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Building Great Glutes

Many people who think of getting ripped think of sculpting their arms, chest and back to perfection. However, a lot of people more recently have been focusing on sculpting other areas of their bodies, like their glutes. Women have made glute workouts part of their female fitness routines for a long time, of course, but now men are beginning to include glute workouts in their routines, changing the definition of what an ideal male physique looks like to a more complex and complete image.

Drop the Excuses

Of course, there is a fear that in the weight room that the hip thrusts will look awkward and feminine or that glutes exercises are only for women. The excuse is usually that leg presses will work the glutes and there's no need to do targeted exercises.

Excuses are boring. When a guy refuses to do glute targeting exercises, it often has more to do with the fact that it's harder and more complicated than expected, or his ego takes a bruising. You might not want to do this in front of your bros, but just think for a second... How often do you check out women while they're doing these exercises? Do you really think they don't like watching men do the same thing? It'll be hard for your bros to argue when you're getting the ladies' attention while you're doing those hip thrusts!

Get to Work

The glutes perform a lot of work both in the gym and in your everyday routine. A lot of people, mostly men, neglect their glutes. Women are expected to put a lot of effort into maintaining a physically attractive shape that is appealing to men, so glutes exercises are naturally included in their routines. Of course, women like a well-sculpted backside too, which may be part of the reason more men are focusing on their glutes lately.

However, it's one thing to start trying to build the perfect backside, but many men find that it is more complex than they expected. The gluteals are a group of four muscles that have several tasks and subdivisions. To get a serious butt, you have to perform a variety of exercises to activate each subgroup and shape all the muscles.

Most men do exercises that work their glutes indirectly, thinking that their leg presses, squats and deadlifts will do just fine for their glutes. While the glutes do get a workout from these exercises, the results aren't nearly as good as when you do targeted exercises that specifically target the gluteal muscles. When you do targeted work on your gluteals, the results aren't just in an improved physique but it can also give you a huge advantage in squats and deadlifts.

Changing Your Routine

It's important to mix up your routine when you're working on your glutes. Just performing standing exercises won't cut it. Some of the best exercises for targeting your glutes involve getting on all fours or on your back. It's also important to really understand why you perform specific exercises, since you can choose better exercises for the results you want. In other words, you have to work smart. You might think it's a great idea to do a max squat when working on your glutes, but this is wrong. To activate your gluteus maximus and medius most efficiently and completely, a bodyweight quadruped hip extension will work much better than a max squat. This exercise is also better than step ups, lunges and single leg squats for working the glutes.

You want to spend your time in the gym as efficiently as you can and training your whole posterior chain is probably a priority. It is true that exercises that indirectly work your glutes, like squats and deadlifts, are a valuable part of a well-rounded glute routine. However, adding exercises to your routine that target your glutes does not necessarily have to slow you down, particularly if you do supersets. Adding some hip thrusts, glute-ham raises, heavy kettlebell swings or glute bridges to your routine will give a huge part of your posterior chain a serious boost. This is where that advantage in compound movements comes from. Many trainers and coaches have seen well-trained glutes have a great effect on the rest of their clients' training.

It's easy when you're first getting started in weight training to neglect your gluteal muscles. However, the most advanced bodybuilders, power lifters and pro athletes all have well defined glutes. Your needs and goals will change as you become more advanced. Training your glutes as hard and with as much focus and intensity as you do the rest of your body will get you a great butt and will let you push yourself harder in compound exercises like deadlifts and squats. The earlier you start training your glutes, the more you will thank yourself later.

This article was written by Layla Alexandar - a fitness activist, student and contributor for female fitness websites.

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