Great glutes, aka a great butt, is a sign of a strong body.
So, how strong are your glutes?! Take this 60 second test to find out!
1. Stand with feet hip distance apart.
2. Step back with your left foot into a lunge. Then stand again bringing your left foot back next to the right foot. Repeat for 25 reps.
3. On your last rep, HOLD in your low lunge position. Now, look down at your front knee…is it straight over your second toe? If it’s wobbly or tracks inward, you are not engaging your glutes and therefore NOT working them!
4. Be sure to check both the other side as well! We often are imbalanced and one side may be stronger than the other.
Why is it important to have strong glutes?
“A knee that collapses in step after step can cause overuse injuries,” says trainer Rachel Cosgrove. “By strengthening the glutes, you will support your hip and keep your knee aligning properly with every lunge or step you take.” Furthermore, without proper strength in your glutes, they will not properly engage while doing butt-enhancing moves like squats and lunges. You don’t want all you hard work in the gym to go to waste!
How do you fix weak glutes and imbalances?
THE SINGLE LEG DEAD LIFT (SLDL)
Start: Balance on your left foot with your right foot a few inches off the ground. Keep your left knee soft.
Action: Exhale to bend at the hip and reach for your left foot with both hands. Your right foot will come off the ground behind you. Go down as far as possible keeping your back straight. Then inhale to squeeze the glutes to stand back up, keeping your right foot off the floor.
WHEN TO DO THE SLDL?
As Warm Up: Perform this exercise with no weight to activate your glutes and CORE before staring your workout. It loosens tight hamstrings, improves balance, and improves muscle symmetry. BONUS! It also strengthens many of the small stabilizing muscles in your ankle, which protect the joint and make it resistant to injury.
As Part of Your Training: To increase strength in your glutes, perform this exercise during your workouts with added weight. Hold either a dumb bell vertically with one hand or a barbell with both hands. Try to go low enough to touch the weight to the floor. The increase in weight in front of the body makes the glutes and hamstrings work harder as you return to standing.
Even if you DO have a strong set of gluteal muscles, it is important to routinely perform this exercise in order to keep balance in your body, preserve full body strength, and maintain flexibility in your lower body.