I was pretty worried about getting blisters since I couldn't take a day off, so I used gymnastics grips from the beginning. Have been doing kettle bell and ring workouts for 9 months or so 5 × a week (pandemic left me with only a 28 kg KB and a set of rings).
I decided to do the challenge 19 days before leaving for vacation. Started with the usual 10-15-25-50 x5 scheme with 1-2-3 reps of the supplemental movement.
I preferred that rep scheme, so I mostly stuck with that the rest of the challenge. Those last 5 days were awesome because I was beating some of my earlier times while doing an extra 100 swings.
I’ve also moved away from a single overall recommendation to a 5-point rating scale, since there are several high quality kettle bells available that meet different needs/preferences. I've once again provided a summary of the most relevant info below in order to spare you the long and gory details.
If you choose to read the entire write-up I'd appreciate your feedback, especially regarding points you'd like to see that weren't covered. The following five short workouts using various skills form the basis of the kettle bell test plan.
After testing multiple kettle bell brands I’ve narrowed the list down to the three options that earned a five-star rating: They have a very smooth finish with a powder coating that feels like chalk has already been applied to it.
I'm quite experienced with lifting, running and sports in general, but have taken up kettle bells during COVID-19 lockdown and damn, do they hit you. Feel free and safe to post.
Spending even just a couple of minutes going at full intensity on the rower will leave you in tatters, but the results are undoubtedly worth it, because it delivers a full-body workout that other cardio machines cannot match. The gang at fitness studio Metabolic London are so convinced by the benefits of the rowing machine that they have launched the UK’s first group rower class.
The class combines all-out stints on the rower with resistance exercises for a full-on full-body workout. The great news is you can get a taste of the challenge involved by trying the HIIT workout below, designed by the founder of Metabolic London, Lawrence Hannah.
If anyone demands to know why you’re bringing free weights into the cardio section of the gym just tell them it’s because you’re working harder than them. After a warm-up involving some dynamic mobility exercises, jump on the rower and set the resistance to a medium level, it’s time to begin.
Heck, even I do, but (no pun intended) mostly for performance purposes like jumping higher and having greater overall strength and power. Plus, your glutes play a crucial role in supporting your lower back.
If you choose to add these 19 glute exercises into your workouts, your lower body will have better shape and be able to produce more power (which is good for overall performance). I’ll even give you a few different glute workout ideas to help you do just that… so keep reading.
Before jumping into these workouts, I feel it’s my duty to help you understand how the glutes actually work. The reason it’s so large and powerful is because it has the job of keeping your torso in an erect posture.
As its name implies, it is the largest and most superficial (closest to the surface) of the 3 gluteal muscles. Another way of thinking about this is bringing the torso upright after being hinged forward.
Think of a kettle bell swing and you’ll get a good visual for the major action of the gluteus Maximus muscle. Hip extension is also prominent during dead lifts, the push-off in sprinting (and skating), and simply extending the thigh backward in any leg swing type of activity (i.e.
Additionally, the gluteus medium (and minimum) work to abduct the thigh (move it away from the body). This is smallest of the 3 gluteal muscles and it’s situated immediately beneath the gluteus medium.
To make this exercise harder, add ankle weights, hold a light dumbbell behind the knee, or use a quadruped hip extension if your gym has one. Famed spine mechanism, Dr. Stuart McGill, has shown that kettle bell swings is not only an amazing workout for activating the gluteus Maximus, but they’re also one of the safest exercises you can do because they impose little to no stress on your back.
If I were stranded on a deserted island and could only do one exercise, it would definitely be the kettle bell swing. How to do it: With your back flat and core engaged, lean forward and place both hands on the kettle bell.
Then, in a fluid motion, explosively drive the hips forward while swinging the kettle bell, keeping the glutes and core engaged. The motion should come from the hips, not the arms nor the quads (this isn’t a squat), as the body returns to standing.
Lower the weight back down between the legs and keep this swinging motion going for desired reps. A study in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research showed that compared to partial-and parallel-depth squats, a deep squat provide far greater activation of the gluteus Maximus, especially in the pushing (concentric) phase.
These makes sense… since the deeper you go (assuming good form with no pelvic tilt) the more you stretch, and thus activate, your glutes. Squats that only go part of the way tend to be more reliant on the muscles of the quads, not the glutes.
