News flash, guys: Ladies love checking out a man’s behind. But did you know glutes are the biggest muscles in your body and key to overall fitness? “When you activate the glutes, they require a high metabolic demand to function,” says Mike Nicholson, C.S.C.S., NSCA-CPT, elite trainer at the Sports Center at Chelsea Piers in New York City. “This means they burn more calories when they’re working properly.” Plus, they’re a primary mover of the hips, so they pay a major role in almost all your movement patterns. Try this routine from Nicholson once or twice a week. You can bet your butt you’ll be feeling the burn—and noticing the difference—in a hurry. Photo: iStock/Getty Images Plus/Wavebreakmedia
1. Glute Bridge: Lie flat on back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor about a foot in front of butt, arms down at sides. Squeeze core and glutes as you push through heels to raise butt, hips, core and chest off the floor, so only feet, shoulders, head and arms remain on the ground. Slowly lower back down. Do 3 sets of 15 reps.
2. Bulgarian Split Squat: Stand with feet hip width apart. Step right foot out about two feet in front of you, and place back foot on box, step or bench. Bend both knees and lower down until right knee is directly over right ankle, left hip directly over left knee, both knees bent at 90-degree angle. Keeping staggered stance, push back up to standing, then immediately lower again. Do 10 reps, then switch legs. Do 3 sets on each leg.
3. Deadlift: Place loaded barbell in front of you. Stand with feet hip width apart. Keeping back straight, bend both knees slightly and lower down until you can grab the bar with both hands. With a standard or mixed grip, again keeping back straight, bar close to body, push through feet and squeeze glutes as you lock out standing up, ending with bar at hip height. Slowly lower back down and immediately repeat. Do 4 sets of 8 reps.
4. Step Ups: Stand in front of step, bench or box. Keeping core tight, step left foot flat onto top of bench and as you push to stand up fully on left leg, drive right knee up towards chest. Step back down. Repeat 10 times, then switch legs. Do 3 sets on each leg.
5. Banded Hip Abduction: Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Place band above knees. Keeping knees in line with ankles, sit glutes back down into a quarter squat. Staying in quarter squat position, step right foot out about 6 inches to the right, then step left foot in to follow. Take 15 slow and controlled steps to the right, then switch and take 15 to the left.
6. Sumo Squats: Stand with feet wider than shoulder width apart, toes pointed slightly outward. Pushing knees outward, bend knees as you sit back and down into a squat, not allowing the knees to track past the ankles. Push through heels to stand back up. Do 4 sets of 8 reps.
7. Lunges: Start with feet hip width apart. Step right foot out about two feet in front of you, bend both knees and lower down until right knee is directly over right ankle, left hip directly over left knee, both knees bent at 90-degree angle. Push back up to standing. Repeat for 10 reps, then switch legs. Do 3 sets on each leg.