Glutes: The New Six-Pack
For years, six-pack abs were the fitness-fashion must-have. Actors, pop stars, athletes, B-listers – everyone had shredded abs and was happy to show them off. Entire workout programs revolved around getting a washboard stomach, and abs training exercise machines were on everyone’s Christmas list. While ripped abs are still popular, they’ve been somewhat overshadowed by another muscle group – the glutes.
Since the Kardashians hit the big time, glutes have become the fitness accessory that no woman can be seen without. Unfortunately, prolonged sitting means that a lot of women’s glutes are flat, soft, and weak instead of rounded, strong, and firm. Glute amnesia is the term often used to describe how some people have literally forgotten how to contract their butts. The good news is that the glutes are highly trainable and will quickly respond to regular workouts. You don’t even need a fancy gym to train your glutes – bodyweight and freeweight exercises can be very effective. When it comes to glute training, consistency is the key.
In this article, we share three tried-and-tested glute workouts for women. And yes, men can do them too!
Glute Anatomy Basics
When most people mention their glutes, they’re talking about their gluteus maximus. However, there are three glute muscles, each of which deserves your attention if you want to develop a muscular, aesthetically pleasing butt.
The gluteus maximus is the most prominent muscle in the human body. It’s also potentially the strongest. Located on the rear and lateral aspect of your hips, the functions of the gluteus maximus are:
Hip abduction (superior/upper fibers)
Hip adduction (inferior/lower fibers)
Hip lateral rotation
The gluteus medius is found near the iliac crest of the pelvis, above and under the gluteus maximus. It works alongside the gluteus maximus and also has some additional functions of its own, too:
The gluteus minimus is a small, triangular muscle located toward the back of the hip. Gluteus minimus also works with the gluteus maximus, but has some additional functions:
Hip medial rotation
Bonus glute muscle: Tensor fascia latae
The tensor fascia latae, or TFL, is part of the glute complex, even though gluteus isn’t part of its name. The TFL a biaxial muscle, meaning it crosses two joints – the hip and the knee. As part of the glute group, TFL plays an essential role in the following:
Hip internal rotation
To develop your best ever butt, you must pay attention to all the glute muscles. So, while the gluteus maximus is the biggest muscle in the glute complex, the other muscles also deserve your attention. After all, they’re vital for hip stability and performance. That’s why we’ve included a variety of exercises in the following glute workouts for women.
The Benefits of Glute Training for Women
Weak glutes are a modern-day epidemic. Prolonged sitting for work and leisure means that many people have feeble, flat, soft, underdeveloped glutes. Most women train their glutes because they want a better-looking butt. While this is no bad thing, there are several additional benefits to working your glutes hard and often. These benefits include:
Less lower back pain
Back pain is a common problem affecting a significant percentage of adult women, and a lot of back pain is caused by weak glutes. If your glutes are weak, much of the work they should do falls on your lower back, e.g., bending and lifting objects off the floor. Stronger glutes mean less stress on your lower back and a lower risk of back pain. Glute-related lower back pain is especially common during pregnancy, as the shift in your center of gravity pulls you forward, and you’ll need strong glutes to counter this effect. Stronger glutes will also help stabilize your sacroiliac (SI) joint, which is another common cause of lower back pain for women. In many cases, stronger glutes are the most effective way to prevent and treat lower back pain – with your doctor’s approval, of course.
Posture is the alignment of your joints, which can be good or bad. Good posture puts minimal stress on your joints, ligaments, and muscles and is very efficient. In contrast, poor posture puts far more pressure on your joints and connective tissue and is very inefficient. Poor posture can lead to muscle tension, fatigue, and chronic pain. Weak glutes can affect the alignment and position of your lumbar spine or lower back. It can also reduce pelvic stability. Stronger glutes can help prevent common postural problems such as hyperlordosis or an over-arched lower back.
A better-looking butt
While training your glutes has a lot of functional benefits, there is no denying the aesthetic appeal of a strong, firm, muscular butt. Great-looking butts don’t happen by accident; if you want a rear you can be proud of, you must train it hard, often, and consistently.
Increased hip and knee stability
The hip is a very mobile ball and socket joint capable of a wide range of movements, including flexion, extension, medial and lateral rotation, abduction and adduction. However, that mobility comes at a price – reduced stability. While increased mobility is generally a good thing, uncontrolled movement of the hip can cause hip pain and injuries and even affect your knees. For example, if your hips cave in while you are walking or running, you may experience pain in the medial part of your knees. Strengthening the muscles around your hips will enhance joint stability and function, leading to more efficient movements and a lower risk of hip and knee pain.
Three Glute Workouts for Women
Here are your three glute workouts for women. But, before doing any of them, you must prepare your joints and muscles for what you’re about to do by warming up. Start with 5-10 minutes of easy cardio, e.g., air bike, rower, jogging, or jumping rope, followed by a few dynamic mobility and flexibility exercises for…