I’ve been incorporating a lot of glute and hamstring exercises into my workout routine lately. I started using using the Spitfire Athlete App, a guide to weightlifting for women which was built by two female engineers who compete in olympic weightlifting. Not only do I want a nice firm butt for bikini season but it’s also really important to train these muscles for the following reasons:
- Your glutes stabilize your pelvis in a neutral position, which is critical for creating a safe and effective spinal position.
- The glutes are your go muscles. They propel you forward, decelerate your forward motion, are responsible for quick changes in direction, and create the essential power needed for jumping.
This is a snippet from an interview with Pauline Nordin, of Butt Bible, on strengthening your glutes: “Your glutes play a big role in posture and most basic movements. They take pressure off your back, too, so if you have back problems, it’s especially important to build strong glutes. Unfortunately, most people sit on their butts all day at work, not using their glutes at all, so make sure to incorporate moves into your strength workouts that target your glutes.”
The Spitfire App divides your training days into two days of cardio and abs, four days of strength training by body part (Shoulders & Triceps, Glutes & Back, Chest & Biceps, Legs & Glutes), and one day of rest. After about a month of using this app and spending spending two days per week strengthening my hamstrings and glutes, I’ve definitely seen a difference and have experienced less knee pain while running (I suffer from ITB syndrome). Here are a few of my favorite exercises from the training program that have given me the best results:
My 5 Favorite Exercises for your Hamstrings and Glutes
1. Barbell Glute Bridges 4 sets of 15 reps (I started with a 30 lb barbell but use what is comfortable for you)
Laying on the floor, position yourself under a barbell. Roll it over your hips with your feet flat on the ground. Push through your heels to thrust the barbell off the floor, engaging your glutes.
2. Barbell Hip Thrusts 4 sets of 15 reps
Position yourself beneath a barbell with your shoulders against a secured bench. Push off your heels and engage your gluten to thrust the barbell off the floor.
3. Barbell Squat 4 sets of 12 reps
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart with the bar high on your back. Slowly lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the ground and push up off your heels.
4. Pistols 4 sets of 15 reps*
* I have just started performing pistols for the first time. This is not an easy exercise and you might find it helpful to use TRX ropes to balance as you perform the movement. This will allow for full range of motion while taking some of the weight off and helping you stabilize.
5. Barbell Deadlift 4 sets of 12 reps
With the bar over your feet, bend over, grab the bar with arms shoulder width apart. When you lift the bar, you should feel like you’re pushing your feet through the floor and engaging your legs. At the top of the lift, squeeze your glutes.
If you’re looking for a new weightlifting plan, I definitely recommend checking out the Spitfire Athlete App!