Glutes Exercises

Glutes Exercises For Beginner. Not always the favorite muscle group for every man to train, but very important. Having strong glutes gives you a lot of advantages. In addition, the glutes have a major role in performing important exercises such as the barbell squat and deadlift.

Below we have collected a number of fitness exercises that focus directly on the buttocks. Do you want strong glutes? Then definitely give these exercises a chance!

  1. Romanian deadlift
  2. sumo deadlift
  3. hip thrust

Romanian deadlift - Glutes Exercises For Beginner

The Romanian deadlift is a variation of the deadlift where the focus is mainly on the hamstrings and glutes. The exercise is also called the stiffed-legged deadlift, but there are some minor differences between the two variations.

The Romanian deadlift is one of the best mass builders for your hamstrings and glutes. The exercise definitely deserves a permanent place in your training schedule and we’re going to tell you why. 

What is the difference between the deadlift and the Romanian deadlift?

The Romanian deadlift, like the sumo deadlift, is a variation of the conventional deadlift. The Romanian deadlift often referred to as RDL for short, shifts the focus more towards the muscles in the hamstrings and glutes - Glutes Exercises For Beginner

This is because there are some big differences in the execution and technique when doing the Romanian deadlift. The biggest differences are:

  • The conventional deadlift starts with the weight on the floor. With the Romanian deadlift, the exercise starts standing with the weight in the hands. So there is a difference in the starting position of the exercise.
  • The conventional deadlift begins with a ‘concentric’ (upward) movement. The Romanian deadlift starts with an ‘eccentric’ (downward) movement.
  • The conventional deadlift is performed as a “push” movement, pushing the weight away from your feet. The Romanian deadlift is seen as a ‘pull’ movement, where the weight is pulled upwards from the hips.
  • Both variants have to bend in the hips. The Romanian deadlift teaches you to do this even more, with extra emphasis on pushing the hips and buttocks back as the barbell comes down.
  • The same muscle groups are activated in both variants. The conventional deadlift requires more activation in the quadriceps and the Romanian deadlift requires more activation in the hamstrings and glutes.

Advantages

Just like the conventional deadlift, the Romanian deadlift is a compound exercise. The big advantage of this is that many different muscle groups are put to work when doing the exercise. The muscles used in the Romanian deadlift are the same as in the conventional deadlift, but the focus on certain muscle groups is shifted.

The muscles that are actively stimulated in the Romanian deadlift:

  • quadriceps
  • glutes
  • hamstrings
  • Adductor muscles (inner thigh)
  • hamstrings
  • Lower back
  • lats
  • trapezius
  • Rhomboid
  • abs

Execution and technique of the Romanian deadlift

If you are already familiar with the technique and execution of the conventional deadlift, this is a big advantage. The Romanian deadlift is in many ways similar to the conventional variant.

  1. We describe the exercise from start to finish in 10 clear steps. Do you want to get a better idea of ​​what the performance looks like? Then watch this video about the technique and execution of the Romanian deadlift.
  2. Start the exercise with the barbell at the height of your thighs in a squat rack or power rack.
  3. Grab the barbell with an overhand grip, just wider than your hips. This prevents your hands from hitting your hips during the exercise.
  4. Sink through your legs slightly, take a deep breath and fully engage your core as you lift the barbell out of the rack.
  5. Take two to three steps back and stand in an upright position with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing slightly out.
  6. Create a slight bend in your knees. This bend in your knees remains constant throughout the set.
  7. Bend your hips and push them back as you lower the barbell towards the floor in a controlled manner. Keep the pressure of the weight on your heels and not on your toes!
  8. As you push the hips back, focus on the tension in your hamstrings and glutes. These are fully stretched in the eccentric phase of the exercise.
  9. Lower the weight until the barbell is just below your knees. Then, pull the weight up from your hips while consciously tightening the hamstrings and glutes.
  10. Do not fully extend your legs in the top position, but maintain a slight bend. This way you maintain constant tension on the muscles.
  11. Repeat the movement until the desired number of reps of the set is achieved.


Tips for a better technique

  • Bending the hips. Creating a flexion in the hips and deliberately pushing the hips and glutes back will cause more muscle activation in the hamstrings and glutes.
  • Constantly balance the weight on your heels. You want to make sure that all the weight is constantly on your heels as your hips move back.
  • Activate your lats. By activating and tightening your lats you prevent a bend in your lower back.
  • Tighten your glutes. In the concentric phase of the exercise (upwards), tighten your glutes.
  • Use straps. Depending on your grip strength, a double overhand grip can cause you to lose grip on the barbell. By using straps you can solve this problem.

Common mistakes

#Too far down

In this area, the Romanian deadlift is different from the conventional deadlift. You lower until the barbell comes somewhere between your knees and shins. If you lower the weight all the way to the floor, the exercise changes into a stiffed-legged deadlift, which is a completely different variant.

