By Thomas King, MSc, CSCS, CEP

If there’s one thing I know how to do, it’s get a bigger butt.

In the last year and a half, I’ve added 5 inches and a ton of strength to my hip area. While this process has definitely led to me becoming the “butt” of more than a few jokes, having a strong posterior has its share of benefits.

In fact, having well-functioning glutes are important for many aspects of life. That bad back that’s been nagging you? Probably down to weakness in your glute muscles.

Can’t quite break that 5K time you’ve been working on? More glute strength/engagement will definitely go a long way in helping you set a new personal best.

Struggling to break past a deadlift plateau? Glutes again, you get the idea!

So you can see that the glutes are more than just the flashly muscles that Kim K may have led you to believe they were! Now that I have your attention, I’d like to focus on five of my favourite glute exercises starting with number 5…

5. Glute Bridge

From 0:00-7:40 in video

I’ll start with something “easy”. The glute bridge is an awesome foundational exercise that I would suggest learning if you are unsure of what things like “posterior pelvic tilt” or “glute engagement” even mean.

Check out this post for more info on the glute bridge: https://jkconditioning.com/get-your-butt-in-the-gym-strength-exercises-for-runners/

These are things you will have to learn if you are looking for glute development and the glute bridge is definitely the easiest exercise to learn these concepts on.

From here, things get more advanced, so make sure you have the basics covered before moving on!

4. Squats to a Full Sit on a Box

These have become a staple in my training regime. You can do any variation of squat you like-front, back, safety bar, goblet, zercher, etc., just make sure you come to a full sit on the box you are using.

With regard to box height, choose one that allows the top of your thigh to reach a position that is parallel to the floor. For me, this is about 13 inches.

One thing to note, when you come to the full sit position, make sure you keep the tension “ON”. Do not let your abs relax and your body “rock” backwards to generate momentum to stand back up. The stand should be done from a complete stop to effectively target the glutes.

Because of the difficulty of maintaining focus and tension during these I would suggest 3-4 sets of 4-6 reps per workout.

3. Hip Thrusts with Rep + Hold Combinations

From 7:45-10:00 in video

The hip thrust is an exercise that is often done with super heavy weight making the trainee feel as though they are getting an amazing workout. More weight = more gainz right? Not quite true in this case.

In fact, most people would be better served by lowering the weight and changing the rep scheme. Anytime you can create less spinal stress but increase the training effect, go for it!

For this particular rep scheme, you’re going to do a combination of timed holds and reps. Start with a ten second hold at the top position of the thrust, immediately followed by ten dynamic repetitions. Move immediately into an eight second hold and eight repetitions and so on for six, four, and two. If you are feeling bold, move back up the ladder again.

Try this with a 40 pound dumbbell on the hips and good luck sitting the next day. Repeat this combo for 4 total sets if you don’t plan on moving for a couple days.

2. Conventional Stance Deadlift

I can’t make a post about glute development and not talk about the deadlift! In terms of sheer ability to apply resistance to the glutes, the deadlift is definitely king.

Pay particular attention to the lockout to really attack the glutes. For a little extra burn, attach a resistance band to something sturdy, like a squat rack, and set up with the band looped around your waist. This extra resistance at lock-out will challenge the glutes in ways you would have never imagined.

Because of the weight involved when deadlifting, keep the reps low. Try 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps in a workout.

1. Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat

How could this not be number one? Nothing makes the glutes scream quite like a couple sets of rear foot elevated split squats (RFESS). I find these produce a bit of a special burn in that they really target the distal attachment of the gluteus maximus, ensuring that sitting comfortably will not be a realistic option for several days post training.

These also receive top marks because the weights need not be heavy to produce the training effect, saving your spinal health, but killing your glutes! You will find the RFESS very taxing on both the legs and the lungs. Start with 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps/leg to feel this one out.

There you have it! My top five exercises laid out for anyone to use.

I wouldn’t recommend using all of these exercises in a single sessions but they could be mixed into two lower body days, one time per week each.

If you prefer to train legs only one time per week, shame on you! But seriously, you could also select three and rotate through the exercises every month or so.

~Thomas 🏋️‍♀️

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I had been struggling with work-life balance resulting in not exercising or playing hockey as much as I had been doing in the past. In addition to being out of shape, I was starting to experience some back/shoulder issues and realized I needed to make some changes. Around this time, a friend (who was also a client) recommended JKC and that’s when I started!

You really feel part of a community where everyone is welcoming and supportive. You get a program that is designed specifically to achieve your goals, with the ongoing coaching, progress tracking and support required to achieve them. The JKC team are very knowledgeable about fitness and conditioning, and very engaging with everyone to answer questions or discuss anything and everything training related. I also like the flexible scheduling and gym times that work for my schedule (I like early mornings and evenings).

I originally chose JKC to help me rehab following back surgery. JKC was the first gym where a trainer took the time to help me identify my goals and tailor my workouts to achieve them in a safe and doable manner. 🏋🏼 Jon & Thomas are both highly professional and knowledgeable. 👨🏼‍🎓 With their guidance and informative explanations 🗣 they have enabled me to reach my ever evolving goals. At JKC I’m guaranteed fun 😆, interesting 🙃 and diverse workouts, with Jon & Thomas forever supportive and encouraging. 👏🙌👍👊

JKC was recommended to me by my good friend Casidhe Dyke. Cas had been training with JKC for a while, and both he and his father had seen great results from the personal training that Jon and Thomas were giving them. I was and still am primarily a triathlete and I’ve always struggled with injuries. I was talking to Cas about incorporating more strength training in my program to try and prevent injuries going forward and Cas suggested that I give JKC a try. I reached out to Jon not long after, and the rest is history! After working with Jon and Thomas for a few months, I was getting stronger, faster, and most importantly, I was staying injury-free. I ended up being able to train the whole season without significant injury and posted a personal best at Ironman Copenhagen in 2018. A big part of that was due to the strength training and coaching I received at JKC.

I’ve always struggled with both my weight and anxiety throughout my life. As a writer you live a pretty sedentary lifestyle filled with both realistic and unrealistic deadlines, so I needed something to get me off my butt and to get me moving. JK has been a godsend during this past year and a half in particular. The pandemic has been tough, but workouts with both Thomas and Jon have really helped reduce the stress and strain of a global pandemic, and added an anchor of normalcy back into my life — which has been worth its weight in gold.

JKC has created an incredibly inclusive environment that’s filled with all kinds of supportive folks from all kinds of different backgrounds. For folks like myself, being surrounded by people with such athletic ability can be intimidating in most gyms. It can actually be a deterrent, and it sometimes has been for me. But, at JKC it’s far from that — it’s inspirational. Everyone supports one another. Which is something that’s not easily found in this day and age, inside of a gym or out. Not to sound like a total cheeseball here, but it really feels like a family.

lisa jumping onto a box

JKC was recommended to me by a fellow runner. I was experiencing injuries, and feeling weak and fragile. When I started with JKC, Jon asked me about my goals and my focus. I wanted to concentrate specifically on running, and preventing injury. Jon developed a program for me that has enabled me to focus on my form and strength and has been flexible enough to enable me to train for many different races. I have been training with JKC for six years, and during that time I have enjoyed Jon and Thomas’s expertise in a very warm and supportive atmosphere.

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