Not only are glutes apparently 'on trend' right now, they also make for a strong, healthy and pain free body!
Women especially are very much at risk of having under developed glutes because we wear high heels. Although high heels do a lot to make us feel sexy, they actually bring our weight forward to the balls of our feet, causing us to make every movement a knee dominant one, rather than a hip dominate one (**knee dominant movements predominantly use Quads and Hip Dominant movements predominantly use gluten and hamstrings). Combine this with lots of sitting in chairs and you have yourself a very under-active and potentially weak Gluteus Maximus or worse, a saggy bum.
So, here are my 5 top tips to grow beautiful and strong glutes!
- Low reps AND High Reps - The gluteal muscles are predominantly slow type fibres, meaning they do respond to high rep training. However they are made up of about 32% fast twitch fibres, which means that you need to include some low rep, heavy weight exercises to the routine if you really want to see them grow.
Start with heavy weight compound movements first, such as Dead lifts and Barbell glutes bridges, then finish your workout with some more isolated movements such as Reverse Hypers on a swiss ball to get blood into the muscle and increase the 'pump'.
- Do the Barbell Glute Bridge (variation pictured above). It was made famous by Bret Contreas (the glute guy).
It's definitely one to get into your program and one that has certainly made a difference in the development of my derriere. Contreas says; “When the knees stay bent, the hamstrings are placed in “active insufficiency,” which means that they’re shortened and cannot contract with maximal force. Since the hamstrings can’t produce sufficient force, more work is placed upon the gluten to get the job done. This is why bent legged hip extension exercises such as bridge patterns work so well in hammering the glutes.”
- Eat Well, and enough. Starving yourself or even eating low nutrient quality foods is not going to help you put some junk in that trunk. When I say junk, I'm talking about the good type - not the dimply type. Cellulite, although caused by a number of factors including hormones, is also caused by toxicity build up. Getting alcohol, cigarettes, drugs and processed foods out of your diet can make a HUGE difference. We want peaches back there, not oranges.
- uscle Growth takes time and consistency. The odd kick back is not going to get you anywhere. If you want growth of the muscle you also need to consider the progressive overload principle of training.
Progressive overload is simply the principle of doing 'more' over time. However, that 'more' can have so many different variables, from more weight, to more reps, to just more complex movement patterns. If you're not changing the program and increasing the difficulty in some way (with perfect form of course) you won't really see a change. This is where a really good, programming Personal Trainer will be able to help you out.
- Activate the Glutes before you begin a leg workout. You simply have to wake them up. Especially if you spend all day sitting on your butt, you can't just expect it to turn on when you hear gym music.
The gluteals need to be activated with specific, isolated movements. Clams with resistant bands, band walks, body weight glute bridges are all great recipes for a highly alert buttocks!
So let's focus on your gluten this week. Let us know how you get on :-)