When it comes to building or strengthening your glutes, many people have been programmed into thinking the only way to do this is by squatting. Well, guess what— I don’t squat. Really, I don’t— or hardly ever, I should say. Occasionally, I’ll do a variation of a squat here or there, but it’s no longer a part of weekly weightlifting routine.
Sometimes I feel as though in fitness, people fall into the trap of saying, “Well, ‘they’ said this is what you’re supposed to do for this or that etc.,” and so that is all they will do. While, most of that information may be true the majority of the time, I have found that the more time you take to learn your own body, the more progress you will make. We are all made up of the same bones, muscles, tendons etc., but we are all DESIGNED slightly different, meaning the insertion points of the things may be a little different for me than they are for you, and those little differences can impact how you perform movements versus someone else. You’re actually probably aware of some of them— maybe you have a hip that sits higher on you or a shoe that wears differently than the other one. Perhaps when you wear a shirt, it slides off to one shoulder— these are all signs of your structure! And they’re important, so you should pay attention to them.
For me, squatting does not do as much for my glutes as it does for my quads— and I do not want to build my quads; I want to build my glutes. I have found, out of everything that I have done, that the most effective glute builder for me is stiff-leg deadlifts. They allow me to really isolate my glutes without touching my quads! They have really done the most for me in terms of building my glutes (and when I started competing a few years ago, I did not have any!). Also, I really enjoy doing them; I feel strong when I am performing them, and that is fun for me. They are also a great compound movement, meaning they work multiple muscles at once— your glutes, hamstrings, back, and even your abs— so more bang for your buck, as I like say!
Now, I am not saying that you are going to get the same results that I did in doing these, but I am suggesting you should try them for a few months. Really pay attention to your body, take progress photos when you start and continue to do so weekly— that is the best way to document changes and see if you notice a difference. If you do see progress, then great— keep doing them. If you don’t notice a physical change or an increase in strength, then maybe these don’t do much for your structure. In that case, you might want to find something else that works better for you.
Here’s what you’ll want to do
1. Find a rack.
2. Start with the bar (which is 45 pounds) to establish the weight you are comfortable doing. If that is too heavy for you, you can easily use dumbbells and do the same thing. You’ll want your first set to be about 15 reps, so choose a weight that you can easily complete that with.
3. Standing in front of the rack, grab the bar with an overhand grip, palms facing down. When you start using more weight, you may want to use gloves or wrist wraps.
4. Remove the bar and take a few steps back. Keep feet a little closer than shoulder width.
5. Keeping your back flat and neck neutral, slowly lower the weight to the ground, keeping your legs fairly straight with a slight bend.
6. Once the weight has reached the ground, squeeze it up with your glutes while keeping your back straight. Most people have a slight natural curve to their back, so don’t worry about that— just don’t allow your back to curve up too much because it will take the tension off the muscles we want to focus on.
7. Once at the top, slowly lower down again, keeping back straight, and repeat.
8. You want to make sure you are feeling this in your glutes and a stretch in your hamstrings.
9. Take your time when increasing weight on these and really make sure you have your form down.
10. Pay attention to how you feel the next day and where you are most sore. If you find you are more sore in you mid-lower back, you were probably bowing your back too much. So the next time you perform them, you will want to adjust so you can get those glute gains!