The big bum is in full swing. And it’s not just fashionable, it’s functional.
Large glutes will bring you serious strength and performance benefits, but building isn’t easy for everyone. You need to know how to flex your glutes if you really want a stronger butt.
Here are some simple improvements to common exercises that will blow your bum up and make your lower body workouts really ass tasting.
1. The lunge
To emphasize the glutes, pivot your hips and lean your upper body forward. Keeping your torso upright emphasizes the quads during split squats and lunges, while pushing your butt out by bending forward at your hips puts significantly more tension on your glutes.
Not sure what I am referring to? Here are two videos of a split squat. The first is a quad-dominant split squat; The second involves significantly more glute activation.
Split squat ̵
1; quad emphasis
Split Squat – Glute Focus
When leaning forward, it’s important to have a strong back. Think of your body like an airplane taking off. Shoot about 45 degrees between your torso and the floor.
2. The squat tweak
The full squat is a great glute developer on its own, but you can add a little more tension to the hips by placing a band just above the knees.
The ligament primarily activates the deep external rotators in your hips. Wearing a squat serves several purposes:
- It acts as a proprioceptive cue to drive your knees outward, preventing your knees from collapsing inward.
- It teaches the body to create more torque and external rotation at the hips by giving your knees something to push.
- The tape resists knee movement through the frontal plane. This creates more tension on your hip muscles. Since mechanical tension is a key to muscle growth and development, more tension across the gluteal muscles ultimately builds larger and stronger buns (1).
3. The hip thrust tweak
This is one of the most common exercises for gluteal muscle development (2, 3). To get even more out of the hip thrust, make sure you go to full locking and do a small back pelvic slope at the top.
This will help you get the maximum pressure and will keep you from bending over and injuring your back. For an even stronger contraction, try holding the locked position for about three seconds per repetition. You can also put a band around your knees for extra resistance.
4. The leg press tweak
Most lifters will unwittingly place emphasis on their quads when pushing their legs. This isn’t bad if quad development is your goal, but it’s not ideal if glute development is what you’re looking for.
A simple change to get more glute activation is to place your legs a little higher on the platform. This changes the angle of pull so that the gluteal muscles are more stressed.
Quad Emphasis Leg Press
Glute and Hamstring Emphasis Leg Press
Note: As you raise your feet, you need to be extra careful not to round your lower back as you lower the weight. Make sure your back and hips stay in contact with the seat at all times to protect your spine.
Related: Real men exercise their glutes
Related: Build A Muscular Butt At Home
- Ryan CA Foley et al. “Effects of a Belt Loop on Lower Limb Muscle Activity and Kinematics During the Barbell Squat.” International Journal of Sports Physiotherapy, Sports Physiotherapy Department, August 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5534145/.
- Contreras, B, Vigotsky, AD, Schönfeld, BJ, Beardsley, C and Cronin, JA. Comparison of gluteus maximus, biceps femoris, and vastus lateralis EMG activity in the squat and barbell hip push exercises. J Appl Biomech 31: 452-458, 2015.
- Neto, Walter Krause, et al. “Barbell Hip Thrust, Muscle Activation, and Performance: A Systematic Review.” www.jssm.org/volume18/iss2/Cap/Jssm-18-198.Pdf, Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, June 1, 2019, www.jssm.org/volume18/iss2/cap/jssm-18-198. pdf.