Photography: Brian Reilly (weststudio.ca); model: Katie Crewe
Frustrated by the lack of muscle tone in your posterior despite the repetitive glute exercise you’ve been committed to? Well, your weight is over – and we do mean ‘weight’.
Body weight exercises are certainly convenient and can definitely tone the glutes somewhat, but they’re limited in their effectiveness for sculpting a buff backside. This is where weight training comes to the rescue. Let’s use the lunge as an example. It doesn’t matter if you’re petite, average or large when you perform a lunge with no additional resistance – your gains will be limited by your weight. If you simply add a loaded barbell, you’ll in many cases double the force required of your glutes (and all your leg muscles, too). Think about how much more efficiently you’ll be able to correct your problem areas. If you’re 135 pounds, a barbell with one big plate on each side will equal your bodyweight and double the resistance. Double the weight, double your gains.
Don’t forget that resistance training comes in many other forms, too. In this workout, you’ll use a barbell on two moves, while also manipulating a kettlebell and a resistance band. With a full arsenal of equipment to amp up your gains, you may just want to kick body weight training to the curb when it comes to your glutes!
The “GLORIOUS GLUTES 4 x 4” Workout
This “four sets of four exercises” glutes workout requires focus as you’ll be adjusting the resistance for all 16 sets. To get the best response from your glutes, you’ll start off performing the first set of each exercise with high reps and low weight, then progressively decrease the reps while increasing the weight. This way, you’ll not only be sculpting a beautiful booty, but as a bonus you’ll pack on some seriously sexy muscle development too.
|Exercise*||Set 1||Set 2||Set 3||Set 4|
|2.||KETTLEBELL ROMANIAN DEADLIFT||15||12||10||8|
|3.||BENCH HIP THRUST||15||12||10||8|
|4.||RESISTANCE BAND THIGH ABDUCTION||15||12||10||8|
* Perform all four sets of each exercise, then move on to the next exercise.
Start: Step under a racked barbell and secure it with a backhand-overhand grip at the width of your shoulders. Step forward and pause, standing tall with back straight, legs shoulder-width apart, arms parallel to the floor and your chin up.
Execution: Lunge forward by flexing your lead leg and let the weight of the barbell help gravity to lower you into a squat position, until your quads are parallel to the floor. Don’t allow the weight to move and maintain a straight back. Hold in the bottom position for a second, then press into the floor by extending your lead leg to return to a vertical position.
Training Tip: Beginners often exhale on the descent, thinking it will allow a greater stretch in the lunge. On the contrary, you want to inhale on the descent and create more intra-thoracic pressure as you press into the floor, then exhale on the ascent.
Start: Grasp a barbell with an overhand, shoulder-width grip and hold it immediately in front of you. Position yourself face up, adjacent to the long edge of a bench, supported only by your upper back on the edge and your feet on the floor. Keep the bar above your hips.
Execution: Keeping your head in line with your spine, thrust upward from your hips against the barbell. Preserve a 90-degree bend in your knees throughout the move. In the top position, your head will be directly above the bench and your torso will be parallel to the floor. Hold in this top position for one second, then lower along the same path back to the start.
KETTLEBELL ROMANIAN DEADLIFT
Start: Stand tall at first and grasp a kettlebell with both hands together, using an overhand grip. Separate your feet to about shoulder width, and bend your knees just a touch. Let your arms hang fully extended and keep the bell as close to you as possible.
Execution: Let the kettlebell descend straight down in a controlled manner as you thrust your butt behind you. Breathe deeply to assist with power output and also keep your back straight. Keep your arms fully extended, and descend to the point where your flat back is almost parallel to the floor (the bell will hover just above the floor). Hold in the bottom position for a second, then thrust your hips forward to pull the weight back to the start.
Training Tip: With a single kettlebell it’s easier for your body to work in unison; when you become more advanced with this move, try using two dumbbells – one in each hand, using an overhand grip – and you’ll notice the elements of balance and co-ordination will give you more of a challenge.
RESISTANCE BAND THIGH ABDUCTION
Start: Attach a resistance band around your lower thighs, just above your knees, and stand with your back straight, drop your hips about 45 degrees and extend your arms in a flat plane at shoulder height directly in front of you for balance.
Execution: With your upper body fixed in position, separate your quads against the resistance of the band. Your focus here is on lateral movement in your legs, although you’ll naturally experience a slight drop at your hips. Separate your thighs as far as you can comfortably, then hold for a second, release the tension and return them to the start position together.