A bangin’ booty. A hot ass. Sexy behind. Bubble butt. Toned tooshy. It gets called a lot names, but your glutes may not be getting the right attention they deserve right?!

Warning: butt references and lame ass jokes ahead. See what I did there?

It’s a scientific fact that 104% of women want a better butt. True story. Ok well I made that up and it’s not even possible; but you can’t argue that having a great behind is something the vast majority of women want. And they only way you get that is through gifted genetics or with the right nutrition and training the ass off it. Pun intended.

I’ve always loved training legs, and I consider glutes a part of this; but up until recently have never really isolated them that much. Not sure why, it just wasn’t ever really specified in my training programs. Until recently when I started doing hip thrusts and glute bridges.

I have to say, it is not far behind my love of training legs. (behind, get it?!)

Whilst I have only recently started training my glutes, I have been reading a lot of Bret Contreras’s articles on the subject as well as watching some of the videos. If you know me well, then you would know that I’m an absolute sucker for researching new things extensively. Bret, aka ‘The Glute Guy’ was naturally where I was doing the vast majority of my research.

It took me far too long to get into training my own glutes, and I figured that other women were perhaps the same. So I wanted to encourage others to start working that booty – and what better way than with an interview with The Glute Guy himself!
ZOMT: Pretty much every female I know wants a firmer, tighter more shapely gluteus maximus. As ‘The Glute Guy’ what are your top exercises for women to achieve that rock hard caboose?
Bret Contreras: Hi Zoe! First off, thanks for the interview. My top ten glute exercises are:

  • Barbell hip thrust
  • Barbell glute bridge
  • Barbell full squat
  • American deadlift
  • Heavy kettlebell swing
  • Dumbbell back extension
  • Reverse lunge
  • Band seated abduction
  • Band hip rotation
  • RKC plank

I have instructional videos on my Youtube channel for most of these exercises, and they’re all included in my Strong Curves program.

The barbell hip thrust – via T-Nation

Z: I just started doing hip thrusts recently and absolutely love them! Can you clear up the difference between glute bridges, hip thrusts and any other variations?
BC: Good for you!!! I get this question all the time. Let me clear up any confusion. There are four main “advanced bridging” variations as follows:

  • Barbell Glute Bridge – while lying flat on the ground (supine), place a bar in the lap and thrust upwards. This allows for heavier loads and therefore even greater levels of glute activation.
  • Barbell Hip Thrust – placing the upper back across the bench, thrust upwards with the bar in the lap. This increases the range of motion (ROM) dramatically and is a favorite amongst strength coaches.
  • American Hip Thrust – this variation involves placing the mid back across the bench rather than the upper back, which allows for heavier loads and encourages a natural posterior pelvic tilting action which further increases glute activation.
  • Single Leg Hip Thrust – this is done either with the shoulders elevated onto a bench, or with both the shoulders and the feet elevated (requires two benches), and is most often done with just bodyweight.

I employ each of these in my programs and believe that they all have their place in a proper glute program.

Z: Other than a sexy rear (which will honestly be enough for some), what are the other benefits of focusing on improving glute strength?
BC: In addition to a sexy booty, you can expect better performance and decreased chance of injury:

  • Greater hip power, which means improved jumping, sprinting, and rotary power
  • Less chance of experiencing low back, knee, and hip pain (glutes help prevent excessive spinal motion, knee caving, and forward femur migration in the hip socket) during heavy or explosive movement
  • Less chance of pulling a hammy, groin, or lower back muscle.

Z: Should women be worried about getting too big a booty from your glute training exercises?
BC: In theory this could happen, but I haven’t seen it, and I’ve trained a ton of women. Glute potential is influenced by genetics but can be greatly improved upon through training. The vast majority of women are unable to get “too big” of glutes, and their only hope of developing any noticeable glute shape is through heavy strength training. Many women actually seek smaller glute width (fat storage) and larger glute depth (muscle building), and the perfect formula is glute exercises as this simultaneously burns fat and builds muscle. Combine this with a good diet and you’re off to a great start.

Z: A booty building workout for women to start with?
BC: Beginners all need to start out mastering the basics. Bodyweight movements form the foundation for any good glute program. Beginners should first master bodyweight squats, hip hinging, lunges, glute bridges, back extensions, RKC planks, side lying clams, and side lying abductions. Then, they can move onto single leg hip thrusts, barbell glute bridges, Bulgarian split squats, goblet squats, single leg RDLs, and rack pulls. Finally, they can move onto barbell hip thrusts, barbell squats, barbell deadlifts, barbell reverse lunges, and dumbbell back extensions. Of course, there are many more great glute exercises, but variety is key. Though variety is good, progressive overload is imperative for results, so each week progressive overload should be employed.

HERE is a good article on progressive overload.

Z: I’ve (embarrassingly so maybe) started listening to ‘booty’ songs to help me focus on activating my glutes when doing hip thrusts e.g. Shake That by Eminem, Booty Wurk by T-Pain or my latest Dance (A$$) by Big Sean. What’s your favourite booty song and are you going to start using this in your hip thrusts now?
BC: Haha! That’s the first time I’ve heard of using booty songs for encouragement. I’m gonna have to go with Low by Flo Rida featuring T-Pain. And yes, I’m going to start listening to these songs from now on while I hip thrust – thanks for the idea 😉


If you want to find out more about Bret and his gluteal talents, then check out his details:

Bret Contreras, MA, CSCS, is currently pursuing a PhD in Sports Science and operates a blog at www.BretContreras.com. He is the co-author of Strong Curves, a training and nutritional guide for women. On his blog you will find links to his Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube sites if you wish to follow him.




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