While 2015 and the years preceding it were all about the abs, the flat stomach, and the thigh gap, 2016 was the year of the booty. It was the year girls everywhere decided to eat more, and embrace a little fluff in return for a bigger butt. Which is great, fab, fantastic.
But all that food and all those 30 day squat challenges will only get you so far.
So grab a barbell, get some dumbbells, and pay attention: here are some excellent booty burning exercises, which really target the glutes (no half squats here) and build those glutes.
Bulgarian Split Squats
Grab yourself and bench and prepare to look like a flamingo because this will test your balance as well as your strength. The hardest part is the balance: stand with one leg in front of you and pick up your weight(s) – you can either hold one dumbbell in the hand of he same leg you’re working, or one in each) and lift your other leg off the ground and onto the bench. Get comfortable and stare straight ahead at a still object to keep your balance, and lower the weight into the working leg, and then back up again. Go far enough down to use your glute to push back up, rather than your quad.
Deep Leg Press
See those people doing that half leg press? Nice quads, small glutes. Nothing wrong with them, but if you want to target your glutes, you need to be doing DEEP. Place your feet high up on the leg press, and bring your knees all the way towards your body, almost to the point where it hits the bottom, and then back up again. Keep your knees out slightly and push through your heels. Try single legs too for even more of a burn!
This exercise came to prominence via trusty old Instagram, and it is brilliant. To get more load, do it from a smaller height than a bench – e.g if your gym has soft boxes for box jumps like mine does, use that so you can reset after every rep, or I’ve also seen people do it straight from the floor.
So, the exercise: load up a barbell (do not do this with a baby (preloaded) barbell, this needs to be done with an Olympic lifting bar so that you can roll it over your legs), plonk yourself on the floor with your back against your box/bench, and roll the bar onto your lap. Make sure your feet are apart, with toes out. You’ll want to use a rolled up mat to protect your hips, or at least a foam support for the bar. Put your elbows and back on the bench/box and lift the bar up. Once stable, lower the bar down and thrust up, making sure you squeeze at the top to fully engage your glutes. If your hamstrings feel like they’re engaged, drop the weight and focus on the squeeze of the glutes as a priority.
Smith Donkey Kicks
They are lethal but fantastic. You can’t go super heavy on these and you must ensure you remain slow and controlled throughout. Get yourself a mat and go on all fours (oi oi) going down onto your arms, as if you’re going to do a plank. Place your foot under the bar and push the bar up, making sure you remain in position and you don’t bend your back. Lower the bar and then back up again, for as many reps as you can do. Superset it with something like lunges or squats to failure and thank me – or hate me – later.
These are my favourite glute day excercises. And including both uni-lateral and bi-lateral exercises will ensure your glutes are continuously tested, and trained to their maximum. And that means a big booty.