Training Your Glutes And Hamstrings

The glutes are the muscles that make up your buttocks and work as stabilizers for your pelvis while performing movements such as walking and standing. They also help with movements like outwardly rotating the thigh. The muscles that make up this group include the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus.

The hamstrings are the muscles that run along the backs of your thighs. The muscles that make up this group are the semimembranosus, semitendinosus, and biceps femoris. This muscle group is responsible for hip extension and knee flexion (bending your knee). You use your hamstrings for movements like stepping up and running.

It’s important to note that the glutes and hamstrings are also two of the muscle groups that make up your core. (Your core is not just comprised of your abdominals, as is commonly believed. The core includes any muscle that helps sync actions between your upper and lower halves.) Because you use these muscles for daily activities, it’s important to prepare them adequately in order to avoid injury or strain. You need to spend extra time warming them up pre-workout and stretching them post-workout.

People often think that they have “tight” hamstrings and that they need to stretch them more, but actually, this is not the case for most people. People who sit for long periods of time experience shortness in the muscles of the hips, lower back, and glutes. Shortness means that the muscle fibers remain in a shortened or contracted state after prolonged sitting. As a result, the pelvis becomes rotated in a way that causes the hamstrings to be lengthened. Therefore, the feeling that most people associate with tightness is actually the feeling of being taut—the muscle has lengthened to its full capacity and has no more room for movement. To prevent this, consider doing movements that will stretch the hips and engage the glutes as opposed to overstretching the hamstrings, such as the Pretzel Stretch in this article.

Before You Lift:

Remember to keep your core engaged while executing the movements in this article. You can also perform each of these movements in front of a mirror, or record yourself, to double-check your form.

Straight-leg Kick

Straight-Leg Kicks are often referred to as Frankenstein or monster kicks because of the resemblance to the fictional character when performing this movement. It’s a great movement for actively stretching the hamstrings and warming up the core.

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Take a step forward with your left leg as you kick your right leg into the air and attempt to touch your toes with your left hand.
  3. Return to the starting position and then step forward with your right leg, kicking your left leg into the air and reaching for your toes with your right hand.
  4. Repeat this movement until you feel warmed up, moving forward as you alternate kicking your legs in front of you. You should feel and look like Frankenstein’s monster when performing this movement.

World’s Greatest Stretch

This stretch is ideal for increasing range of motion in the hip joint, increasing mobility, and providing a dynamic stretch for the hamstrings. In addition, it warms up your upper body and core. This is why it’s called the World’s Greatest Stretch—it stretches so many muscle groups at one time.

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hinge from your hips and reach your hands down to the ground. Try to touch the ground without bending your knees so that you feel a nice stretch in your hamstrings.
  2. Once the palms of your hands are on the ground, walk them forward until you are in a push-up position. If you’re not able to place your palms on the ground, bend your knees slightly to help you reach. Your hips and shoulders should be aligned.
  3. Take your left foot forward and place it on the ground on the outside of your left hand. Press your right hand into the floor as you lift your left hand into the air, rotating through your thoracic spine to open your chest toward your left side. Follow your hand with your eyes.
  4. Return your hand to the floor, then return your foot to the starting push-up position.
  5. Take your right foot forward and place it on the ground on the outside of your right hand, and repeat the twist on the opposite side.
  6. Return to the push-up position. Walk your hands back toward your feet as you raise your hips and attempt to keep your legs straight and heels down, making your way back up to a standing position.

Deadlift

Additional Muscles Worked: Back, Core

This complex movement engages muscle groups in the upper and lower parts of the body. It’s also great for core development and neurological coordination.

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and toes facing forward, holding dumbbells or a barbell in your hands.
  2. Hinge from your hips and push your butt back like you’re trying to get it to touch an imaginary wall behind you. Keep your knees soft, but do not bend them, to engage the hamstrings. Keep your back flat and shoulder blades squeezed together to engage your upper back muscles as you reach and move the weights toward your shins. Do not round or hyperextend your back.
  3. Once you hit your end range of motion (as low as you can get without rounding your back), squeeze your glutes to drive your hips forward and return to the upright standing position.

Lift Safely: This exercise should only be felt in your hamstrings and glutes. Should you experience any lower back pain, abandon the weights and work only on the hip-hinging pattern.

