Glute Exercises – Get Your Bum Working With These Powerful Exercises

Glute exercises are what everyone is crying out for. The gluteus maximus or glutes for short is the bum muscle. It is also the biggest muscle in the body. Everyone wants a ‘toned’ bum but not many people know really how to work the glues.

For most people the glutes are quite an inactive muscle that doesn’t contract and do its job as it should. This is explained below…

We spend so long sat down that our hip flexors (front of hips) become tight and facilitated. Due to reciprocal inhibition, our glutes lose power because of the tight hip flexors. Also because of the amount of time sat down our glutes become long and inhibited. When this happens other muscles (hamstrings, lower back) become synergistic dominant and take over movements like that squat and lunge. So now your glutes are not getting the exercise they need. This can lead to:

– An anterior tilt of the pelvis (and pelvis instability) and bad posture.

_ A soft, ‘saggy’ bum.

– Injury to the back.

– Injury to hamstrings.

– Knee problems especially for runners.

One very simple way to work the glutes and bring them back into the shape and strength that they should be is to:

1. Stretch the hip flexors to inhibit them and send more power to the glutes.

2. Choose an isolation exercise from the list below.

3. Choose a functional glute exercise from the list below to integrate the glutes into a functional movement.

Glute Isolation Exercises

Exercise 1

Side lying leg lift (froggies or clams).

For this exercise you must lie on your side with your back flat against the wall. Have you knees bent at 90 degrees and the souls of your feet flat against the wall. Make sure your shoulders and hips are completely flat against the wall.

Keeping your feet together, raise your top leg so that the knee comes as close to the wall as possible (like a clam opening).

Perform 5 sets of 10 seconds holding it at the highest point. Then without any rest perform 20 single full range reps.

To progress this exercise have someone add small amounts of resistance against your knee.

Exercise 2

Single leg bridge.

Lie on your back with your knees bent at 90 degrees and your feet flat on the floor. Then push your lower back into the floor and raise your bum off the ground as high as you can. Make sure you are always pushing your lower back towards the floor by contracting your abs.

Then when you are at the top position, straighten one leg out and hold it there for 10 seconds. Build up to 5 sets of 10 seconds.

When you have completed the static 10 second holds move on to full range reps with your non working leg straight throughout the set. Make sure you are always squeezing your abs and pulling your lower back down towards the floor.

Exercise 3

Reverse Hyper.

For this exercise position yourself lying over a Swiss ball with your elbows on the floor.

Then by contracting your glutes, raise your legs up so that they make a straight line with your body.

Build up to 3 sets of 20 reps and then start to add tiny amounts of weight to your feet.

Functional Glute Exercises

Exercise 1

Walking Lunge.

This exercise is one of the very best glute exercises. And you will know about it for days!

This can be performed with just body weight, dumbbells in hands or a barbell on your back.

Take a large step and sink down so that you back knee almost touches the floor. Then put the weight on your front leg and step through for the next lunge.

Perform 3 sets of 20 reps.

Exercise 2

Reverse Lunge.

To perform this take a really large step backwards and bring your upper body down so your hands touch the floor. Then leading with your chest up, stand upright and squeeze your hips forward.

Either alternate legs and perform 3 sets of 20 repetitions. Or do each leg individually and do 3 sets of 10 repetitions on each leg. Progress by holding dumbbells in your hands.

Exercise 3

Deep Squats.

Squats are a great exercise for the lower half of your body but if you are doing half squats you are not going to be recruiting your glutes effectively. To really make this one of those glute exercises that gives them an intense workout you need to squat deep. Even past parallel almost like you are sitting on a really low stall.

A good way to train yourself to squat deep is to set up a aerobics step behind you and squat down to it so that your bum just touches it and then squat back up. For someone who is a little less steady or confident on their feet i would say this is a good place to start the glute exercises section on squats and then move on.

At the top of the movement punch your hips through by squeezing your glutes. Add resistance so that you are challenged to perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

For more ‘problem area’ exercises have a look at my stomach exercise series which can be found on my website with picture illustrations, or by clicking on my profile and viewing them from there.

Exercise And Weight Loss

While the majority of people recognize that exercise is necessary to effective natural weight loss, many are uncertain as to what kind of exercise they should do to get the best results. Many exercise experts disagree on what kind of exercise is best. This disagreement seems to stem from a lack of complete information regarding exercise physiology coupled with the fact that different people actually have different needs when it comes to exercise.