#No straight ‘bar path’

The path the barbell makes during an exercise is called the ‘bar path’. It is important that the bar path is completely straight and that the barbell remains in constant contact with your body. If you let the barbell come too far forward, the weight will pull you forward, creating a curve in your lower back.

#Bending the knees

A slight bend in your knees is important, but no more than that. We often see a greater bend in the knees when the weight goes down. This is necessary with a conventional deadlift to get the weight to the floor, but with the Romanian deadlift, the bend in your knees remains constant.

Sumo deadlift - Glutes Exercises 

The Sumo deadlift is a variation of the conventional deadlift. Both variants differ a lot from each other in terms of technique and execution.

The Sumo deadlift seems fairly simple at first glance, but it is a very complex exercise. We tell you how to perform the exercise correctly and what you should pay attention to.

Sumo Deadlift vs. Conventional Deadlift

The sumo deadlift is a variation of the conventional deadlift that uses a wider foot placement. The wider foot placement causes the range of motion of the exercise to become shorter. As a result, the weight travels a shorter route, so that the lift is experienced as “easier” for some.

The sumo deadlift is technically a lot more complex than the conventional deadlift. The variant is often used by competitive athletes and powerlifters because both the sumo and conventional deadlift are allowed in competition.

#Focus on other muscle groups

Both deadlift variants are compound exercises in which a lot of muscles in the body are activated. It is therefore not the case that you train completely different muscle groups with one variant than with the other, but you do shift the focus.

The Sumo deadlift can actually be seen as a kind of inverted barbell squat. The wide foot placement increases the involvement of the quadriceps.

In the conventional deadlift, you start in a bent-over position, while in the sumo deadlift you are fairly upright. This ensures that the sumo deadlift is a lot less taxing on the lower back, but requires more of the hips and inner thigh muscles.

The conventional deadlift and variants such as the Romanian deadlift demand a lot more from your hamstrings.

#Which variant to choose and why?

The best variant for you completely depends on your goals and personal preference. Bodybuilders generally prefer the conventional deadlift, because this variant provides better general muscle activation.

The sumo deadlift is another good alternative for weightlifters who suffer from lower back problems or simply want to put less stress on the lower back. In addition, the sumo deadlift has a greater focus on the quadriceps and hips as opposed to more focus on the hamstrings and lower back in the conventional deadlift.

Execution and technique

The sumo deadlift is similar to the conventional deadlift in many ways. It is therefore highly recommended that you master the conventional deadlift before attempting this technically complex variant.

The biggest differences in design are in the position of the lower body and the position of the handgrip.

Below we take you to step by step through the correct execution of the sumo deadlift. If you want to get a better picture of the practice and the execution, watch this video!

  1. Set the barbell with the desired amount of weight on a suitable floor or deadlift platform.
  2. Place your feet on the floor wider than shoulder-width apart. Make sure the center of your footrest is under the bar and points your toes out. The exact position differs per person and depends on the length of your torso, arms, and legs.
  3. Bend through your hips and grab the barbell with your arms straight down in line with your shoulders. So your hands are between your legs. You can use different types of grip techniques such as a mixed or overhand grip.
  4. Relax your shoulders and arms, look straight ahead and keep your chest straight. Be careful not to look to the side or down during the exercise. This reduces the risk of neck or back injuries.
  5. Lower your hips, inhale deeply, and press the weight up from your heels in a controlled manner.
  6. Fully extend your knees and push your hips into the bar while leaning slightly back.
  7. Then lower the weight in a controlled manner until it is on the floor.
  8. Repeat the movement until the desired number of reps of the set is achieved.


5 tips for a better technique

We cover 5 important tips that will help you master the sumo deadlift.

1. Make sure your knees don’t get in the way
This is one of the most common mistakes made by beginners. If your knees are not far enough out, you will bump into your knees with your hands.
2. Place your weight behind the barbell
If you are having trouble lifting the weight, try to place the weight behind the barbell.
3. Point your toes out
Make sure your toes are pointing out during the sumo deadlift, just like you would a barbell squat.
4. Don’t lean too far back
In the top position, you want to press the hips against the barbell, so that you automatically lean back slightly. Don’t overdo the movement by leaning all the way back. If you do this, your back will be in a vulnerable position and you will increase the risk of injury.
5. Choose the right grip
There are several ways in which you can place your hands on the barbell. It is generally advisable to opt for an overhand grip until you notice that your grip strength is going to fail.

Then you can opt for a mixed grip, where you place one hand overhand and the other hand underhand on the barbell - Glutes Exercises For Beginner

In addition to a mixed grip, you can also opt for the use of lifting straps. You can still use an overhand grip, but a failing grip will no longer play a factor during the deadlift.

Hip thrust

When we talk about the most effective way to train the glutes, most people immediately think of the barbell squat.

