Who doesn't like a good bum?
Both men and women (trust me guys!) love judging attractiveness by the shape and size of one's derrière.
But, attractiveness aside, the muscles that make up your bum - your gluteals - serve important roles within your body.
The glutes are made up of three different parts - the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus. These three muscles play slightly differing roles but, as a collective serve to extend and rotate your hips as well as abduct your legs.
In my experience weakness in the glutes is a huge cause for lower back pain - because people are weak here they fail to extend the body using the glutes, instead using the lower back and increasing the stress in that area.
But enough about that. What exercises can you do to improve your backside?
For today this is going to be a squat free zone. It's not that I hate squats but, depending on how you squat, you may be working your legs waaaay more then you are your bum.
On to the exercises:
Deadlifts are great for your glutes but can be a tricky exercise to execute correctly. However, when executed correctly there are my favourite exercise for building your bum.
There are also deadlift variations that will emphasise different parts of your bum and legs
and so there is a lot to play around with.
The emphasis should be on the way your hips move - from out and back into the bar on a straight line, focusing hard on the squeeze at the top of the move.
TOP TIP: Rather than just lifting the bar, imagine pushing the ground away with your feet. This should emphasise your glutes and hamstrings a little bit more!
#2 Glute Bridges
Glute bridges are a great exercise for isolating your glutes and therefore strengthening this area. With this exercise your foot position is important - if your feet are further away from your bum you will feel your hamstrings more, whilst positioning your feet close to your bum will hit the glutes.
This exercise can be done with or without weight, but adding some load to the move (with a weight plate or a barbell) will help you to increase the stress on the glutes, helping them to become stronger over time.
TOP TIP: Feeling it in your lower back a little? Tuck your hips under, flattening your spine and this should focus everything on your bum.
#3 Cable Pull Throughs
This move is almost a deadlift variation - again focus on your hips moving from back and out to forward, squeezing hard at the top.
The fact this is done with a cable just means that the weight you use feels different, applying tension throughout the whole movement.
#4 Donkey Kickback and Fire Hydrants
Okay, so technically two exercises, but for good reason.
These exercises require the same position, on all fours, and so far in this post we've focused heavily on extension of the hip and not rotation of the hips or leg abduction, so I'm cheating a little and throwing in two for the price of one.
These exercises can literally be done anywhere with bodyweight but, to ensure you are able to include some progression to the move, you can add a resistance band to both movements. Adding resistance will again ensure that you are strengthening this area and providing some increased stimulus over time.
My favourite resistance bands for fire hydrants can be found here.
Adding these exercises to your leg day workout will not only help you reduce your chance of back pain, but also mean that you've got a bum to be proud of. A win-win right?!
Let me know how you get on with these exercises via Facebook or in the comments below!