One easy exercise to sculpt your booty and boost leg power

One Easy Exercise to Sculpt Your Booty and Boost Leg Power

The glutes, aka booty muscles, are a powerful muscle group that balance and stabilise other joints and muscles in your body. They also support your spine, help you maintain good posture and power you up steep hills. As a major bonus, they also give you a fabulous booty when you keep them toned.

What are the glutes?

The glutes are a strong and powerful muscle group.

The gluteal muscles (glutes), are not a single muscle, but a group of three: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. These muscles are strong and powerful when they are fired up and used regularly, but unfortunately, modern life makes keeping you glutes active very difficult. 

What causes weak glutes?

A major culprit is sitting. A lot of people spend most of their day sitting in front of a computer, then sitting in cars or buses, and then coming home and sitting on the couch. This causes your glutes to be inactive for most of the day, and as a result, they become tight and weak. The body will resort to using other stronger muscles to compensate for weak and inactive glutes, so the glutes remain inactive. This is when chronic posture problems and pain will start to emerge. 

Even if you are very active and get outside biking, running and hiking a lot, your glutes may not be firing properly to support your activity if they were weak to begin with.

Why are weak glutes a problem?

Other than a floppy bum, ignoring weak glutes can lead to chronic posture problems because your spine and pelvis are not properly supported. Muscle degeneration and chronic injuries from biomechanical imbalances are a real possibility too. In other words, weak glutes can lead to a whole lotta pain that is hard rehabilitate once it sets in.

How to activate your glutes and keep them strong

You can prevent these problems by being proactive and doing a very simple glute exercise called hip thrusts. The name gives you a clue about what this one looks like. 

Hip thrusts are a great way to strengthen glutes.
Hip thrusts are an excellent exercise to keep your glutes strong.

Why Hip Thrusts Are So Great

Hip thrusts are fantastic because they are not difficult or strenuous, they don’t take a lot of time, and they require no equipment to start out. More importantly, they teach your body to engage and fire your glutes, strengthen the muscles so they can align and support your posture. They also improve the mechanics of your hips, pelvis, knees, and ankles. Strong glutes also enhance athletic performance, helping you bike up hills with more power, run longer without pain, and hike further. Whatever it is you do, strong glutes will help you do it better. 

Your butt will look great too

Not sure if I mentioned this already, but if you strengthen your glutes, your booty will become rounder, firmer, more lifted and look great in those leggings. Major bonus!

How to do a Hip Thrust

  1. Find a couch or chair if you’re at home, or a bench if you’re at the gym. Sit in front of the bench with your back to the bench.
  2. Bend your knees and move your feet out in front of you a little so that when you lift your hips, your quads will be at a 90-degree angle to your calves. You can move your feet in or out a little to adjust as you go to form the 90-degree angle. 
  3. Make sure your feet are hip-distance apart and firm and flat on the floor. Make sure your quads and knees are straight ahead and in line with each other, not rotating out or in.
  4. Lift your hips up and let your upper back rest flat on the bench behind you as this happens. Your body should be a flat tabletop here with your quads at a 90-degree angle to your calves. 
  5. Don’t be lazy with your thrust and stop at the top of the upward motion early. Lift your hips up until they naturally resist against you, and then try and push upwards a fraction more. Don’t hyperextend upwards either though. The goal is a tabletop with your torso achieved by squeezing your glutes to lift your hips up and flatten your back. Hold the top of your thrust for a few seconds before lowering.
  6. Don’t relax when you’re lowering either. You will get great glute strength benefits by lowering slowly with control to the ground.
  7. Do 15 reps of these hips thrusts. Repeat for 3 sets of 15 reps in total. Perform these three times a week.

Hip Thrust Demonstration Video

Here is a great video demonstrating how to do a hip thrust with the correct form.

Add Hip Thrusts to Your Routine

It’s fairly easy to incorporate these into your routine because they are so quick and easy. Try doing them as a warm-up before your run, pre-yoga, or after whatever activity you are doing.

Add Resistance

Try adding some resistance as your glutes get stronger. Do this gradually and slowly. When hip thrusts with no weights feels too easy, rest some 3kg dumbells or a barbell weight on top of your thighs and thrust with those. Just be sure to progress with weights slowly. Don’t pile on too much weight too soon.

Add weight to hip thrusts to advance the exercise and strengthen glutes.
Add dumbells or a barbell to the hip thrust exercise to progress and keep strengthening the glutes.

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