Let’s begin with what the current research on exercise physiology tells us. It is well-established that it takes approximately 30 minutes of any kind of exercise for the body to burn off its glycogen (stored sugar) reserves and begin burning fat. Because of this, many experts will recommend half an hour to an hour of exercise to produce a good amount of weight loss. Now, if you are going to be exercising for 30 to 60 minutes, or maybe more, what type of exercise would you be able to do for that length of time? It probably would have to be low to medium intensity. In other words, you’re probably not going to be able to run full speed or do any other type of high-intensity exercise for 30 to 60 minutes without a rest, unless you happen to be an elite athlete, and even then you’d be struggling. So, by default, the common recommendation for exercise to lose weight has been 30 to 60 minutes of low to medium intensity aerobic exercise. Aerobic translates to “in the presence of oxygen”, which in common language means that aerobic exercise is any type of activity that you can do without gasping for breath.

In recent years, some experts have changed their recommendations to using a more intense anaerobic (“without oxygen”) exercise program for weight loss. This would include things like intense weight lifting, and something called “interval training”. Interval training involves brief bursts of high intensity activity with periods of rest or low intensity activity in between. For example, you might run full out for 30 seconds or a minute and then walk for a minute or two until you catch your breath and then run again full out for 30 seconds to a minute, walk again, etc.. Because this kind of workout is much more strenuous, it is performed over a much shorter period of total exercise time – about 20 to 40 minutes (at least half of which is rest time), as compared to half an hour to an hour of non-stop exercise as is recommended with low to medium intensity aerobic workouts. But how do the two types of exercise stack up when it comes to fat burning?

The aerobic exercise promoters point to the research that was mentioned earlier that has shown that any exercise, no matter how intense requires at least 30 minutes to use up the body’s stored glycogen (the body will normally burn glycogen before it will burn fat) before fat burning can begin. So, they say, short periods of even highly intense exercise won’t burn much fat and is therefore not a good choice for promoting weight loss. But they are only seeing part of the story.

It is true that you must exercise for at least 30 minutes to begin to achieve fat burning – but that’s at the time you are exercising. Brief bursts of intense anaerobic exercise does something that even quite a lot of low to medium intensity aerobic exercise does not. Intense anaerobic exercise stimulates the production of growth hormone, which is a strong stimulator of fat burning. The thing is, the release of growth hormone triggered by intense anaerobic exercise comes 24 to 48 hours AFTER the exercise, and then it produces considerably more fat burning than is possible with all but extremely long periods of low to medium intensity aerobic exercise.

Because of this effect, most people will lose weight much more easily by doing shorter periods of more intense exercise. 20 to 40 minutes of heavy weightlifting, interval training (which could be done on foot, on a bicycle, swimming, kickboxing, etc.) , wind sprints, soccer, basketball, or any other activity with quick bursts of high intensity with periods of rest or low intensity activity in between is typically much more effective in the long run for weight loss than even hours of aerobic activity.

Now, you’ll notice that I said “most people”. There is an exception to the rule. Anyone who is seriously emotionally or physically stressed in his or her daily life is prone to overstimulated adrenal glands. The adrenal glands do a lot of things in the body, but with regards to weight loss, they produce two hormones. Cortisol is one of the hormones, and it stimulates fat storage in the lower abdominal area. This is typically a saggy, pendulous fat held below the waistline. The other hormone the adrenals produce is adrenaline (also called epinephrine), which actually promotes fat burning. Since the adrenals produce cortisol which causes fat deposition and adrenaline which promotes fat burning, you might assume that these two hormones cancel each other out. Unfortunately, cortisol production can be carried out by a much longer time by the adrenal glands than can the production of adrenaline, so long-term, the effects of high cortisol production (deposition of fat in the lower belly), will overcome whatever fat burning might occur from the short-term adrenaline production.

The adrenals are influenced by physical stress as well as mental stress, so for someone who is under a lot of stress in general in his or her life, high-intensity exercise will only add to the total stress and will tend to make the adrenals produce a lot of cortisol, and therefore will tend to promote lower abdomen weight gain. That’s right – the wrong kind of exercise in this situation can cause weight gain! This can result in the frustrating situation in which one exercises more and more and harder and harder to try to get rid of that lower abdomen stomach “pooch”, but never can seem to get rid of it. Due to the fact that the intense exercise is causing even more cortisol to be produced, their efforts are counterproductive. Because of this effect, it is recommended that people under a lot of stress and/or who have most of their weight held in the lower abdomen stick to relatively low intensity aerobic exercise. This kind of activity is usually helpful for controlling stress and reducing the level of cortisol, thereby making it easier to get rid of the deposition of fat around the lower abdomen.

I hope that this article has given you a better concept of how to maximize your exercise routine for the best possible weight loss results.