It’s all about the butt. It’s always been about the butt. Everything we do, from athletic movements to just daily activities require a strong butt.

If you take a look at an athlete in any sport, you’ll see that most, if not all of their power is derived from their butt. Strong glutes are essential for just about every athletic movement, from running and sprinting to throwing a ball to jumping.

Football linemen, baseball pitchers, basketball players and hockey players all derive an incredible amount of power from their glutes. There is even a developing market of clothing that is specifically tailored to men and women with an athletic posterior.

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Outside of the performance aspect of having strong glutes is the fact that they can prevent injury to the lower back and knee by creating more stability in the hips.

Lastly, even though this article specifically targets men, it does not mean women can’t or shouldn’t perform any of the exercises listed. Quite the contrary, any woman that wants a stronger or bigger butt should definitely do all of these, especially with a significantly heavy load.

Basic anatomy

The butt isn’t just comprised of one muscle. It is a complex network of muscles, both big and small, that are capable of producing an incredible amount of power, but also plays a role in stabilizing the pelvis, leg, and torso.

Gluteus Maximus, the biggest of the three is the one that everyone knows and everyone thinks about when it comes to the butt. Mostly because it is the most prominent, while the other two are a little deeper to the hip. Its main responsibility is to extend the hip, externally rotate the hip, and abduct the hip.

Gluteus Medius is a smaller muscle that controls abduction of the leg as well as internal rotation of the thigh.

Gluteus Minimus, the smallest of the three muscles works with gluteus medius to abduct and internally rotate the thigh.

There are a lot more muscles that could be listed, but for the sake of this article, we’ll just stick to these three.

Glute amnesia

Before we even get to the workouts, there is an important question you need to ask yourself.

Do you suffer from Glute Amnesia?

A term coined by Stuart McGill used to describe what happens when we “forget” how to use our butts to do certain movements, namely squats and/or hip hinges.

This ends up causing a host of motor planning issues, as other muscles end up picking up the slack for the glutes, namely your hamstrings and adductors (this is why your hamstrings always feel “tight”).

Along with glute amnesia giving us compensation patterns, it also makes our butts weak and inactive, and this inactivity can lead to all sorts of aches and pains, most notably, in the lower back.

The cause to all this? Sitting and standing for long periods of time. What ends up happening when we sit for long periods of time is our hip flexors tighten up or stays in a contracted state and this leads to the glutes shutting off.

The solution to “turning on” your glutes again requires some simple, however not so easy, glute activation exercises. Using these will ensure that you get the best out the workouts in the next section of this article.

Prone lying fire hydrant

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This exercise is a great activation drill in that it will quickly tell you if you can or can’t fire your glutes. Avoid rolling & make sure you lift the leg together, not ankle/foot first. Do 5 reps per side.

Seated glute activation with mini band

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Another great activation technique that will set your glutes on fire is this seated drill. Keep the feet flat on the ground & use the glutes to push the knees out wide.

Once you’ve stretched the band as far as you can, relax an inch inward before starting the next rep. Do 10 total reps, holding each rep 1-2 seconds each.

These can also be a great part of your warm-up next time you do a lower body workout.

Now that you can actually feel your glutes contracting, it’s time to go to work.

Best butt workouts

Do a quick Google search for exercises and workout routines for a better butt and what you’ll likely end up with is a series of leg lifts from all sorts of angles and starting positions, along with all sorts of variations on squats.

These can be good and you’ll likely feel a burn because you’ll be doing them for 20+ reps, but they don’t get to the meat and potatoes of really developing a strong backside.

The key to building a great butt lies within utilizing a combination of rep ranges and intensities for different exercises, especially ones that you can use some sort of load with a significant amount of weight.

Some of the exercises listed respond best with a low range but a lot of weight, while others may require a higher rep range with a lower load.

When deciding on your rep ranges for these workouts, keep these guidelines in mind:

– Strength 1-6 reps
– Hypertrophy 6-12 reps
– Endurance 12+

The key is finding an intensity that will suit each exercise for the prescribed rep range. This will stimulate the muscles for strength, hypertrophy and endurance.

Without going to much further into anatomy, by doing a combination of rep ranges, you utilize the different types of muscle fibers that our muscles are comprised of.

Another caveat to these butt workouts is making sure that all planes of motion are used. The three glute muscles all have different actions that were mentioned above and by not utilizing all movement patterns, you’re doing your glutes a disservice.

One last tip before we get to the workouts. Single leg exercises are awesome. By throwing single leg exercises into your workouts, your butt will have to work that much harder to not only do the movement prescribed, but to also stabilize the hips through throughout the movement.

Workout A

1A- Squat
2A- Barbell hip thrust

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2B- Step-ups
3A-Single leg deadlift
3B- Reverse lunges
3C- Mini band lateral walks

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Workout B

1A- Deadlift
2A- Tall kneeling banded hip thrust

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2B- Bulgarian split squat
3A- Lateral lunges
3B- Single leg glute bridges

Pin a ball between your leg and your stomach, you ensure that your glutes will be the prime movers of the movement over your hamstrings and lower back.

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3C- Clamshells- Start by lying on the floor, against a wall to eliminate any “cheating” that may come from other muscles. Separate your knees while keeping the ankles/feet together. You should feel your glutes light up right away.

HIIT workout C

Kettlebell swings
Ice skaters
Jump squats
Side plank
Sled sprints

Tips

Keep track of your workouts, namely the rep schemes you use as well as the amount of weight you use for each exercise. This way each time you perform the exercise, you have a record of what you did and you can adjust the intensity. Plus it’s always great to see the progress you make.

Don’t forget to add recovery work to the end of your workouts through the use of a foam roller or a lacrosse ball. This will help maintain ideal function so you get the most out of your workouts.

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