The glute epidemic has been spreading throughout the years. Almost everyone wants bigger and stronger glutes. Who would have thought that one of the most aesthetically pleasing muscles to look at is also one of the most powerful muscles too? Without your glutes, you will not be able to perform any athletic feats. Before I give any strength training advice, I want to acknowledge some common mistakes people make when training their glutes.
One mistake I see a lot of people making in the gym is that they do a lot of body weight donkey kicks (left photo) and fire hydrants (right photo) to get their butt bigger.
In reality, this makes no sense because if your butt is one of the strongest muscles in your body, then how can a simple kick in the air get them bigger? For example, I can’t expect to flex my elbow 500 times and get bigger biceps. You are going to have to lift weights in order to get a bigger and stronger butt!
Another common mistake I see is a lack of glute activation. It is easier said than done to activate your glutes in several exercises. Everyone knows the common lower body exercises that are supposed to work the glutes, such as squats, deadlifts and lunges. Even though these are great exercises, many people tend to overcompensate with their lower backs or their quads.
So how do I activate and strengthen my glutes?
First, I would recommend stretching out your hip flexor. If you have tight hip flexors, you are probably not activating your glutes. Hip flexor flexibility helps open up the hips and maximally activate the glutes. Once you free your glutes from the chains of tight hip flexors, you can start adding isometric holds to properly activate the glutes. One activation technique I love to do is in the video below.
The reason I do this activation drill is because I want to dissociate the feeling of using your glute with your lower back. The goes to the old bodybulding concept of developing mind-muscle connection. If you can feel that muscle working, you are more than likely using and working that muscle. The two exercises discussed in the beginning of the article, donkey kicks & fire hydrants, are also two great glute activation exercises. Even though they won't get your glutes stronger or bigger, they will at least help you activate and warm up the glutes.
After learning how to activate your glutes properly, then you can add strength training. Most importantly, incorporate weighted glute bridges and weighted hip thrusts. Weighted glute bridges and weighted hip thrusts are two exercises that actively target the glutes like no other exercise. Read articles from the famous strength coach, Bret Contreras if you doubt me.
After strengthening your glutes, you are one step closer to having bigger glutes and, most importantly, becoming a better athlete!