All You Need to Know About the Glutes
The glutes are the largest muscles in the body. They're also one of the most important, because they're responsible for extending and rotating your hips, which means they're crucial to running, jumping, and all kinds of other movement.
They're simply involved not only in any simple day-to-day movement but in any workout we do. That's why it's important to strengthen them.
But what exactly is a glute? What does it do? And why should you care about them if you're not an athlete?
In this guide, we'll answer all those questions—and more!
What Are Glutes?
The glutes are a group of muscles located in the buttocks.
The muscles together are connected to the hip joint and leg muscles and are responsible for extending and rotating your hip joint. They are responsible for stabilizing your pelvis while walking or running.
We've got everything you need to know about these three muscles below, including what they do and how to target them correctly to avoid injury.
Gluteal muscles can be strengthened by doing exercises that involve both legs simultaneously (like squats), or by targeting one leg at a time (like lunges).
We'll get into this in detail later on in the guide as well so that you know how to incorporate exercises targeting these muscles regularly, to see increased strength and power in all of your movements.
What Are the Different Types of Glutes?
Here are the three muscles that make up the glutes:
The Gluteus Maximus
The gluteus Maximus is the largest muscle.
It makes up about 80% of your butt. It's also the most superficial. Generally, it's responsible for extending your hip and knee joints.
The gluteus Medius
The gluteus medius is a small medium-to-small muscle. It works to stabilize your pelvis when you're walking or running.
It also helps rotate your leg inward when you walk or run on uneven surfaces. This makes it very important for injury prevention and pelvis protection.
The gluteus Minimus
The gluteus minimus is the smaller of the main three muscle groups. It works together with the gluteus medius to stabilize the hip joint during movements.
The piriformis Muscle
The piriformis isn't technically one of the three main muscle groups and makes up a supporting muscle group. Though the smallest and thinnest, they are deep muscles.
The muscle group runs along both sides of the spine, to connect with the rest of the glutes. Its main role is helping us bend forward at our waist while keeping our hips stable so they don't twist outwards.
What Is the Function of Glutes?
The glutes are crucial for everyday movement. They protect sensitive areas like the pelvis and hip joint.
The glutes are responsible for hip extension (moving the leg backward), hip abduction (moving your legs out to the side), hip thrusts, and external rotation (turning your hips outward) safely.
Other than providing pelvic stability, which is majority assisted by the Superior gluteal nerve and inferior gluteal nerve which innervates the gluteal region, the glutes play a major role in nearly any physical movement like walking, squatting, jumping, running, etc. even standing up straight and sitting down.
Getting Started with Glute Exercises
The best way to activate your glutes is to use a full range of motion to work and contract the muscles.
This can be difficult for beginners because they are often so used to moving with their lower back that it takes practice for them to learn how to use their glute muscles instead.
Exercising regularly will help you do that more naturally. Which will in turn relieve your knees from unnecessary pressure that causes knee injuries and knee pain.
Getting started with glute exercises involves a variety of movements that target the three different muscles in your glutes: the gluteus maximus, the gluteus medius muscle, and the gluteus minimus.
Here are some exercises you can start with:
Squats are a great exercise to target the gluteus maximus. They also work your hips, thighs, calves, and core.
Once you master the basic squat, you can start practicing it with weights.
To perform a bodyweight squat, start in a standing position, with your feet hip-width apart. Push your hips back as you bend the knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
Stay in position for a few seconds, then slowly raise your body and repeat.
As mentioned, as you master the basic form, you can start experimenting with more advanced squats like the Bulgarian split squat.
Lunges are a great butt exercise.
Pick your left leg or right leg as a starting position, lift the leg, and take a big move forward until the other leg is as close to the floor as possible without sabotaging the proper form. Then move it in a similar leap forward and repeat.
Start with your shoulder blades against a bench and your arms spread across it for stability.
Bend your knees and ensure your feet are flat on the floor. Lift your hips and hold for a couple of seconds.
Then return to the starting position and repeat.
Get onto all fours on a mat. Engage your core muscles and elongate your spine.
Kick your right leg back, so it’s parallel with the floor. Squeeze your glutes when your leg is straight and hold for two seconds.
Then, move your left leg up back to the starting position without touching the floor.
A Glute Bridge
This one is a basic exercise that works your butt muscles.
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, about hip-width apart. Then, lift your hips so that only the upper part of your body touches the ground, forming a straight line from shoulders to knees.
Lower down slowly until your backside touches the floor again and repeat.
It's important to make sure you are engaging all three parts of each buttock by squeezing them together as inner and outer thighs as hard as possible while performing this motion.
Building Muscle vs. Burning Fat with Bilateral and Single-leg Movements
Many people want to lose unnecessary butt fat while building up the muscle mass.
Bilateral and unilateral (single-leg) exercises both have their unique benefits when it comes to building muscle and burning fat in the butt. And should be both incorporated into your workout routine, with varying degrees depending on what your priorities are.
Bilateral movements are better for building muscle, and single-leg movements are better for burning fat. It’s important to incorporate both types of exercises in your workout routine to maximize muscle growth and fat loss, however.
How to do a bilateral movement
Pick up one weight with both hands and stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
Lift the weight over your head, keeping it straight throughout the entire movement. Lower back down until arms are extended again and repeat.
How to do a single-leg movement
To do a single leg movement exercise, stand on one foot with the other foot forward, for a starting position.
Hold two dumbbells at chest level with palms facing inward and extend your arms straight out in front of you
Raise left knee toward chest as you lift weights above head. Lower weights back down under control when the left foot is done raising them off the ground. Then repeat with the other leg.
There are many reasons why having strong glutes is important. It not only makes you look better and feel stronger but also helps prevent injuries, in the gluteal region and otherwise. In this guide, we've shown you how exactly the glutes affect the rest of your body and how to best work them out.
For more advice and content on how to better your health, keep up with luxeit.com, where you can make your health journey more enjoyable and more luxurious by ordering from our clothing collection. Make sure to not miss black Friday!