Building your booty has so many benefits other than just giving you Beyoncé vibes!
Your glutes are formed by three major muscles – maximus, medius and minimus. Combined these are the largest and strongest muscles in your body so it’s no wonder they have a multitude of benefits!
The main movement for the glutes is hip extension (pulling your leg back behind your body) and having strong hip extensors will benefit you in day-to-day life movements such as walking, standing and climbing stairs.
The main benefits to having a strong booty are:
- Improving your posture by increasing your body’s stabilisation and decreasing unnatural pelvic alignment
- Improving athletic performance by being able to generate more power, agility, speed and strength
- Decreasing injury risk by taking pressure off other muscles during movements e.g. lumbar spine, hips or knees
- Decrease back pain through stabilising pelvis and hip joint movements
A “hip thrust” is a fantastic glute exercise that you can do in a variety of ways to challenge yourself progressing up from a simple glute bridge using only bodyweight – we will take a look at a couple of regressions and progressions you can try below.
The hip thrust is essentially a glute bridge with your shoulders raised and adding weight across your hips. You will also recruit your hamstrings and quad muscles and it will help you to increase your power and speed as well as leg strength.
How to hip thrust
Sit on the floor with a bench or step (no higher than your knee height) behind you and your knees bent with feet planted on the ground.
Lean your lower scapula (upper back) on to the bench and have the barbell resting just above your hips. You may wish to use a barbell pad or mat to make this more comfortable.
Your feet should be placed slightly wider than hip width apart and so that when you lift, your shins are vertical to the ground. (It is worth trying the movement initially without any weight to ensure you are in the correct position and feel it in your glutes).
Take a deep breath, tuck your pelvis in and engage your core – this will ensure your glutes are the ones working nice and hard! Also it is important to keep your eyes looking down your body and your chin slightly tucked in to ensure your neck stays neutral.
Squeeze your glutes and push your hips up to form a straight line with your body from shoulders to hips to knees. Maintain your tucked in pelvis position as this will stop the hips from being able to go up too high which can cause you to overextend. This in turn will result in your back taking the pressure instead of keeping the focus on the glutes which we want to avoid.
Ensure your knees stay in line and do not cave in throughout the movement. Take a pause at the top, squeeze your glutes and then slowly lower the weight in a controlled way back to the starting position ready to repeat.
Top Tips to remember!!
Keep your heels pushed into the ground
Wider or narrow doesn’t matter too much
Too close to your body and the exercise will turn more quad focussed
Too far away from your body and you will get more hamstring engagement
Lower shoulder blades should stay supported by the bench
Keep chin tucked down towards chest – this will keep your core engaged and prevent arching your back and over-extending through the spine
Use a suitable weight so you can reach full extension at the top every single rep to get the most out of the movement
If you struggle to get full extension with little or no weight then this could be because your hip flexors are too tight, so try glute bridge exercises on the floor before approaching the thruster.
Control the eccentric phase (lowering movement) to force the glutes to stay engaged for longer and get them working even harder.
Regressions…to build the booty from scratch!
Glute bridge or basic bridge – on the floor and bodyweight lifting your hips
Dumbbell bridge – place a dumbbell on your hips and perform a glute bridge
Progressions…to challenge that booty!
Add a booty band/glute band – keeping tension pushing out through the band will engage your abductor muscles
Single leg hip thrust – keeping just one foot on the floor and driving up
Give these a try to start building that booty like Beyonce!