How to target your glutes for a great bum

Woman training glutes

The glutes are the body’s prime mover (Picture: Getty Images)

Over the past few years, booty building has become one of the biggest aspects of female fitness, at least that’s how it seems online.

These days, you can barely take a few steps in your average commercial gym without seeing a girlie wearing a matching set with a booty that many would (and have!) pay to have. 

That said, there’s more to growing the glutes than just fitting into a beauty standard.

The importance of training your glues

‘Training your glutes is really important,’ says elite strength and conditioning coach Kate Whapples.

‘Your glutes are made up of three muscles, the gluteus medius, gluteus maximus and gluteus minimus, and they are the powerhouses of your body. 

‘Not only are they really important for sporting performance, your glutes play a huge role in lower back health, your posture and your core control too – so, don’t underestimate the power of the glutes.’

Our glutes are the body’s prime mover: they’re needed for pretty much every movement, from standing up and walking to swinging a tennis racket or picking your child up off the floor. 

How to target your glutes

When attempting to target or isolate your glutes, there are a few form cues to keep in mind, like driving through your heels and keeping your chin tucked and spine neutral (so as not to recruit your lower back).

There are loads of exercises that target your glutes specifically – just ask TikTok – but these are Kate’s favourites. 

Hip Thrusts 3×12-15

Women performing hip thrust

Hip thrusts are the holy grail of glute strength – and there’s loads of variations (Picture: Getty Images)

If you know anything about booty building, you’ll know hip thrusts are the holy grail.

‘If you’re building muscle try a hypertrophy repetition (rep) range and hit three sets of 12-15 reps,’ says Kate.

‘Remember to keep your chin tucked and drive your hips to the ceiling to get the perfect thrust.’

You can do hip thrusts against a bench either with a barbell or dumbbell, a resistance band, body weight or as a single leg exercise.

Back Squats 3×8

Back squats are great for building overall leg strength (Picture: Getty Images)

‘Back squats are another great option,’ says Kate.

If you’re looking to build leg strength, Kate suggests a slightly lower rep range of three sets of eight. 

‘Make sure you’re increasing the weight every week,’ says Kate.

‘With a barbell on your back, squat down ensuring your knees are tracking out, your spine is nice and neutral and you’re driving up through your heels to help maintain your form.’

Barbell Good Mornings 3×8

Fit young woman lifting barbells, working out in a gym. Bodybuilding concept

Good mornings are perfect for building strength through the entire posterior chain (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Finally, barbell good mornings are the perfect compound exercise for hitting the whole of your posterior chain, which includes your back, glutes and hamstrings. 

With a barbell across your back, and keeping a neutral spine, push your hips back until you feel a stretch through your glutes, before driving back up to a standing position.

‘Barbell good mornings hit your posterior chain in a different way, lengthening your muscle under tension,’ says Kate. 

‘Adding these can help boost the strength of your whole posterior chain.

‘Try three sets of eight, and make sure you have soft knees, are driving your hips backwards and keeping your chin tucked to maintain good form.’

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