Our glutes are the biggest, strongest muscles in the body (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)
With rumours circulating that Kim Kardashian had her (unconfirmed) bum implants removed earlier this year and Y2K fashion dominating on social media, it looks like the glory days of the peach emoji booty are coming to an end.
Glute workouts have dominated the female fitness sphere for years now, thanks in part to people like Kim K and her sisters mainstreaming the hourglass look, however dubiously.
Fitness influencers have since profited from sharing and selling countless exercises to help their followers to grow their glutes, and people have lapped it up.
Research by Pure Gym suggests that the glutes continue to reign as the body part most fitness fans want to build, with interest in growing the glutes up year-on-year, and by a further 22% in 2021.
But, even when trends do fade, it’s important to remember that training specific muscle groups is about much more than making them look a certain way.
This couldn’t be more true for the glutes.
As strength and conditioning coach Kate Whapples explains, not only are our glutes our largest muscle group, they’re vital in making sure our everyday movement patterns remain healthy.
‘While it has been a bit of a fitness craze, training your glutes is really important as the gluteal complex is the biggest and strongest muscle in the whole body,’ Kate tells Metro.co.uk.
‘Everything you do from standing up, walking, lifting a shopping bag, swinging a tennis racket or lifting your child from the floor utilises glute strength.’
While the glutes are the body’s prime mover, she says, there are multiple other reasons we shouldn’t neglect our glutes.
‘Whether you want to reduce aches and pains, improve your posture or improve your performance you need to work on training your glutes,’ Kate adds.
Why it’s important to train your glutes
Lessen the risk of injuries
As Kate notes, we use out glutes for just about everything.
As our strongest muscle group, our glutes help us to avoid injury during daily movement by keeping our bodies aligned.
‘Having strong glutes helps your body stay aligned correctly and move within this alignment,’ says Kate. ‘This minimises the chance of getting injured during movement.’
Help to maintain good posture
Strong glutes are also vital for maintaining good posture.
‘It is very difficult to attain and maintain good posture without strong glutes,’ Kate tells us.
‘When your glutes, core and hips are strong and stable it makes it possible for your body to move using the correct posture, limiting things such as knee valgus and anterior pelvic tilts that are responsible for lots of people aches, pains and injuries.’
This is especially true of those who spend the majority of their days sat behind a desk.
‘Most humans now exist in a constant state of flexion, sat down, heads stooped down and shoulders rolled forward looking at a screen, which has a huge effect on our bodies,’ she adds.
‘With an ever increasing amount of people spending the majority of their time sat down and hunched over, training your glutes and posterior chain has never been more important.’
Improve your performance
Finally, if you want to see your performance in sports and fitness skyrocket, strong glutes are a non-negotiable.
‘From a performance perspective your glutes are absolutely vital for athletic performance,’ says Kate.
‘Many of the key movement patterns humans use like a squat, a hip hinge, sprinting, jumping and changing direction all stem from your glutes, so to improve these movements you need to improve the strength and power you have within your glutes.’
Incorporate these exercises for strong glute muscles
‘While lots of people squat and think that’s their glutei training covered, I’m afraid its not that simple,’ says Kate.
‘As your glutes are responsible for such a huge range of movements, it’s important to train them within all of those movement ranges.
‘I put posterior chain work into my clients sessions twice a week, mixing up single leg, double leg, balance, squat and hip hinge focuses in to constantly challenge and improve their glute strength!
‘Here are some of my favourite glute exercises and how I recommend my clients implement them.’
Sets: 3 | Reps: 10
Hip thrusts are brilliant as they work your entire posterior chain, but due to the extension at the hip they really target your glutes.
This exercise is also low impact and easy to load up pretty heavily providing you with a huge strength stimulus.
Single Leg Step Ups
Sets: 3 | Reps: 8
When training your glutes its important to do some single leg variations, too.
This helps to make sure you’re not training imbalances into your glutes!
Romanian Deadlifts (RDLs)
Sets: 3 | Reps: 8
RDLs or Romanian deadlifts again work your whole posterior chain, but they are a brilliant exercise to practice hip hinging which is one of the key movement patterns our glutes assist in.
The main focus points for RDLs are to keep pushing your hips backwards whilst bringing the crown of your head forward so you are maintaining the length in your torso and hamstrings.
Try making the downwards phase nice and slow, then return to the standing position powerfully to challenge your glutes.
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