Make It Easier: Feel free to play around with the position of your feet. You may need a wider (or narrower) stance to keep your spine from rounding at the end position of the Deadlift. You may also need to turn your feet out slightly (so your toes point out) to achieve the ideal position for your body.

Single-leg Romanian Deadlift

ADDITIONAL MUSCLES WORKED: Back, Core

This movement works the same group of muscles as the Deadlift but adds a layer of complexity by challenging your balance. It also helps fix any imbalances between your left and right halves.

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell or barbell in front of you with both hands, elbows straight, and the weight close to your body. (Almost as if you plan to scrape your shins with the weight on the way down.)
  2. Hinge from your hips, keeping your elbows straight, and lift one foot off the ground as you lower your chest and the weight down toward your shins, allowing your leg to come up behind you. Think about kicking your heel to the sky and flex your toes toward your shin as you kick your leg back. (You want your shoulders and foot to move at the same time, like a pendulum.) Do not attempt to bring the weight to the floor. Stop once you feel your spine start to round.
  3. Return to the upright starting position. You may place your foot down between reps to regain your balance if you need to.
  4. Repeat on the opposite leg.

Lift Safely: Keep your back flat and your hips square to the ground; avoid opening up at the hip. You want to really feel your glutes and hamstrings working during this exercise. If any discomfort is felt in your back, abandon the weights, and make adjustments to your form.

Make It Easier: Tap your foot on the ground in between reps.

Home Workout Hack: Place a broomstick on your back and try to maintain contact between the broom and your neck, mid back, and butt as you perform the movement with no weight. This will help you learn the proper spinal alignment for this movement.

Glute Bridge

ADDITIONAL MUSCLES WORKED: Core

This exercise is very effective in building and toning your glutes and hamstrings. It is also an easier movement to master than Deadlifts.

  1. Lie on your back with the bottom of your feet on the floor, hip-width apart, and your toes facing forward.
  2. Place a dumbbell or barbell on your hips just below your hip bones and hold it there.
  3. Drive out of your heels and squeeze your glutes to lift your hips off the ground while keeping your head and shoulders down and relaxed. Hold at the top of the bridge for 2 seconds.
  4. Return your hips to the ground.

Lift Safely: Use your glutes to initiate this movement and not your lower back. Make sure that as you perform this exercise, your knees track over your ankles. Do not let them cave inward or fall outward.

Make It Harder: Use a weight bench or a plyo box to perform barbell hip thrusters. Sit with your shoulder blades in contact with the bench and your feet hip-width apart, toes facing forward. Place the bar across your hips with a pad. Lift your hips off the ground and squeeze your glutes at the top. Keep your shoulders in contact with the bench throughout the movement and your head up with neck relaxed. Lower your hips back down and follow the movement with your shoulders so that you move as one unit.

Single-leg Glute Bridge

ADDITIONAL MUSCLES WORKED: Core, Hip Flexors

This is a more difficult progression from a standard Glute Bridge. The single-leg nature of this movement makes you engage your core and glutes more, compared to performing the movement with both legs.

  1. Lie on your back with the bottom of your feet on the floor, hip-width apart, and your toes facing forward.
  2. Place a dumbbell or barbell on your hips just below your hip bones and hold it there.
  3. Lift one foot off the ground and up to the sky. Squeeze the glutes of the leg on the floor and push with the grounded heel to bring your hips up into a bridge. Hold for about 2 seconds before lowering your hips back down to the ground.
  4. You can do all the repetitions on one leg or alternate legs.

Lift Safely: Make sure your knee tracks over your ankle throughout the movement. Don’t hyperextend your back at the top of the bridge. Use only your glutes to propel the movement, not your lower back.

Make It Easier: Reduce the range of motion of the exercise by not driving your hips as high. If needed, abandon the weights and perform this movement with body weight.

Make It Harder: Use a heavier weight. You can also drop the elevated leg to the side a few inches and then return it to the center for each repetition. This will challenge your core stability even more.

Step-up

ADDITIONAL MUSCLES WORKED: Core, Hip Flexors, Quads

This movement is great for strengthening the glutes and hamstrings while also improving your balance and stability. Additionally, it will improve your ability to walk up and down stairs.

