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Glutes that Kick Butt


Get a jumpstart on race season by strengthening your buttocks

By Alicia Bell
Photography by Dave Laus

Every runner needs to work on posterior chain strengthening during the off-season. Whether you already do a strength routine or, if off-season weight training is brand new to you, the following three exercises should be implemented into your routine.

These exercises will strategically strengthen your glutes to aid in better running economy, strength and speed in the spring. If you are lifting heavy weights, make sure to use a spotter. Correct technique should always be used when performing strengthening exercises.

Make sure that you perfect your form before increasing the amount of weight. Once technique is mastered, add weight to these exercises and your glutes will be primed to shoot you off the start line for the spring running season. They will also make your butt look great!


  • 5-10 minutes of running on treadmill at an incline of 5 and speed of 5.0+.
  • 1 x 20m walking lunge (slow and controlled) to warm up the hip flexors, quadriceps and glutes.
  • 1 x 20 air squats.
  • 1 x 60s plank.
  • Dynamic leg swings (hands on wall) x 20 each leg.



Deep Walking Lunge
3-4 sets x 8-10 reps

Glutes are the key muscles to lift you from the bottom of a deep lunge.

  • With a dumbbell in each hand, lean forward at the hips and take a big step forward.
  • Press through the heel and power into your next lunge staying in a straight line.


Box Squat
3-4 sets x 8-10 reps

Contrary to popular belief, squats are not always the best thing for your butt. When the average person squats, only a small portion of the movement targets the glutes. It’s mainly a quadriceps exercise. Box squats are primarily posterior chain and therefore the glutes do most of the work.

  • Place an appropriate amount of weight on the bar.
  • Make sure to use a wide stance, leaning forward and sitting back. This stretches the posterior chain.
  • Do not lose tension of the muscle by sitting down fully.
  • Maintain tension of the legs and hips and make sure to keep the bar over your toes.
  • You will have an arched back and will be leaning forward at the hips.
  • Do not rock back in the squat when initiating the upward movement.


Glute Bridge
3-4 sets x 8-10 reps

  • This exercise targets your glutes because you are contracting them at the end range of the motion.
  • Place the weight safely above your hips. You may use a towel or foam covering for protection.
  • Then place your upper back across a low bench, soft box or floor.
  • Your feet should be shoulder width apart, toes pointing slightly out. As you push your hips up, focus on squeezing the butt to lift the weight.
  • Hold for one second at the top of the movement.

Alicia Bell is a personal trainer in Toronto. Connect with her @trainitright on Twitter.

Click to view this article in IMPACT Magazine's January/February 2016 Issue.