a common problem that many people run into when
they're trying to build and work the glutes: the
thighs take over the exercises and the glutes
get left out in the cold!
of the major reasons this happens is that some
of the most effective glute-building exercises
are also among the most effective thigh-building
exercises, e.g. squats, lunges, leg press, etc.
quite often, a person who has smaller glutes and
whose goal is to build their glutes already has
muscle attachments and leverage issues that favor
thigh development over glute development. This
can set them back right from the start.
this sounds like you, read on, because the information
you get today is going to change the way you approach
your glute training forever!
me put it this way...if your glutes already have
a hard time getting involved in exercises, performing
more exercises won't solve the problem! You've
got to properly target your training to make sure
the glutes get worked more than the thighs or
you simply WILL NOT be able to maximize your glute
you're going to learn a number of training techniques
that can help build those large, round firm glutes
you've been looking for! They will help you to
overcome any physical and anatomical limitations
your glutes may have.
note: there will be a link to photo demonstrations
of several of these exercises, positions and techniques
Glute Training Techniques:
1. Consciously squeeze your
glutes HARD while doing your exercises
you sitting in a chair? Clench your glutes as
hard as you can. Feel the squeeze? This is what
you need to strive for while doing glute exercises.
you do a lunge, squeeze the glute hard while you're
pushing up. This will help to activate the glute
muscle. It's all about getting your mind into
the muscle and forcing it to contract rather than
just going through the motions of an exercise.
By concentrating on squeezing the glutes hard
during your sets (of whatever exercise you're
doing), you'll be activating the muscle fibers
of the glutes and increasing the amount of work
you don't believe this technique can work, try
this: go for a walk up and down some hills squeezing
your glutes hard as you push yourself forward
with each step you take. The following day, sitting
down will take on a whole new challenge!
2. Push with your heels
transmission of force and tension from your foot
through your leg and glute can be altered by where
you put the tension on your foot. If you push
with the balls of your feet (the forefoot area),
more tension will be placed on the frontal thigh
(the quadriceps). If you focus on pushing more
with your heels, more tension will go through
the back of the thighs and to your glutes.
pushing with your heels, you can take FULL advantage
of this force/tension relationship. For example,
when you're doing lunges, try to raise the toes
of your front foot off the ground. This removes
tension from the front and focuses more on the
heel. This will, in turn, send more tension to
the glutes, making them work harder.
are several practical techniques you can use to
really force the heel push. For example, on lunges,
do them with your heel on the edge of a stair
or Step platform. Place ONLY your heel on the
surface and do the lunge from there (be careful
of your balance on this, however, as your base
of support is decreased with this technique).
you're doing the leg press, you can focus on the
glutes by placing your heels on the top edge of
the foot plate (the rest of your feet surface
will be off the top and not pushing on anything).
When doing squats, simply raise your toes up in
your shoes to achieve a similar effect.
with the heels on the Leg Press foot place.
Note how the forefoot area is off the top
edge of the footplate.
your heel on an elevated surface (such as
the support base of a machine or the edge
of a stair) to force the tension onto the
3. Visualize "sitting back"
when you're doing your glute exercises
idea is similar to the concept of pushing with
your heels above. When you "sit back,"
more tension will be sent through the back of
the thighs and the glutes. If you lean forward
(the opposite of the "sitting back"),
you will tend to throw more tension on the quadriceps
(the front of the thighs).
can use both the squat and the lunge as examples
of this. When doing the lunge, don't let your
torso angle forward while you're performing the
movement. This will throw more tension on the
quads. Visualize yourself "sitting back"
into the movement. Your body won't let you lean
back far enough to fall over but this "lean-back"
will put more tension on the glutes immediately.
This is something you can try at home right now
and feel the difference right away.
when you're doing squats, you don't normally feel
the glutes working very strongly, you could very
well be leaning too far forward as you squat.
This throws more tension onto the quads and lower
back. This problem is often caused by a lack of
flexibility in the calves. To fix this, stretch
the calves for at least 5 minutes before doing
any squat exercise. You will soon find you're
able to sit back more and maintain a better body
position (more upright torso). This will turn
the squat into a great glute-builder for you!
If you do Smith Machine squats, specifically with
the feet placed a little forward of the bar while
you sit backwards into the bar as you do the movement,
beware! This variation of the squat places a TREMENDOUS
shearing force on your knees.
the knee joint simply wasn't designed to push
backwards against resistance in this fashion and
long-term use of this squat variation can lead
to knee injury (basically, every time you do this
exercise, you're grinding the connective tissue
down a little more - not a good situation). Don't
worry, though! Squats themselves, when done properly,
are an excellent exercise!
forward while lunging will activate the quadriceps
on the front of the thigh more strongly.
back and keeping your torso vertical when
lunging will activate the glutes more strongly.
4. Pre-Exhaust Training
Training is one of the single most effective techniques
for FORCING reluctant muscles to respond to training.
The idea behind this technique is simple: first,
use an exercise that works ONLY the target muscle.
Then, immediately follow that with an exercise
that works the target muscle AND several other
muscles in addition. You essentially exhaust the
target muscle first (with an isolation exercise
that works only that single muscle) then use an
exercise that utilizes other muscles (a compound
exercise) to help push that already pre-exhausted
target muscle harder.
two isolation (single-muscle) exercises that I
recommend for the glutes are low pulley glute
extensions and glute push-ups. Low pulley glute
extensions are done by attaching an ankle harness
to your leg, standing facing the pulley machine
and extending your leg straight back behind you.
Glute push-ups are done by laying flat on your
back with your knees bent 90 degrees and feet
flat on the floor. From this position, push your
hips up towards the ceiling, squeezing your glutes
hard. This exercise can also be done one leg at
a time (just cross the non-working leg over the
as many reps of this exercise as it takes to reach
muscular fatigue (it could be 8, 15 or even more,
depending on the resistance and your strength).
The real muscle-building work gets done on the
you've completed your set, immediately (and I
mean IMMEDIATELY - no rest periods here) move
into the compound exercise for the glutes. Compound
exercises for the glutes include squats, lunges,
leg press, and (my personal favorite glute-builder)
the one-legged bench step squat.
a fairly heavy resistance for the compound exercise...as
I mentioned above, this is where the muscle-building
work gets done. Use a resistance that will allow
you get about 8 to 12 reps per set. This is the
most effective rep range for muscle building.
my experience, the best pre-exhaust approach is
to focus on one leg at a time rather than doing
both. It may take a little longer but the glutes
get worked more thoroughly and your results will
most likely be better. For example, do One-Legged
Glute Push-Ups with your left leg then immediately
do Bench Step One-Legged Squats on your left leg.
Take a rest then do a set for your right leg.
Do a set to failure
of an isolation exercise such as low pulley
glute extensions and glute push-ups then immediately
do a set of a compound exercise such as Lunges,
leg press or One-Legged
Bench Step Squats.
using the four training techniques I've described
above can have a HUGE impact on your glute-building
progress. It's all about properly targeting your
training to FORCE the glutes to take the lead
in the exercise. With these tips, you will build
larger, firmer, rounder glutes. Guaranteed!
in a complete glute-building training manual
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