6 Best Exercises For Round Glutes
I think we finally reached the time when girls want curves and round booty instead of skinny limbs and no bum.
Yay 🙂 Because it looks loads better 🙂
However! It’s not easy for everyone. We all are genetically pre-programmed to what are we roughly going to look. Even though you cannot cheat genetics, you can still use your body’s full potential. Most people only use half of what their body is truly capable of, if that!
I’ve always had a bigger bum so I’ve decided to turn it into a good quality. I have to say something that some of you ladies might not want to hear: “You have to do some resistance training.” Hundreds of donkey, side, front and god knows what sort of kicks is just not going to do it. Yes you might end up with a tighter bum if you are starting off from nothing but after a while, this will just simply not be enough.
Just to make it clear, resistance training will not make anyone bulky, some sort of resistance is needed for a muscle to grow. Without any resistance, no muscle fibers get broken, therefore cannot be repaired and grow into a bigger muscle. There is no need to lug 25kg plates around, not at all, but some kind of resistance is absolutely crucial for hypertrophy (muscle growth).
Let’s get around to some of my favourite glute exercises because that’s why you are here.
#1 DEADLIFT + ROMANIAN DEADLIFT
Most people would probably not put it as number one but, speaking from my own experience, my backside didn’t really start shaping properly until I incorporated this magnificent exercise into my routine.
You would probably struggle to find a move that would engage the whole body in such an effective way as a deadlift.
Most people think it’s a back exercise which is probably a reason for deadlift’s bad reputation. You hear all around how deadlift is dangerous for your back and can basically cripple you. Before even starting thinking about trying to perform this exercise, you have to embrace the fact that this is a lower body movement.
The legs do, I’d say, 80% of the move, back engaging only towards the end when that bar gets above the knees. The back here act as a stabiliser, not as the prime mover.
It took me years to fully embrace this idea because you don’t just need to understand this on paper, you have to learn how to move your body in a way that your legs do the work and it’s not easy. That’s why deadlift probably has not very good reputation, especially when heavy weights are involved. If the form is not perfect at low weights, not much harm is done but we need to be 100% sure that our form is top-notch before we start attempting to lift heavy weights.
That said, the beauty of this exercise is the fact that you never have to involve heavy weights. Deadlift is incredibly effective even at low to moderate weights. I deadlift just under my body weight which, according to some people, is not very good achievement, but I find it incredibly safe and very effective.
Another excellent way to introduce deadlift safely into your routine is using a trap bar if your gym has one (not all of them do).
Now, they can all look slightly different from being enclosed all around you or curving just at the front with no bar behind you. I, personally, don’t see any particular difference apart from, perhaps, the entirely enclosed one allows for less error.
They are both incredibly safe because they remove the struggle of keeping your body upright without bending over and consequently engaging your back more than you should, which could lead to back pain or even injury.
The side grip helps the body to move directly up, engaging predominantly legs and glutes which can greatly help someone who is worried about their back. This bar doesn’t allow you to make many postural errors during deadlift.
I suggest you give this exercise a go at least in form of a Romanian Deadlift which basically is a deadlift without putting the bar on the floor, therefore making it easier for the body to follow straight vertical line.
Romanian Deadlift is an excellent exercise to get used to the whole idea of the movement, this version may be even better for glutes because the quads (thighs) are not contributing to the movement as much so the muscles at the back have to take over – glutes and hamstrings.
Talking about hamstrings, they are an incredibly important part of a good-looking backside because they run all the way up to the lower part of the pelvic bone, therefore contributing to the overall shape of the back of your legs and backside.
Don’t be scared of deadlift but make sure your form is correct, don’t be shy to ask for help, most gym have Fitness Coaches and Personal Trainers walking around all the time and they are there to help. Also, use the mirrors. They not there to just make big guys feel good about their biceps. They are there for the exact opposite! To spot incorrect form when you train by yourself.
