People are more fitness conscious these days and most of you have exercise plans. However, there are certain areas of the body, which people commonly miss out. Forget the sedentary people, but even those who work out at the gym every day are usually unable to focus on and activate all muscle groups. One of the most ignored muscle groups is you gluteal muscles. Learn how to work out your gluteal muscles for strength, flexibility, mobility and balance.
Gluteal muscles are situated in the buttocks and hips and are one of the strongest muscles in the body. They have a very important function of allowing proper movement of the hips, legs and also supporting the lower back. These group of muscles are important to stabilize the back and hips, balance the hips, support the legs and maintain proper posture. Hence, exercising gluteal muscles is very important. But while most of you are engaged in doing desk jobs, by resting your posterior, your gluteal muscles hardly get any scope of exercise.
Lack of exercise, poor posture, daily strain on the hips, injuries and other musculoskeletal conditions can put your gluteal muscles at risk and make them weak. Weak gluteal muscles are the cause of chronic lower back pain, knee and hip pain, ankle instability, hamstring strains, and lower-body misalignment.
Exercises for Your Gluteal Muscles
It is necessary to incorporate a strong workout for the gluteal muscles in your strength training routines. Exercises for your gluteal muscles can help to strengthen your entire body, improve your performance and gain a perfect form.
Here are some exercises for your gluteal muscles, which can be performed with or without the help of external equipment.
Exercises #1 for Your Gluteal Muscles: Hip Bridges
This is one of the most important exercises for your gluteal muscles, which also helps to strengthen your back and hips.
- Lie on top of a yoga mat, on a flat surface.
- Keep your knees bent, and feet kept apart at shoulder width.
- Your hands should be relaxed and by your sides.
- Push the weight of your body into your heels, on the ground.
- Lift your hips upwards, towards the ceiling.
- Ensure that your back is straight while doing this exercise to prevent any injuries.
- Exhale, when your body is at this point.
- Inhale, and slowly relax, and bring your body down to the floor.
- When at the top, activate and clench your glutes.
In order to push this exercise up a notch and really get the most out of it for your glutes, slowly raise one leg up while at the top position. Maintain your hip level throughout the exercise, especially with one leg up. It is important to not break form as the exercise gets harder, because the risk of injury is too high.
Exercises #2 for Your Gluteal Muscles: Deep Squats
To get maximum traction out of the deep squats, which is another crucial exercise for your gluteal muscles, it would be advised to do these with a barbell behind your neck.
- Stand with your feet apart at shoulder width.
- Maintain a strong stance on the floor.
- Consistently maintain an overhand grip, while holding a barbell across your shoulders and back.
- Push your hips back, while you keep your head up straight.
- Your chest should remain high, and never collapse towards your stomach, as this can cause injury.
- Bend your knees, and squat low.
- Keep pushing your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Hold your body in the lowest position for at least five seconds.
- Inhale, and lift your body off the floor.
A variation of the squat, to get the most for your glutes, is the single-leg box squat. This is one of the most difficult exercises for your glutes, and has greater risk of injury, so practice with caution. You will require a sturdy box/block for this squat.
- Place the block in front of you, and stand on top of it with one leg.
- Stand on one side, so the other leg is buoyant over the ground.
- Push your hips back, and ensure that your heel is firm on the block.
- Flex your knee, and squat down.
- Leave the other leg loose.
- Lower yourself to the floor until your thigh is parallel to it.
- When you are squatting down, gently raise both hands in front of you, at shoulder height, to maintain some balance.
- Push yourself back up using only the leg on the box.
Exercises #3 for Your Gluteal Muscles: Step Ups
One of the most natural movements for the human body is ‘stepping up’. This movement is replicated when we are walking up and down stairs. However, sedentary lifestyle has made stairs obsolete, keeping you way from the natural exercises for your gluteal muscles. Feel free to perform the step ups exercise with weights in both hands should the initial movement prove to be less challenging for you. You will require a very sturdy box, wooden block or actual step to be able to do this exercise for your gluteal muscles.
- Place box in front of you or choose the lowest step.
- Place right foot atop box.
- Push your hips freely towards the back, and pull yourself on top of the box.
- Stand straight on top of the box, while activating the gluteal muscles of the supporting leg.
- Hold this position for five seconds.
- Push your hips backwards again, and – slower than the initial movement – allow your trailing left foot to reach the ground first and very slowly bring your right foot to the ground.
- Perform with weights for a further challenge, and take the stairs when you have to climb to further incorporate this exercise in day to day living.
Exercises #4 for Your Gluteal Muscles: Side Lying Hip Abduction
This exercise isolates and activates one of the gluteus muscles, named gluteus medius.
- Lie on your side on a firm surface.
- Clasp your knees together and keep them bent.
- Open your knees slowly, while keeping your gluteus medius contracted.
- Your heels should be touching throughout the movement.
- If you wish to confirm there is activation of the particular muscle, place your hand lightly below your hips.
- Repeat the movement 15 times, and then turn on the other side.
Exercises #5 for Your Gluteal Muscles: Walking Lunges
Walking lunges are a compound exercise which targets your glutes, quads, and core muscles. This is one of the most all-round exercises for your gluteal muscles. If you wish to kick the exercise up a gear, use an exercise ball to twist during the lunge.
- Stand firm on a smooth surface, with your feet shoulder width apart. This is your initial position.
- Your exercise ball should be in your hands, held straight up in front of you.
- Step forwards with your right foot, and lunge.
- Land on the floor very slowly on your right knee, and your left foot should be up on its ball.
- At this position, twist from your waist.
- Twist your upper body towards the right, and hold the ball in your hands stretched out towards the right.
- Hold this position for as long as you can.
- Bring the ball in front of you.
- Push yourself up from the ground, and return to starting position.
- Ten lunges on either side make a set.
The gluteal muscles are integral to our daily living, and their inactivity is making us a lazy, less fit and more prone to health problems. Make it a point to incorporate these exercises for your gluteal muscles into your daily routine to be able to feel stronger and more balanced.