Your glutes are the largest muscle in your body and provide essential everyday functions such as maintaining balance and power for movements including walking, jumping and running.
Now, having an aesthetically pleasing behind is probably something on most people's Christmas list, however actually having strong glutes is key for physical health.
Your glutes are the primary mobilisers of the hips and thighs. Having strong glutes are important for pelvic floor alignment, daily movement and also for helping support the lower back and preventing knee injuries.
There are 3 muscles that make up the glutes:
Gluteus maximus - this is responsible for hip extension and lateral rotation
Gluteus medius - this is responsible for abduction (movement of your leg away from your body)
Gluteus minimus - this is the smallest of the three and helps with walking and rotation of the leg
To help you in starting to build strong glutes, I have outlined my top three movements that target this powerhouse trio of muscles!
#1: Fire Hydrant
This is my favourite movement for building strong, defined glutes - which is why I have put it at the top!
Start on your hands and knees in a table top position. Your knees should be touching and your hands should be should-width apart and directly under your shoulders.
Keep your back straight and and your spine neutral.
Keeping your knee positioned at a 90-degree angle, lift one leg up and away from your body (like a dog weeing up a tree... bet that visual helped!)
Slowly lower it back to the starting position and repeat.
PROGRESSION: Add a resistance band around your thighs to add resistance to the movement.
#2: Bulgarian Split Squat
The Bulgarian split squat targets multiple muscles, and with its one-footed nature, forces the core muscles to work in overdrive to help maintain balance through the movement.
Stand 2-3 feet away from a bench, box, step or anything else in which you can raise one foot onto.
Face away from the object and place one foot on it, keeping your head up and eyes forward at all times.
Keeping your core tight, bend your front leg to lower into a squat. Your knee should track over your toes (it shouldn't come past your toes - if it does, step forward slightly).
Hold the bottom position for a second and then drive up through the heel of your foot, back to the starting position.
PROGRESSION: Hold some dumbbells in either hand to add more resistance.
#3: Glute Bridge
The glute bridge is a fantastic movement to activate the glute muscles, improve athletic capacity, build stronger glute muscles, whilst also working the stabilising muscles in your core!
Lie flat on your back (on mat or comfortable surface) and bring your knees up so your feet are flat on the floor.
Lift your hips up towards the sky into a straight position, by squeezing your glutes and driving your body weight through your heels.
Hold the position for 1-2 seconds and then slowly lower back down towards the floor until your back is flat.
PROGRESSION: Lift one leg off of the floor, so you are just driving upwards with a singular leg OR place a weight (dumbbell/barbell/weight plate) on your hips, using your hands to hold it in place.
And there we have it, my top three movements to build killer glutes!