#2 CURTSY LUNGE
This has got to me my absolute favourite for shaping glutes and legs in general! You have to use every single muscle in your legs to perform this move and they are awesome and incredibly effective with just little weight, elastic band or even with no extra weight at all.
As opposed to regular lunge, where the back foot goes straight back, while performing a curtsy lunge, the back foot goes back and over to the side behind the front leg. Just like curtsy 🙂 Just make sure the leg doesn’t go too far and compromise stability, you shouldn’t be rocking from side to side at the bottom part of the movement.
They engage glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps at the same time.
This exercise, however, comes with a little warning. I would not suggest doing them to anyone, who has coordination or knee issues. They do put you in a little awkward position and some PTs out there say that they are more trouble than worth.
I have had amazing results with them but I always make sure I can handle the weight and I never rush them! The movement must be slow and controlled at all times.
They might also not be very suitable for a very overweight individual because these people quite often have joint and coordination problems.
I think curtsy lunges can be very beneficial if you are looking to spice your routine up a little bit from the regular lunges and squats and they work wonders for me but I can never stress this enough:
- Make sure the movement is slow and controlles
- Stop if you feel knee pain and avoid this exercise if you do have existing knee issues
- Avoid if very overweight or/and have stability and coordination issues
#3 SIDE LUNGE
Side lunge is an awesome exercise if you are like me and hate regular lunges 🙂
They target the leg all around and are extremely effective with very little weight, which makes them great for beginners who are tired of doing loads of lunges :), also developing a better balance and stability.
There is not that many exercises forcing you to move from side to side so they bring a nice change from your body’s regular movements like twisting or moving forward.
How deep down you go happens utterly on your stability and mobility so there is no way of doing this exercise “wrong”. Some people can get all the way down to the ground without batting an eyelid, if you can get just half-way down, that’s great, too. The most important thing is that you can feel it working.
Try pausing at the bottom of the movement (wherever that is for you) for better glute engagement.
Also, don’t try to rush through the exercise like most people do, the slower you perform a movement, the better muscle engagement and consequently better muscle definition and results.
#4 BRIDGE VARIATIONS
Bridging is an amazing, safe and stable way of engaging your buttocks. And there is quite a few ways to spice this exercise up so it’s never boring.
Unlike the picture, I suggest keeping your arms parallel to your body to keep yourself stable.
Glute bridge can be performed with one leg in the air, with elastic bands, by adding pulses and holds.
It can also be slightly modified into something that’s called a Frog Pump by keeping the soles of the feet together on the floor, knees fall to the sides and the pelvis moves up and down just like in the normal bridge. This modification helps to include greater variety of muscles like your inner thighs and hip muscles.
When you become stronger, you can add weight in the form of a dumbbell or a plate and place it on your quads to aid resistance or use elastic booty bands around your thighs.
Bridging is very safe for people, who might have a slight issue with coordination and are a little worried that they might fall over.
This movement also activates hamstrings, especially with the leg in the air variation. Hamstrings are often forgotten about because most people just want nice bum and big thighs. They also become very short and weak due to a lot of us having a sedentary job. Runners also struggle with tight hamstrings and it’s very important that they are engaged in workouts and stretched properly afterwards because they can be a right pain in the bum, literally, if they get stiff.
#5 SMITH MACHINE SPLIT SQUAT
One of my favourite exercises to perform on a Smith Machine, which is similar to lunge apart from the fact that the body is stationary and only moves up and down along a vertical axis. That’s why a Smith Machine is perfect for it because you need something that will stay in place without the danger of you rocking from side to side, like you normally would if you performed this movement with a regular barbell. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it on a squat rack but I just find it a lot more glutes focused if I don’t have to worry about stabilising the whole body.
That said, any exercise challenging stability is excellent and people should practice them and improve their coordination and stability because not all of us are great at it due to sedentary jobs.
My stability and coordination are, however, quite decent, so in order for the glutes to be able to engage properly, I find it a little better and more effective to perform split squats on a Smith.