Bend at the hip to grip the bar at shoulder width and ensure that your back is flat and core is braced. Lower your hips and flex the knees, keep your chest up and your back flat, and begin driving through the heels to move the weight upward.
Lower the bar by bending at the hips and guiding it to the floor, ensuring that it stays close to your body to reduce any excess load on your low back. These guys are different from traditional dead lifts in that your legs are more or less fixed throughout the lift.
Your knees are slightly bent, but this is mostly a “pulling” exercise initiated by the hamstrings and glutes. It likely is more focused on your hamstrings, but they need to be strong as well to make you a stronger and more shapely human.
How to do it: Hold a bar at hip level with a pronated (palms facing down) grip. Keep the bar close to your body, your head looking forward, and your shoulders back.
Execute the movement by driving through the heel of your right food, extending your hip upward and raising your butt off of the ground. Keep your shoulders back and down and arms solid as they hold the weights.
It elicits much more muscle activity in the gluteus Maximus as a barbell squat or dead lift and that’s primarily because 4 unique characteristics of this exercise: Begin the movement by driving through your heels, extending your hips upwards through the bar.
Face the weight stack from a distance of about two feet, grasping the frame for support. Keep your knees and hips bent slightly and your abs tight, contract your right glutes to kickback the leg.
Slowly bring your working leg forward, resisting the pull of the cable until you reach the starting position. To hit a different set of glute fibers, externally rotate your leg (toes out) and kickback.
Push through your heel and engage your posterior to return to standing. Stand lunge-length in front of a bench making sure your knee does not extend past your toes.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand and rest the top of your left foot on the bench behind you. This is a great rehab exercise for waking up your “glute meds” (as I call them) and to help train your pelvis to better stabilize itself while on one leg.
One of the goals with glute training is to ensure you’re doing the best exercises that maximally activate your butt and NOT the TFL. But good news: a study in the Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy revealed that, along with quadruped hip extension and bridging, the “clam” is one of the best glute exercises for getting maximal gluteus medium activation with minimal TFL involvement.
Now, you might get some funny looks by others when you do this but who cares… they have no idea how beneficial this exercise is for strengthening your gluteus medium and minimum. Make sure one hip is lying above the other so your knees are stacked perfectly and your feet are aligned with your back.
Now, float the upper leg upwards while keeping your feet in contact with one another, then return. A lot of people cave their knees when squatting which is a big warning sign for potential problems including ACL tears, especially in women.
Master this exercise with only your body weight before attempting to do it with traditional weighted squats. Stand chest proud and head facing forward and keep your feet a little wider than shoulder width apart so that you feel the tension in the band.
Brace your abs and lower your bum back and down (as if sitting into a chair) keeping the weight in your heels and sink down into your squat. Keep tension against the band using your glutes so that your knees stay parallel the whole way through.
How to do it: Lie on your left side and position yourself so that your bottom forearm is directly under your armpit and your legs are straight with feet stacked. Brace your core and lift your hips in the air, forming a straight line from ankles to shoulders.
How to do it: From a standing position on your left foot, hinge forward from your hips keeping your back flat and right leg in straight behind it, and core braced. Stand as tall as possible and hold that end position for 2-3 seconds before repeating.
This entire exercise is about “sticking” the knee drive hold at the end, so don’t rush through it. But don’t worry, do a few circles or speed them up (while under control) and you’ll see why they’re included here.
An odd exercise that will integrate both sides of the back of your body in its natural “cross-pattern” activation. It’s a great exercise for this muscle firing pattern and to get your glutes working hard.
How to do it: The ball should be under your head and shoulders and feel like a pillow, while your arms are outstretched to the side and fully engaged/contracted. As with all of this stability ball exercises the key with this one is to ensure that your hips are up and your body is in a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
This workout is designed for those (I guess, mostly women) who want shapely glutes that are firm to the touch and fit beautifully into any pair of jeans. I’ve also labeled it as being beneficial for bulletproofing your back because that’s what happens when you get your glutes (all of 3 of them) firing properly.
Remember, your glutes are the “abs of your back” so the healthier they are, the better off you’ll be, especially if you sit on your butt all day. You could be a hero to your friends helping them go from “saggy or flat bum” to feeling proud of what they see in the mirror.