90-degree angle and your right knee should be behind the toes on your right foot. Squeeze the quads and gluts of your right leg to return to starting position and repeat 12-15 times before switching legs.
Hip Raise off Bench
Begin by lying with only your shoulder blades and head resting on a bench, feet on the floor, and knees at 90-degrees so the body is in a tabletop position. Drop your hips down towards the floor as low as you can without your back leaving the bench or heels leaving the floor, then squeeze your bum to press your body back up to the starting position. Repeat this movement for 12-15 repetitions and for increased difficulty rest a weighted plate or dumbbells on the front of your hips.
Single Leg Bridge
This exercise can also be replaced for a single leg bridge (as seen in picture to the right). Begin by lying supine (spine down) to the ground with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Raise your right leg up in the air and after “engaging” your core muscles (see articles titled “The Pelvic Tilt”) push through your left heel to raise your body up until your thigh is parallel to your body. Repeat this exercise for 12-15 repetitions and then switch legs.
Try running stairs, hills, or steep incline on the treadmill to help target and tone the glutes in addition to performing the recommended strength exercises.
Email Michelle@CORE-Condition.com for more ideas on how to strengthen and tone your glutes this winter.
Michelle Roots BA Kin, CSCS, PES