By Blake and Gwen Beckcom | Fitness Together
With the holidays in full swing, sometimes fitness can get put on the backburner. If you want to keep the momentum going, consider changing up your workout — starting with your glute muscles.
You probably are already familiar with doing a squat, as they are an effective way to sculpt your legs and easy enough to complete in the correct form. However, adding weights to this move can intensify it, which helps your muscles become more defined and leaner to get a sculpted body.
If you want to get the most out of your squats, have you considered doing variations such as the goblet sumo squat or the dumbbell squat thrust? These two moves add a little extra effort to the traditional squat, but make an incredible difference in the outcome. They add weight and an increased amount of motion, which will force your body to work a bit harder, but it will also produce greater results.
These moves are superior because they cause you to move up and down, creating tension on your muscles until you are finished with your entire set. Your muscles are then working constantly throughout the duration of the exercise so they remain activated and engaged. This helps build size and strength, keeping you moving through the entire exercise so your muscles don’t get a break until all of your reps are complete. It is best to do this until your muscles are fatigued.
The dumbbell squat thrust is great at putting stress on your glutes during the squat exercise, but it lets that tension go as you jump out of your plank position. This means it is a bit less powerful for your legs than the goblet sumo squat. However, this phase of the exercise is powerful for the upper body and abdomen, which are both important muscle groups to pay attention to when you are doing weightlifting.
Both of these moves are very helpful to do in your exercise regimen, but if you really want to focus on your backside, the goblet squat jump is the best. Try adding these moves to your exercise routine at least three times a week (but no more than four) to increase the strength in your muscles.
Goblet squat jump
Hold onto the head of a heavy dumbbell directly in front of your chest. Stand with your feet a bit wider than your shoulders with your toes slightly facing outwards. Bend your knees and push your hips back to lower your body. Stop here for a minute to feel the tension in your muscles before slowly straightening your legs back up to the position where you started.
Dumbbell squat thrust
Stand with your feet directly below your hips while holding a dumbbell in each hand. Bend your knees and push your hips back to get into a squatting position. Put the weights down on the floor and hop back up into a push-up position. Stay in this position for a moment to feel the tension, then do the movement in reverse and return to standing.
If your priority goal is your glutes, you need to do exercises that work all three of the gluteus muscles: the minimus, the medius and the maximus. A lot of glute exercises will also work your quads and hamstrings, but adding two more specific moves will help keep your emphasis on your glutes.
Supine bench glute bridge
Sit on the floor in front of a bench with your upper back resting on the bench. Bend your knees and put your feet flat on the floor. Raise your hips up, forming a straight line from your chest to your knees while resting your upper back on the bench. Stay here for five seconds before returning to your original position.
Dumbbell dead lift
Hold two dumbbells with an overhand grip while standing, and bend at your hips and knees. Brace your abs and keep a slight arch in your lower back. Pull back your torso and move your hips forward while you stand up with the dumbbells. Do this move while squeezing your glutes. Lower the dumbbells to the floor.
After doing these exercises, make sure to give your muscles time to relax and recover. Stretch them out a bit and stay hydrated so they don’t become tense or tight. After doing these exercises for a few weeks, you will start to notice a change in the shape of your body and in the amount of strength you are able to put forth. Whatever your reason is, it is important to create a strategy for your glute workout because doing squats all day can get boring — and it won’t necessarily give you the sculpted muscles that you are looking for.
—Blake and Gwen Beckcom run Fitness Together Mission Hills. Contact them at fitnesstogether.com/missionhills or call 619-794-0014.
[Editor’s note: Featured photo courtesy of Can Stock Photography]