By mass, your glutes are the largest muscles in your body, yet for some reason we always want ours to be bigger. This is because the glutes assist in many of the biggest lifts, like squats and deadlifts.
Although the glutes play an important role in these exercises, squats and deadlifts are not actually the best way to train glutes directly.
To isolate the glute, either because it is the weak part of a lift, or because big booties are awesome, you may require assistance from machines at the gym.
Your glutes have three main jobs. They are in charge of hip extension, hip external rotation, and hip abduction. To train our glutes completely requires simulation in all of these movement patterns.
Cable Tower Hip Extension
The term hip extension refers to driving your hips forward. Think about how in a deadlift your hips start behind you. Then, you stand up in a straight line. Your glutes are responsible for moving your butt forward.
A great piece of gym equipment to train hip extensions is the cable tower. I would recommend specifically using it to do glute kickbacks.
How to do a Cable Glute Kickback
To do a glute kick back on a cable machine, grab a velcro strap and strap your ankle in.
Align whichever leg is strapped in with the cable.
Lean your torso slightly forward at about a 45-degree angle and brace yourself against the cable machine.
Initiate the movement by bending your knee and then swinging it as far behind you as possible.
As you move into extension, think about squeezing the top and bottom halves of your butt together.
Reps should be kept between 12 and 20. Note that if you overload too much and use a heavier weight than you should, it is very easy to cheat this exercise and lose a lot of benefit of going slower and controlled.
Cable Tower Hip External Rotation
Hip external rotation is basically your ability to rotate your legs away from you in a clockwise or counterclockwise manner. It’s not the sexiest type of glute training, but it is one of the healthiest.
Most glute training only focuses on the sagittal and frontal planes, and neglect the transverse. However transverse training of the glute will help prevent injury and develop a more well-rounded rear.
If you are at the gym and are looking for a way to train your glutes’ ability to externally rotate, then the cable cylinder rotation is a great choice.
To do a cable cylinder rotation, adjust a cable machine to about shoulder height and attach a handle. Walk a few feet away, and get into an athletic stance (feet slightly wider than shoulder width). Now, with your arms extended out in front of your chest and grabbing the handle with both hands, Rotate the shoulders, spine, and pelvis like a cylinder away from the anchor point: keep both heels on the ground while maintaining a tall spine posture.
Hip Abduction Machine
Finally, we arrive at hip abduction, which just means the ability to push your leg out to the side. A cue you might hear from a coach on a deadlift is “spread the ground”. This is a tool coaches use with their athletes that helps engage glutes in heavy lifts.
There is a very easy way to train your abductors, and I’m pretty sure every gym has one. The hip abduction machine, also called a thigh abductor, looks like a chair that belongs in a doctor’s office.
How to do a Hip Abduction
Begin this exercise by taking a seat on the hip abductor and gripping the handles.
Everything from the waist up should be stationary as your legs perform the exercise.
Slowly press against the padding with your thighs as they move away from the center.
Push your legs to their fullest range of motion before bringing them back to the starting position.
The way back should feel more like gently letting the weight down instead of just dropping it.