Of course, the squat is one of the best exercises when it comes to building muscle mass and strength in the entire lower body, but for training the glutes the hip thrust is the absolute number one and we’ll tell you why!

hip thrust vs. barbell squat

The hip thrust is superior to the barbell squat in every way when it comes to training the gluteus maximus (largest gluteal muscle). In the meantime, a lot of research has been done into the degree of muscle activation and muscle growth when doing specific fitness exercises.

#Muscle activation - Glutes Exercises 

An EMG study by Bret Contreras shows that hip thrust is significantly better when it comes to muscle activation. In an EMG study, the muscle activation during an exercise is measured, so it does not directly say anything about the actual muscle growth or strength increase within a certain muscle group.

The results of the research can be seen in the images below. The ‘mean activation’ says something about the activation in the top position of the exercise. The ‘peak activation’ says something about the activation in the lowest position of the exercise.

UGM is the upper gluteus maximus and LGM is the lower gluteus maximus.

glutes exercises - hip thrust vs. barbell squat

#muscle growth

EMG does not directly say anything about the actual muscle growth. There are still many disagreements about which of the two exercises is better for gluteal muscle hypertrophy.

Another study by Bret Contreras, called: The Twin Experiment, does provide better insights into ultimate muscle growth. The 6-week case study shows results that are clearly in favor of hip thrust. With all the insights that are known today, we can say that hip thrust is superior to the barbell squat when it comes to muscle growth of the glutes.

Glutes Exercises  - The Twin Experiment

Execution of the hip thrust

The barbell hip thrust can be a challenging exercise to master. Below we cover the exercise from start to finish and give you advice and tips on techniques that will undoubtedly help you master the hip thrust.

In the steps below, we’ll tell you how to perform the barbell hip thrust. Beginners are recommended to perform the exercise with the only body weight. When you are familiar with the exercise, you can add extra resistance by, for example, using a barbell.

#To set up

  1. For the hip thrust, use a fitness bench or other raised object such as a plyo-box that comes to about the same height as your knee.
  2. Place the bench against a wall or other stable base to prevent it from sliding during the exercise.
  3. Place a barbell in front of the fitness bench and add the desired weight to it.
  4. Place a squat pad around the barbell or wrap a towel around it for some extra comfort during the exercise.

#Performance

  1. Sit on the floor with your back against the bench and roll the barbell over you. Make sure the barbell is exactly in the middle.
  2. Then plant your feet firmly on the floor, no wider than shoulder-width. Let your toes point out a little bit.
  3. With the hip thrust, you don’t push from your heels as with the squat, but from your hips. Push your hips upwards from the bottom position while consciously contracting them, especially in the top position it is important to consciously contract the glutes.
  4. In the top position of each rep, you want to maintain a 90-degree angle between your lower and upper leg. For your first rep, it can be difficult to determine exactly where to place the feet to create a 90-degree angle. If necessary, slide your feet forward or back a little to get the right angle.
  5. Lower the weight back from the top position in a controlled manner while keeping your upper back in contact with the bench.
  6. Repeat the movement until the desired number of reps of the set is achieved.

Helpful Tips - Glutes Exercises 

  • Build up the weight slowly. This gives you the opportunity to find the perfect foot position and you know exactly where to place your feet when you start training with heavier weights.
  • Play with your foot placement during the warm-up. Remember the foot position that works best for you. This way your feet are in the right position for the heavier sets in one go and you avoid having to reposition yourself.
  • In the top position of the exercise, you consciously tighten the glutes. Pause for at least 1 second in this position and take the time to squeeze the muscles.
  • Do not ‘drop’ the weight from the top position, but lower the weight in a controlled manner until it almost touches the ground.
  • Only use your hands to stabilize the weight, not to lift the weight.

Advantages

We now know that the hip thrust is better for muscle activation and muscle growth in the glutes, but this is not the only benefit. There are a number of other great benefits that make the hip thrust an essential exercise.

#Suitable for progressive overload

You may have heard of the term “ progressive overload ”. This is a technique in which you structurally increase the intensity of an exercise over a longer period of time. This can be done by increasing the weight of an exercise weekly, but also by adding more sets and repetitions, or by using a short rest period between sets.

Because the hip thrust is an exercise with an enormous capacity for weight, it is a very suitable exercise to apply the progressive overload technique.

#Easily scalable

The exercise may seem challenging at first glance. You have to prepare all kinds of props and put yourself in a separate position before you can finally start the exercise.

Fortunately, there are plenty of variations for beginners that are a lot more accessible. The variations are also great for getting familiar with the movement with a lower weight and are very effective as an intermediate station for someone new to the exercise.

#Suitable for strength and hypertrophy

The hip thrust is a suitable exercise for both strength training and muscle hypertrophy. This means that you can train in different ‘rep ranges’.

For strength gain, it is recommended to maintain between 4 and 8 repetitions. For hypertrophy training, between 8 and 15 reps are most effective - Glutes Exercises For Beginner

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