Tag Archives: glute workouts

4 Muscles Not To Ignore In 2016

On occasion bodybuilders train large muscle groups such as legs and chest very intensely, often to the exclusion and neglect of other body parts. This selective training can result in muscular imbalance in which some muscles become stronger than others. This increases the risk of injury. From an aesthetic standpoint, the physique looks fitter and more proportional when all muscle groups are developed to their fullest potential.

DON’T NEGLECT THESE:

GLUTES

Glutes / Gluteus Maximus - Anatomy MusclesThe key to developing the glutes is to perform specific exercises that isolate the major muscles of this area: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus.

Here are several exercises that directly work the glutes:

Glute squat: Take a stance slightly wider than shoulder width. Descend slowly – past the point at which your thighs are parallel to the floor – while keeping your weight on your heels. Sit back as you move through the exercise. This action keeps the leverage and emphasis off the frontal thigh and squarely on the glutes. Slowly return to the starting position. Keep your glutes tight throughout the exercise.

Reverse hyper-extensions: Lie face down on the hyper-extension bench so that your legs are extended off the bench and form a right angle to your torso. Keeping your glutes tight and your legs together, lift your legs upward in an arc. Squeeze your glutes even more tightly as you reach the contracted position. Lower the legs in an arc.

Leg press with glute emphasis: To work the glutes on the leg press simply take a wide stance and place your feet high on the platform. Press up and down in a single, continuous movement. Keep constant tension on all working muscles as you push through the exercise.

Stiff-leg deadlift: This exercise is a pure glute-isolation movement. To begin the exercise bend forward and arch your back. Stretch your hamstrings at the bottom as you pick up the weight. Keeping your legs straight or slightly bent, slowly lift the bar.

At the top of the movement tighten your glutes, drive your hips forward and lock your knees. Then slowly return to the start position, pushing your abdominals toward the floor. Pivot at the hip joint and not with your lower back. Keep everything tight in the process.

ERECTORS

pain in back.Medical concept

These muscles border each side of the spinal column. In people with poor abdominal tone, the erectors can become weakened and inflexible – a condition that can increase the inward curve of the back. This tends to lead to back strain and ultimately lower-back pain. Because strong abdominal muscles help support the spine and keep the back in proper alignment, a good idea is to regularly strengthen the abs as well as the erectors so that lower-back conditioning can be achieved and maintained.

Here are two exercises that will accomplish this:

Ab isolation: The type of abdominal exercise I recommend requires a partner and a slant board. Get into position by first hooking the insteps of your feet under the padded roller or bar at the top of the board. Then have your training partner lie face down behind you on the slant board. This position forms a cushion for your lower back and also secures the hip joint and lets you better isolate your abs during the exercise.

Clasp your hands behind your head and lift your torso up toward your knees. Keep your ab muscles completely tight and pulled in as you curl forward. Crunch down at the top of the movement. Then return to the starting position using the strength of your erector muscles. Be sure to pivot over your partner and not at your hip joint. Get a good stretch at the bottom of the movement.

Hyper-extension: This exercise is an excellent one for strengthening the lower back. Hook your heels under the hyper-extension apparatus so that your torso can move freely up and down. Clasping your hands behind your head, lower your torso toward the floor. Then slowly lift it up until your torso is parallel to the floor.

TRAPS

Trapezius - Anatomy Muscles

The trapezius muscles (known as the traps) are kite-shaped muscles that extend from the base of the neck down to the middle of the back. The traps deserve extra attention in training because they help support the shoulders and can be seen from the front of the physique.

The three best exercises for developing the traps are shrugs, lateral raises and behind-the-neck presses.

Shrugs: This exercise directly stresses the trapezius. Take a dumbell in each hand and hold them on each side of your body. Lift the dumbells while imagining being able to make your shoulders shrug as high as your ears. You can also perform shrugs with a barbell. Lift the weight using the strength of your traps. Be sure to squeeze your traps hard at the top of the movement. Lower the barbell and repeat the movement.

Behind-the-neck press: Sit on a bench or seat and take a wide grip on the barbell. Drop your shoulders and flex your lats. Press the weight to an overhead position and straighten your elbows. Then push the weight back slightly but without arching your back. This entire action isolates your delts. All the emphasis is right on your shoulders and traps. Lower slowly and repeat.

Lateral raise: With a dumbell in each hand and arms held along the sides of your body, lift the weights upward to about shoulder level. Keep your elbows rotated back. At the top of the movement lower your shoulders. Together the elbow and shoulder positions keep the stress firmly on your deltoids. Lower the dumbells and repeat.

