When it comes to training for strong glutes, the first exercise that typically comes to mind is the squat. But is the squat the best exercise to strengthen and develop the largest muscle in the body?
Every time you lower your body to get in to a chair or car or to go up a flight of stairs, you are using your glutes and hips to extend, flex and rotate. The following exercises can help develop and strengthen the glutes, while providing just enough instability to challenge your core stability—all without doing a single squat.
Single-leg Romanian Deadlift Using the Ultimate Sandbag (USB)
Hold the Core USB with a single handle (suitcase handle). Using a strong grip, begin to externally rotate the shoulder until you feel a “packing” of that shoulder into the back. Set your torso in to a cylinder. Begin to shift your body weight into the left leg. Flex the foot of the right leg and begin to hinge at the hips, keeping the right leg extended. As you hinge forward, think about internally rotating the right leg toward the left leg to help keep your hips stable and square. Return to a standing position and repeat.
TRX Hip Press
Adjust the Suspension Trainer to mid-calf. Facing the anchor point from the floor, place your heels in the foot cradles. Lie back on the floor and bend the knees so that they are directly above the hips. Set your core, find neutral spine and drive the heels into the straps until the hips are lifted. There should be a straight line from the knees to the hips to the shoulders while maintaining control in the core. Slowly lower back to the floor and repeat.
Lateral Hinge With USB
Clean the Power USB to the right shoulder position. Stand tall, setting your plank in this standing position. With the feet shoulder-width apart and pointed forward, step out with the right foot and begin to hinge at the hips. Control the descent, landing softly. Maintain a neutral spine and a strong core as you drive down in the heel to complete the movement back to standing. Repeat on the other side.
Clean a Power or Strength USB to the front loaded position. Stand tall with a neutral spine. Using a 10- to 12-inch box, place the right foot completely on the step. With as little lean as possible, shift your weight onto the right foot and lift your body to complete extension through the hip. With control, slowly lower back to the starting position, really focusing on the eccentric portion of this movement. Repeat on the other side.
Rip Trainer Half Kneeling With Knee Tap
Assume a half-kneeling position, with the knees closest to the anchor point, flexed, directly over ankle and back toes curled under. Align the right hip with the anchor point. Hold onto the Rip Trainer with your right hand in the palm-up (power) position and your left hand in the palm-down (base) position. The center junction (where the Rip Trainers screws into itself) should be in line with the sternum. Push the base hand down while pulling the power hand up so that the Rip Trainer is vertical. Press out and control the vertical, while maintaining a strong torso, neutral spine. Drive down into the ground to stand up, while maintaining the plank position through the torso and the Rip Trainer at vertical. Slowly lower until the back knee taps the floor and then drive back up. Repeat this as long as the quality of the movement can be maintained. You can modify this exercise by bringing the Rip Trainer in to the chest, while still keeping the vertical position. Repeat on the other side.
USB Bridge With Alternating Leg Lift
Set up in a bridge position. Hold the Core USB by the outside handles and pull tight, above the chest. This will help the shoulders to pack and provide more core stability. With the core set, lift the hips off of the floor. Hold the top of the bridge, while pressing the feet into the floor. Slowly lift the right leg. Keeping the core set, slowly lower the hips to the floor. Bring the right leg back to the starting position. Reset the core/shoulder position and lift the hips off of the floor. Lift the left leg and slowly lower to the floor. Set the left foot down. Continue alternating the legs as long as form can be maintained.