  1. Find a stable chair, bench, step, or box to step on. The surface should be 6 to 18 inches off the floor, depending on your height and skill level.
  2. If you have dumbbells, hold those at your sides or hold one at your chest with both hands. If you have a barbell, then place it behind your neck, resting on your shoulders.
  3. Stand in front of the chair or box and place your right foot on it.
  4. Drive up through your right leg to stand as you bring your left leg up so that your left knee forms a 90-degree angle in front of you at hip height. Squeeze your right glute at the end range of the movement.
  5. Reverse the movement and step back onto the floor with both feet.
  6. You can repeat this motion on the right leg and then switch to the left, or alternate between legs for each repetition.

Lift Safely: Keep an eye on your knee as you perform your Step-Ups. Your knee should track above your ankle throughout the movement (meaning it doesn’t cave in or out). Also, keep your knee behind your toes as you step up, and try your best to not allow your knee to move too far past your toes on the way down. Land softly and double-check that there is nothing in your path to step on as you come down.

Make It Harder: Each Step-Up should be one fluid motion, without pausing in the middle. This will test your balance.

Home Workout Hack: If you are having trouble finding a stable chair for your Step-Ups, try looking around your home for other stable surfaces, like stairs in the house, your outdoor patio, or even a stable step stool.

Lateral Step-up

ADDITIONAL MUSCLES WORKED: Core, Hip Flexors, Quads

This movement will challenge your inner and outer thigh muscles more than the previous Step-Ups, while also promoting great glute activation.

  1. Find a stable chair, bench, step, or box to step on. The surface should be 6 to 18 inches off the floor, depending on your height and skill level.
  2. If you have dumbbells, hold those at your sides or hold one at your chest with both hands. If you have a barbell, then place it behind your neck, resting on your shoulders.
  3. Stand next to the box, chair, or step so it is on your left side.
  4. Keeping the box or step on your left side, step laterally onto the box with your left foot as you bring your right leg up and drive your knee to hip height, knee bent to a 90-degree angle. Squeeze your glutes at the top.
  5. Step down and take your foot completely off the box or step before repeating the movement. Perform all the reps on this side before repeating on the opposite side.

Lift Safely: Keep an eye on your knee as you perform your Step-Ups. Your knee should track above your ankle throughout the movement (meaning it doesn’t cave in or out). Also, keep your knee behind your toes as you step up, and try your best to not allow your knee to move too far past your toes on the way down. Land softly and double-check that there is nothing in your path to step on as you come down.

Make It Harder: Each Step-Up should be one fluid motion, without pausing in the middle. This will test your balance.

Home Workout Hack: If you are having trouble finding a stable chair for your step-ups, try looking around your home for other stable surfaces, like stairs in the house, your outdoor patio, or even a stable step stool.

Pretzel Stretch

This stretch is perfect for stretching the glute muscles without overstretching the hamstrings.

  1. Sit on the ground in a cross-legged position.
  2. Place your left foot on the outside of your right knee.
  3. Take your right arm and place your left knee in the crease of your right elbow. Sit up as tall as possible with your back straight as you pull your left knee into your chest and feel the stretch in your left glute.
  4. Hold the stretch, then repeat on the opposite side.

Seated Toe Touch

This stretch is important because it targets your hamstrings.

  1. Sit on the ground with your feet out in front of you, legs straight, toes up.
  2. Reach both arms straight in front of you and attempt to touch your toes. If you cannot reach your toes, then try for your ankles or shins.
  3. Keep your knees as straight as possible and flex your toes toward your shins to maximize the stretch in your hamstrings.
  4. Hold the stretch.

Do You Have to Take Supplements with Glutes and Hamstrings Workout?

Some people might use natural fat burners as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle to increase metabolism or decrease appetite. When combined with a healthy diet, it will further increase the loss of excess body fat – and may also have other beneficial effects.

Resurge is of the most popular weight loss supplements that promise to help you shed pounds and sleep better. Because studies have shown that sleep deprivation is associated with deficiencies of growth hormone and elevated levels of cortisol, both of which contribute to obesity.

While other supplements promote nutritional factors, meal replacement forms, appetite suppression, or similar effects, Resurge boosts your body’s metabolism by increasing your core temperature. However, before making any purchases, you might want to read some Resurge reviews because the supplement industry is rife with scams.

Besides, it should be noted that supplements are ineffective on their own and are hardly a solution to obesity. Pills or supplements only work when combined with a healthy weight-loss diet and regular exercise.

In any case, it’s always best to talk with your doctor before you start taking a supplement, especially if you are taking medications or have any health concerns.

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