Sculpting the glutes is often a top priority for women who train seriously, and advice on which exercises work best can save months or even years of wasted effort. We asked six of our SAF Elite Pros what their favorite exercise for the gluteal area was and why. As you’ll read, they all do something a little different. Here is what our SAF Elite Pros said:
Exercise: Dumbbell walking lunge
Sets and reps: Over 200 reps per leg, 120 reps at a time
Why favorite: I have noticed a huge difference in both my legs and my bum – tighter, leaner and stronger.
Tip: Always have fun with it. Start off finding a target to lunge to or a number to complete. Make it a game with yourself. For example, bang out 30 per leg and think to yourself, “This is easy, I can do 20 more until I hit 50!” Just keep increasing the number once you have hit that target.
Exercise: One-leg standing glute cable extension
Sets and reps: 6 sets per leg of 10, 10, 8, 8, 6, 6 reps for pyramid sets (adding weights each set)
Why favorite: I can physically feel my glutes contracting as well as see the contraction in the mirror as I perform this exercise. This exercise has also given me the best results of any.
Tip: Keep you back straight and your hips squared so that you are only pulling up with you glutes, not your torso.
Exercise: Split lunge
Sets and reps: 4 sets of 10-12 reps per leg
Why favorite: You get a great stretch at the bottom allowing for an efficient and full range of motion.
Tip: Push through the heel of your supporting leg to target the glutes more effectively.
Exercise: Dumbbell jumping step-up
Sets and reps: 3 sets of 10-15 reps per leg
Why favorite: The stretching aspect of this exercise makes it great at recruiting the glutes while targeting more muscle fibers at the same time because of the multiple jumps.
Tip: Be sure to properly extend at the hips (finishing with the working leg straight). Moreover, in the jumping portion (which is done at the top of the movement), the foot has to come off the box or bench.
Exercise: Walking lunge with straight-leg kickback
Sets and reps: 3-4 sets of 15-20 reps per leg
Why favorite: This exercise allows me to get “the most bang for my buck.” There are two movements to it, each targeting different areas of the glutes. The walking lunge portion activates the bottom part of the glutes and the straight-leg kickback works the top part of the glutes. (This top part is the area that most people lack and have to work on.)
Tip: To most effectively work your glutes, proper form and focus are needed on each part of the movement; therefore, even though you should consistently try to increase the weights you use, always use a weight that’s still light enough so that you can easily control it.
Sets and reps: 3-4 sets of 15 reps
Why favorite: The deadlift not only targets the glutes, but the lower back and hamstrings as well. It’s also a movement that we do in everyday life, such as bending over to pick up things.
Tip: The deadlift is an excellent exercise for working out and developing beautiful glutes, but you need to eat a healthy diet and do cardio as well.
Final note: Most of these exercises are quite common, so you’ll be able to find descriptions as well as instructional videos of them if you search by exercise names in Google and YouTube.