Glute Exercises For Size And Strength
Why do we want to put mass on our ass? When it comes to training, strong glutes are essential to build a big squat and a big deadlift. Really any lower body movement, requires mass on that ass.
Strong Glutes = Big Deadlift & Squat
The issue we run in to, is that when it comes to glute isolation movements, they are usually very ineffective. They just aren't enough to produce a change in the body and get you stronger. For our purposes we need higher weight exercises to produce that bodily change.
The next issue we usually run into would be that most glute exercises load the spine too much. So it can be hard to hit those glutes without put strain on and aggravating your lower back. So if you already have some lower back issues, it can be hard to target the glutes effectively.
1. Barbell Hip Thrust - This exercise has a really great range of motion with solid glute activation. You want to setup your bench against something solid(wall or rack) so you don't move when you thrust up. You want to bend your legs roughly to a 90 degree angle with your body close to the bench.
We do recommend using some sort of pad on the bar as you do have a loaded bar on your body and it will hurt when you start thrusting up. The benefit of this exercise is there is less load on the spine unlike a deadlift or squat and has more direct glute involvement. For an in depth tutorial on hip thrusts we recommend checking out Bret Contreras' video here.
Variation: Glute Bridge - Solid on activating the glutes but it has a limited ROM especially for a smaller person. You can load this exercise pretty high due to the small range of motion but what we really want is that longer range of motion. (Good option if you don't have a bench to do barbell hip thrusts)
2. Cable Pull Throughs - Does not load the spine intensely and you get great glute contraction. Consider these a less lower back dominant version of the stiff leg deadlift. These also help reinforce the pattern of hip extension that we see in deadlifts.
For this exercise try and keep the back flat. Sit back as far as you can, feel that stretch. Stand back up using your glutes and finish it by squeezing at the top. The arms are only used to hold the rope, they are not used in the exercise.
As we mentioned, these movements are great because they mimic the same or similar motions used in your main lifts. They reinforce the patterns of hip extension much like in your deadlifts and squats.
Sets & Reps
- Hip Thrusts(any variation): 2-3 sets, 6-12 reps
- Pull Throughs: 2-3 sets, 8-15 reps
If you liked this post or just want to learn more, checkout our article on the Full Squat Mobility routine.