Trying To Firm Up Those Glutes? Here Is How You May Be Doing It Wrong

Everyone LOVES glute exercises these days!  Everytime I read an article it seems there is a new glute exercise to try.  And while I am happy to see this due to a ubiquitous lack of gluteal definition, I often find that most people cannot even feel their glutes during these exercises.

Simple exercises that target the glutes, such as glutes bridges and hip thrusts, may look easy to perform, but to do them correctly and really hammer your glutes you must keep a few things in mind.

Let’s look at a few of the common mistakes and how to correct them to achieve maximum benefits.

You must move at your hips and not your low back.  A lot of people make the mistake of trying to lift their hips up too high, which will bring the low back musculature into play.  At the top of the movement, you should be in a straight line from knee to hip to  shoulder.  Your core should be tight.

Bad Finish - hips too high, low back arched
Bad Finish – hips too high, low back arched
Hip Thrust (Good Finish)
Good Finish

A good cue I like to give these people is “ribs down”.  Before you lift your hips up bring your ribs down, which will help flatten out the arch in your low back.

Bad start - ribs flared and neck extended
Bad Start – ribs flared and neck extended
Good start
Good Start

I also really like the Cook Hip Lift for people with this problem.  This is a single leg glute bridge with the other hip flexed enough to keep a lax ball or tennis ball lodged in it.  By flexing the opposite hip this amount you essentially prevent the lower back from extending/arching.  You can also perform the Cook Hip Lift with shoulders on a bench to increase the range of motion.

Feeling it only in the hamstrings (muscles on the back of the legs).  Many people extend their hips with only their hamstrings, which is a problem because without the glutes involved, the head of the femur will glide anteriorly (forward) and put pressure on the front on the hip.  I have seen numerous clients with anterior hip pain.

To remedy this, make sure to drive through your heels and think about pushing your feet away from you when you lift your hips up.  This should help turn off the hamstrings a little and allow you to better feel your glutes.

Lastly, I have included a video below to explain and demonstrate the details I explained above.

If you need some glute bridge variation ideas you check out my article on the hip hinge HERE.

Now go build some glutes and make me proud!  No more flat butts! 🙂



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