FASCIAL STRETCHING

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To continue making gains you should incorporate my technique of fascial stretching – intense stretching between sets when the muscle is fully pumped – into your workouts. By opening up the area between the fascia (a protective sheath of connective tissue) and the muscle it surrounds, fascial stretching dramatically enhances muscular growth, size, separation and strength.

When the fascia is stretched the muscle underneath has more room to develop. Stretching also gives the muscle better shape, with more convolutions. As a result, muscular separation improves too. The overall effect is larger muscles and better separation between muscle groups.

Fascial stretching elicits responses in muscle groups that have reached sticking points in training. If you have a certain muscle that still seems at a stalemate in size, strength or appearance, then stretching that muscle will help you overcome these frustrating plateaus.

In addition, stretching loosens tight muscles, which tend to trap lactic acid. Lactic acid is a waste product that accumulates in muscle cells during hard training. When lactic acid builds up, muscular fatigue is the result. Stretching helps release lactic acid from muscle cells into the bloodstream so that lactic acid doesn’t interfere with muscular contraction. This loosening effect of stretching also helps you breathe better during workouts, thereby increasing your oxygen utilization for improved energy levels.

Fascial stretching is not a gentle, touch-your-toes type of exercise you might associate with conventional stretching. As the stretch begins the body part being trained is guided into position, stretched past the point of pain and then held in that position for about 10 seconds. You should exhale and relax as you go into the stretch. Do not hold your breath.

Bottom line: Pay more attention to your forgotten muscles, adding fascial stretches into your workout, and you’ll start making greater gains in size and symmetry in no time at all.

All About That Bass Workout

Unless you’ve lived in a musical cave the past few months, then I’m sure you’ve heard Meghan Trainor’s hit song, “All About That Bass.” I decided that for today’s blog post, we’re going to get down to it and talk about the booty and how to make yours turn heads.

Whether you’re a man or a woman, it isn’t a surprise that the ass is a sexual turn-on for many. There is just something about those curves that turn the heads of both sexes. The glorious glutes sometimes get lost, especially with those that skip leg day.

I’ve got FIVE glute exercises to help you shake it like a Polaroid picture.

*NOTE: I fully exercise my right to make as many butt-related puns as I feel like during this article.  Enjoy.

1. SINGLE-LEG ELEVATED GLUTE BRIDGE

Let’s start with the exercise that’s easiest to perform and requires the lease equipment. While you can do this bilaterally, I specify the single leg version simply because – though it’s a tad more advanced – it’s really the only version worth doing if your goal is posterior development.

When performing this exercise, it’s important to focus on two things: recruitment and position.

In order to make sure you activate and recruit the glutes to the fullest extent, don’t just think about lifting your hips; instead, think about driving your heel into the bench and focus on using your posterior chain to raise your body. Also, remember to flex and squeeze the working glute throughout the entire rep. To increase activation, lightly rest your hand on the cheek — it’ll look silly but will help out a bit.

As for position, how you finish the exercise is important here. Don’t just drag your ass off the ground and stop when you’re in the air — a fully executed rep ends when your hips are completely “locked out.” To make it simple, raise your hips as high into the air as you can. In the finished position, you should be able to follow a straight line from your knee to your shoulder.

This exercise is great for development, but I find it works best as both an activation exercise during a warm up and a teaching tool for helping people understand and develop increased awareness and activation.

2. BARBELL GLUTE BRIDGE / HIP THRUST

Staying with the same theme, let’s look at barbell glute bridges. Popularized by Bret Contreras, the barbell glute bridge (or BGB, as I like to call it because it’s more fun to say) is the exercise that contributed heavily to Bret becoming known as: The Glute Guy. (NOTE: It probably also helped that he registered the domain thegluteguy.com and uses it as his blog; but let’s not split hairs.)

There are a number of variations of the BGB, the main difference between them being the number of benches used, which varies from 0 to 2. Using multiple benches increases the range of motion, the difficulty and the name. Once you add in a bench, the name generally changes from a glute bridge to a hip thrust.

Even with the difference in names, the movements are similar in a few ways, not the least of which is that they both involve using your tuckus to drive your hips up while loaded with a barbell.

Here’s a video of big Bret rocking out the BBGB with just under 500 pounds.

Moving on to the hip thrust, you need to have your shoulders elevated, increasing the range of motion and lines of force. The hip thrust is more difficult, and because of that, perhaps more effective in a number of ways.

Here’s a video of Bret’s client, Kellie Davis, banging out reps with 225.

For more videos, check out Bret’s YouTube channel, which is the biggest collection of ass-related videos not on a porn site.

3. HALF-SQUAT FROM THE BOTTOM

I don’t think there’s a butt in the world that can’t benefit from squats. Moreover, I don’t think that there are many great butts that have been built without them.

Today, we’re going to take that one step further.

