Routine by Bob Durant, NASM-CPT, NCPT, CPPS, CFPS  •  Photos by Audra Oden

Learning how to activate and recruit the glute muscles is an essential component to effective glute training. Glute workouts should address not only the glutes themselves, but also hamstring and quadricep muscles in order to develop the legs proportionally. This workout will hit all the important stops from learning to develop the feel for glute activation and establishing a consistent routine to achieve your lower-body goals.


Bulgarian Split Squat

Begin by holding dumbbells in each hand with arms fully extended at the sides, palms in, and place one foot on a box or bench behind you (A). Bend your knees and lower your hips towards the floor (B). Drive through the front heel to return to the starting position.

Complete four sets of eight reps (each leg).

Don’t feel it in your glutes? Try this:
Turn your front toes slightly outward. Based on your hip mobility and level of glute activation, you may need this modification to fire them up.


Sumo Deadlift

Stand in front of a loaded barbell on the floor with feet wider than hip-width apart and toes turned out. Bend your knees and grab the center of the bar with a mixed grip, hands shoulder-width apart. Your shoulders should be slightly in front of the bar, knees in line with toes (A). Extend your legs and lift the bar, your hips and shoulders rising at the same speed. The movement is complete when the body reaches full hip and knee extension (B).

Work up to a heavy set of five.  Based on that weight, complete two more sets of five, with 10 percent less  weight. After this, complete as many reps as you can with an additional 10 percent removed while still maintaining glute tension through the whole movement.

Don’t feel it in your glutes? Try this: 
As you descend, ensure that you are pulling your knees outward to create tension. Do not let the knees fall inward.


Stiff-Legged Deadlift

Stand with feet hip-width apart and grip the bar with an overhand grip. Your knees should be slightly bent, with the barbell over your feet. Bending at the waist, send your hips back until you feel tension in your hamstrings (A). Begin to raise the bar by bringing your torso upright and extending your hips (B). Utilize your glutes by pushing through your heels to come all the way up to standing with the bar in front of your quads (C).

Complete four sets of eight reps (as heavy as possible).

Don’t feel it in your glutes? Try this: 
Place the barbell on top of a low platform to reduce the range of motion if you have tight hamstrings. You can utilize blocks or plates to build it up. Ensure that you are driving through your heels.


Lying Dumbbell Leg Curl

Lie face down on a bench or box with your legs extended off the end. Place a dumbbell between your feet (A). Keeping your torso flat on the bench, curl your feet up as far as possible without lifting the upper legs from the bench or box (B). At the top of the movement, hold for one second before slowly descending to a count of three to the starting position.

Complete four sets of 12 reps.

Try This: Superset this exercise with the stiff-legged deadlift for an extra booty burn.


Dumbbell Walking Lunge

Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand with arms fully extended at the sides, palms facing in (A). Step forward with your right leg and lower your hips down until your back knee is about one inch off the ground (B). Push off your front heel and come to the starting position by bringing your rear foot to meet the front foot. Repeat on the opposite leg. Continue walking for all reps.

Complete four sets of 20 reps total.

Don’t feel it in your glutes? Try this:
Turn your front toes slightly outward and push the knee out to the side.


Seated Banded Hip Abduction

Sit on a flat bench or box with your back straight and a resistance band around both legs just above the knees. Make sure there is tension in the band (A). In one motion, pull the knees apart from each other (B). Hold this for a 20-second count, and then begin to perform quick repetitions consecutively, maintaining band tension throughout.

Complete four sets of a 20-second isolation (hold) followed by 20 pulsing reps.

Can’t feel it in your glutes? Try this: 
Tilt your pelvis back to create a small curve in your lumbar spine. This may open up your pelvis so you’ll begin to feel it in your side glutes.

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