Part 1 of this series looked at why the glutes are important, basically because they are a major component in jumping, and why they are often not as active as they should be. Part 2 looked at how to address this by giving some motor control exercises designed to get your glutes firing. Now that your glutes are nice and active its time to look at how to strengthen them.
There are many exercises that will strengthen the glutes. We will look at a few of them here. One of the key things to remember when training the glutes is to use a full range of motion. For example, a deep squat recruits the glutes more so than a quarter squat. So leave your ego at home, lift a lighter weight if necessary and ensure full range of motion with the following exercises.
Squat– there are many squat variations (front squat, back squat, wide stance, narrow stance etc). All variations can be of benefit. The key point with squats is the achieve a good depth to really target the glutes.
Lunges– again with lunges there are many variations. Start standing in a normal position with your chest held high, and take a long stride forward, making sure to strike with the heel first. Sink down until your back knee nearly touches the ground, and then push back to the starting position.
The deeper you go and the greater the range of motion (ROM) the more the glutes will be activated. A variation on the lunge that increases the ROM and hence really hits the glutes, is to lunge onto a 15cm step. Perform it the same as a normal lunge but stride forward onto a low step. This means you can sink down further achieving a greating ROM. Let me know how you go with this one, and if you feel it the next day!
Step-Ups– Start by having one foot up on a bench or step. Push down through the heel, using your front leg to pull you up onto the bench. This ensures that the lead leg is doing the work, and not the back leg pushing up. Complete all your reps on the one leg for a bit of a burn before switching legs.
These are few exercises to get your butt in gear. So now you can target your glutes with some motor control exercises and some strengthening exercises to get that big, strong, powerful bum.