Band-Resisted Squat Walks
Moonwalk Staggered Romanian Deadlifts
Bulgarian Split Squat with a Pulse
Dumbbell Hip Thrust
Band-Resisted Fire Hydrants with Extension
Complete each exercise for one minute, three rounds each.
For single-leg movements, complete one minute of the exercise per leg.
The Move: Band-Resisted Squat Walks
How to: Banded squat walks are a great way to hit the upper glute, or glute medius. Grab a resistance band and place it right above your knees, then sit into a squat position and keep your toes pointing forward as you step laterally. Make sure to continue pressing your knees outward to activate the upper glute. This and any adduction (lifting your legs away from the middle of your body) exercise is the best for targeting that specific area of your glutes and giving you a rounded rear. In the video, I also demonstrate a band-resisted reverse squat walk. The same objective applies to this exercise as well; keep driving your knees outward to really work your glutes.
The Move: Moonwalk Staggered Romanian Deadlifts
How to: The next movement pattern that helps grow your glutes is a hinge exercise. I chose a staggered Romanian deadlift for the hinge exercise and added a moonwalk shift backward at the top to help you smoothly alternate between your legs. Grab a challenging set of weights for your fitness level and shift one foot slightly backward as you keep all the weight in your front foot. This will help you maintain balance but will also isolate the work to one glute at a time. Engage your core and shift your hips backward, then engage your glutes to bring your hips back to the front neutral position. Shift your weight now to the back foot and slide your front foot behind this foot to continue your hinge exercise with this leg. The most important part of a hinge is the squeeze from back to front. Don’t forget to maintain a strong core so that all the work is in your glutes and not your back.
The Move: Bulgarian Split Squat with a Pulse
How to: This exercise is another effective way to isolate one side of your lower body at a time. You can use your couch or coffee table, and you can add a dumbbell to this move if you are ready for more of a challenge. I added a pulse to the bottom to really get a great glute activation. Step far enough away from your bench or couch so you can sit down deep in your front leg and drive through your heel to stand. To really get the most out of this move for your glutes, shift your chest slightly forward to be at a 45-degree angle with your front thigh. Keep your knee in track with your third toe and aim to sit down to get your front thigh parallel with the floor. Press your heel into the floor as you stand to really feel the whole glute working for you.
The Move: Dumbbell Hip Thrust
How to: The best glute isolation exercise is the weighted hip thrust. I’m using a bench in my demonstration, but you can also put your shoulder blades on a couch, a bed, a stool, or any piece of furniture at home. You can also simply place your shoulder blades on the ground if you don’t have those options. Place a dumbbell on your upper thighs and if you are using a bench, and use your arms to help you get your shoulder blades on the bench. Hold the weight with your hands as you drop your glutes down to the floor to start the movement. Press your heels into the ground and squeeze your glutes together to lift your hips. You want a straight line from your knees to your shoulders so instead of worrying about how high you can get your hips, rotate your pelvis posteriorly by pulling your belly button toward your spine and think about squeezing your glutes together as hard as you can. This will lift your hips naturally and take pressure off your lower back. I tell my community to think about holding onto a lot of money between their cheeks on a windy day. You really have to squeeze to hold onto it.
The Move: Band-Resisted Fire Hydrants with Extension
How to: The last move is another adduction move to target the upper glutes. I added a straight leg extension at the point of maximum effort to add a little extra burn and mind-muscle connection to this movement. If you don’t have a resistance band, you can also clamp a light dumbbell behind your knee by squeezing your calf toward your hamstring to add resistance to this movement. Start on your hands and knees and lower down to your elbows to keep your core engaged. Place the band right above your knees and flex your toe toward your knee. Drive your knee out away from your body and keep your core tight. When you get your leg as high as you can get it, pause and extend your leg straight out with control. Bend your leg back to the 90-degree position and lower back down to under your hip. The slower you do this movement, the more you will feel the burn set in.