By Hunter Bennett
Training your glutes offers a lot more benefit than simply building a sweet booty.
See, your glutes are one of the most important muscle groups in your entire body. They play a role in nearly every movement you make on a daily basis, as well as anything explosive like sprinting, jumping, and bounding.
Which is why you need to train them directly.
What Are Your Glutes?
The term glutes (or “gluteals” if you’re feeling a bit fancy) simply describes the three individual muscles that make up your bum:
- Glute max (or “gluteus maximus”)
- Glute med (or “gluteus medius”)
- Glute min (or “gluteus minimus”)
And they are important.
What Do Your Glutes Do?
Any anatomy textbook will tell you that your glute max extends your hip (i.e. straightens it when it is flexed, like during a deadlift), while glute med and min abduct your hip (i.e. kick your leg out sideways, like during a lateral band walk).
While this is technically true, it is important to note they do a lot more than that.
Your glute max is the prime mover of your lower body. It produces power any time your hip goes from flexed to straight. This means it helps you squat and deadlift a shit ton of weight, jump high into the air, and sprint as fast as you can.
It also provides stability to your pelvis and lumbar spine — making it pretty damn important if you want a strong and healthy back.
Similarly, your glute med and min are what provide stability to your lower body.
Any time you stand on one leg, they contract to keep your pelvis in a neutral position. As a result, they actually stop your knees from collapsing inwards, which is pretty important when it comes to reducing knee injury risk.
They are also extremely important for any explosive movements that are performed on one leg (think sprinting, bounding, and changing direction), real life stuff (like walking up stairs and climbing stuff), and keeping your squat technique solid.
In short, if you intend to pursue any athletic endeavours, these guys are going to be very important in keeping your lower body powerful and injury free.
Building Your Glutes
When it comes to glute training, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
Firstly, make sure you start your session with some low load glute activation exercises. This could include crab walks, monster walks, or bodyweight hip lifts. This is what ‘wakes up’ your glutes before you jump into other exercises.
Secondly, transition into some heavy strength work that involves a large amount of hip extension (squats, deadlifts, and barbell hip thrusts are key here) to build glute max strength and power.
Finally, include some single leg strength exercises, like split squats and lunges, into your routine. This is where you build that ultra-important single leg stability we spoke about earlier.
Take Home Message
Direct glute training will do a whole lot more than build a sweet booty. It will improve your squat and deadlift strength, enhance athletic performance, increase single leg stability, and prevent back and knee injuries.
In short, building a strong pair of glutes will make you better at life — so follow the steps in this article and get your glutes BUILT.