Split Squat can have variations, too. You can pop the front foot up higher on a couple of plates in order to make the exercise more intense if that’s something you desire.
I definitely recommend it to beginners because Smith Machine prevents your body from being destabilised and falling over to the sides. The bar on the Smith is also only 5kg as opposed to a regular Olympic bar which is usually 20kg so this makes it perfect for either beginners or people recovering after being out of the gym for a while.
To have support doesn’t mean that you are slacking.
I think I would be ripped into shreds if I didn’t mention this one 🙂
It is, after all, the ultimate lower body builder.
However, most people don’t utilise squat to its maximum. In order to squat to be reasonably effective, your thighs need to get at least parallel to the floor. If you cannot do that without added weight, I strongly discourage you from adding it. Instead, you should work on hip mobility and stability to get your body as low as possible.
Very few people can actually perform squat all the way, the so called “arse to the grass”.
Front Squat (arse to grass)
Get up right now and give it a go 🙂 And falling over at the bottom doesn’t count, you have to stay there comfortable for at least 10s 🙂 I actually find it very comfortable and never had an issue with performing low squat but I am aware that some people find it incredibly difficult due to many reasons, for example, flat feet, but mainly insufficient ankle flexibility. That’s probably not something you would connect with a squat and it’s amazing how all the body parts work together.
So, in order to get low in your squat, you have to increase your ankle mobility, which is not difficult but it takes time. There are tons of mobility exercises for ankles but the easiest, I think, is wall squat. Get your feet as close to the wall and squat down, when you hit restriction, try moving away from the wall a little and try again. Aim to get as close to the wall as possible so you can use it as a support but also get all the way down and find the pose challenging.
If you are interested in mobility exercises, I suggest an excellent app called GOWOD, which allows you to test your mobility levels for free and allows you to access tons of mobility exercises even without paying for premium.
Sorry for diverting from topic a little but I feel that it’s very important to mention this, a lot of gym goers just keep adding weights onto their back without using the full range of motion or at least most of it, if not all.
I was the same, I was squatting over 60kg at one point, which, for a girl of 55kg, I think it’s quite decent. I wasn’t really using the full movement to my benefit, I was so focused o lifting a lot because it made me feel good without even thinking about whether I am actually doing something my body benefits from.
So I reduced the weight to 50kg, sometimes 40kg if I’m not feeling it, and started squatting all the way down. And boy, at first, the reps went down by half. I couldn’t do my usual 10 to 12 reps anymore, I barely squeezed 5 sometimes 🙂 But I felt it a lot more all over my legs, especially the next day 🙂
Also, everyone’s body is different and some people’s limbs are longer than others, therefore everyone’s squat will look different. Tall and skinny people with long legs will have to “fold” a lot more to get down and because of this, their torso will move a little more forward toward thighs. That doesn’t mean they are doing it wrong, it just means that their shape doesn’t allow them to keep the torso upright. If this is you, it doesn’t matter as long as you don’t round your back. If your back is nice and straight, you are fine.
There is no need to put a lot of weight on the bar, though. Squat is an incredible exercise to perform as a body weight movement or with very little weight.
There are also squat variation and quite a few of them 🙂
- Front Squat – barbell sits on shoulders
- Goblet Squat – very safe way to squat with weight using just a dumbbell
- Split Squat – mentioned above
- Pistol Squat – amazing skill performed without weight
If you are not squatting yet as a part of your gym routine, I suggest you start. It’s an awesome exercise, that can be modified for absolutely anybody with any issues you can think of.
Building and strengthening your glutes is a very important part of caring for your body because gluteus maximus is one of the strongest muscles in human body and does more than you think. It’s very important for posture and it engages in about any movement you do but with our lives becoming more inactive and sedentary, our glutes and hip muscles suffer immensely. They become inactive, short and stiff. And when that happens, we can face many postural issues.
Look after your bum, it’s a nice thing to look at 🙂
Let me know what are your favourite bum exercises.