Glute Activation Exercises for Building a Better Butt

This post looks at getting to the bottom of a good glutes workout (pun very much intended). You might have seen me posting on Instagram about glute activation exercises before my booty workouts because glute activation is a great way to facilitate a good butt workout and also, very importantly, help to prevent injury.

On a glutes workout day I’ll typically do a 5-10 minute light cardio warm-up, a 10-15 minute glute activation session and then a 50-60 minute  targeted resistance workout. This post looks at the all-important, often-forgotten 15 minute glute activation work.

As I, and probably a vast majority of people sit on our butts staring at a screen for most of the day, our glutes pretty inactive and probably not working in the way they should when we do get up to move and exercise. When we go straight from lazy butt to workout butt, we risk not only an ineffective session but also risk injuring our lower back, hips, knees and ankles so activating your glutes properly before exercising is pretty important.

My favourite glute activating exercises are as follows ALSO, don’t make prolonged eye contact with people when you do these, it is pervy AF).

The start and finish pictures of each exercise were stupidly taken AFTER a big leg day so I had to block out my sweaty, red, pained face! For anyone interested (I had quite a few people in the gym ask me!) my leggings are from Lilybod and can be bought here.

Kick Backs
1. Get down on all fours so that your hands are shoulder width apart and your knees are right under your hips.
2. Keep your abs tight and your body balanced, with one leg, lift, straighten and kick out behind you until it’s in line with your body and parallel to the floor.
3. Reverse the movement, return to starting position and repeat ~20 times on both sides.
Advance it: use a resistance band around your thighs/lifting leg.

Super Man’s
1. Lie flat on the floor on your belly, hands at your side, palms down for balance.
2. Keep both legs straight, tense the glutes, keep both legs straight, and lift one leg to a 45 degree angle.
3. Hold your leg at the top of the movement, return to starting position and repeat for ~20 reps on both sides.
Advance it: use a resistance band around your ankles.

Clamshells
1. Lie on one side and bend your knees to a 45-90 degree angle, keeping your feet aligned with your body.
2. Tighten your glutes and lift your upper knee slowly to a high, comfortable height. Keep your lower leg and body on the floor and your feet together.
3. Hold your leg at the top of the movement, then close your knees, return to starting position and repeat for ~20 reps on both sides.
Advance it: use a resistance band around your knees.

Fire Hydrants
1. Get in to the same starting position as kick-backs, down on all fours, hips and knees aligned, hands and shoulders aligned.
2. Raise your thigh out to the side (literally like a dog peeing on a fire hydrant), keeping the core tight and the glutes fired.
3. Hold your leg at the top of the movement and then return to all fours, repeat for ~20 reps on both sides.
Advance it: use a resistance band around your knees.

Glute Bridge
1. Lie flat on the ground with your knees bent up and feet flat on the floor. Keep your arms flat at your side, palms down.
2. Lift your hips up of the ground until your knees, hips and torso are in a straight line.
3. Hold your hips at the top of the movement and then return to starting position, repeat for ~20 reps.
Advance it: use a resistance band around your knees, balance feet on a medicine ball, pulse at the top of the movement.

Sumo Walks
1. Take your feet out and bend your knees until you’re in a comfortable squat position.
2. With your legs remaining in the same squat position, step forward on your left, right, left, right etc.
3. Repeat the movement ~20 on each leg going forward and then do the same going backward.
Advance it: use a resistance band around your ankles and/or knees.

Step-ups
1. Find a sturdy box/bench/chair around knee height
2. Keep your core tight and butt clenched and step up with one bent knee first on to the box and then the other leg.
3. Step down and repeat ~20 times for each leading leg.
Advance it: use a higher box/hold hand weights

I’ve deliberately suggested using body weight or resistance band for these activators as you’re just warming up your glutes at this stage. Stick to high reps and save heavy weights for after activation.

The bottom line is, don’t go in to a butt workout without waking up your glutes first. You’ll get more out of your workout and be less likely to injure yourself if you spend 10-15 minutes doing some of these glute activating exercises! Let me know if you try this, I’d love to know how you get on.

Disclaimer* I have a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science but I am not a qualified personal trainer. I write from my own research and advice. Please consult with a doctor/PT if you have any concerns or questions about the above.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s