This highly specialized version of the squat is done for just half a rep — the bottom half. You see, the glutes are recruited more heavily as squat depth increases; therefore, it is the bottom half of the squat that involves them the most. By limiting the movement, you focus on the goods.

Here’s how it’s done: In a power cage, set the pins at just above where your shoulders would be if you were in the “rock bottom” position of a squat. Load it up, climb under and ignore the looks you get. As you come up, focus on flexing the glutes. Halt your ascent at roughly one-half of the way up, pause for half a second and come back down. Allow the bar to come to a stop on the pins. No bouncing!

This is a killer exercise because you’re moving the bar from a dead stop for every rep, there’s no possibility of cheating, and you completely take away any effect inertia would have had. The movement becomes much harder and is very effective.

Now, this variation of the squat is very specific. While useful in the context of glute training, in general, you should be doing regular squats as well.

4. KETTLEBELL SWINGS

I’ve often heard people say things like, “I do the stair climber for cardio because I also work my butt.” While that’s not totally untrue, it’s also not the best option. If you want to get your ass in shape figuratively while getting your ass in shape literally, KB swings are the way to go.

Now, I’ll say right off the bat that I’m not really a kettlebell guy. I like kettlebell exercises as a conditioning tool, and I see some value in terms of specific applications. This differentiates me from pure kettlebell gurus, a number of whom are passionately dogmatic about kettlebells.

Again, KBs are good for condition and specific application, one of those applications being glute training.

For a simple movement, it’s hard to beat the KB swing. Done with proper form, it works the majority of the posterior chain and hits the glutes like little else.

You can use the swing with mildly heavy weight as part of a more complete program, or you can use lighter weight and higher reps for a cardio / conditioning effect — each effective for different goals, but both effective with regard to your butt.

FURTHER READING: Tim Ferriss wrote a detailed post on how to use the KB swing to sculpt the perfect posterior, which you can read here.

5. GLUTE – HAM RAISE

I don’t know why I even bother to include the GHR, other than the fact that if I don’t, other fitness pros will blast me for leaving it out.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s an awesome exercise, if you’re part of the small 2% of people who don’t screw it up. Since I’ll assume that all of my readers are in that group, we can discuss.

There are two ways to perform the glute-ham raise: on a machine and without one, which is called a natural glute-ham raise. The machine version is generally easier for setup — at least in the sense that you don’t need a partner for it — but executing it is murderously difficult.

A few companies make decent GHRs, but the best one by far is produced by EliteFTS. If you’re considering picking one up, that’s the model I’d go with.

Most gyms don’t have a GHR machine, so let’s talk about some modifications.

The first of these is to use a friend. It’s somewhat difficult to manage, though.

To perform, kneel down on some padding and have your partner secure your feet behind you. Keep your trunk upright (your back straight and in line with your hamstrings) and lower yourself to the ground as slowly as possible. If you can pull yourself back up, do so. If you cannot, simply use your hands to work back into the starting position and perform another negative.

It looks like this:

If you don’t have a partner, there is another variation that makes use of the lat pulldown. Essentially, you’ll be using the knee rollers to hold your ankles in place and perform the GHR. This is the first version that I ever tried.

Here’s a lil’ snippy-snippet:

Looks easy? Nope.

All variations of this exercise are pretty easy to screw up.

Now, here’s how it’s awesome: While in many ways this is a hamstring exercise, it still works the glutes, oddviously. Specifically, this will work what we in the biz call “the gluteal fold,” or the glute-ham tie-in, the often-saggy flap where your butt meets your leg. Meaning that the GHR is going to help your ass look awesome when you’re naked more than almost any other exercise. Making it exceptionally important.

You’re welcome.

Bonus: Hill Sprints!

Yeah, hill sprints.

These are pretty much the most awesome form of cardio you can do. How do I know this?

Here’s my rating system:

Impact: 7
Efficacy: 9
Convenience: 10
Equipment Needed: hill, legs
Difficulty: varies (6-8)
Impressiveness: 9

So, basically, hill sprints are convenient, effective and make you look awesome. They’re hard, but worth it.

Also, because of the incline, they work the gluteal fold and make you bootylicious (yes, I went there).

Walter Payton, the greatest running back of all time, did these religiously.

All right, folks — time to sound off. No treble. 

Tristan "Lucky"

Written by: Tristan “Lucky”

References:
1)     Caterisano A, et al. “The effect of back squat depth on the EMG activity of 4 superficial hip and thigh muscles.” Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. August 2002, 16(3):428-32.

2)      Vakos JP, et al. “Electromyographic activity of selected trunk and hip muscles during a squat lift. Effect of varying the lumbar posture.”Spine. Mar 1994, 15;19(6):687-95.