Weak glute muscles can lead to pelvic destabilization and injuries. The most effective way to build glute strength is doing glute exercises. To optimize muscular hypertrophy, you need to exert consistent tension or load on the specific glute muscles.
The various glute exercises differ in that some optimize tension and loading while others do not. Also, some glute exercises are more prone to form misalignment causing injuries or no results. Below are the top 5 useless exercises to avoid.
It may surprise you that squats are the first on the list of the worst glute exercises. Squats are not bad parse. When done in the proper form, they are among the best glute and leg exercises. However, most people do not employ the correct squats technique.
Unfortunately, even some of the most popular personal trainers may mislead clients. Also, as seen from various fitness center reviews, some places do not have well-trained fitness instructors to guide clients through the proper form for various exercises. This is why you might want to check clients’ feedback on independent resources and review websites like Pissedconsumer.com to ascertain their credibility.
The most common misalignments when doing squats include:
- Carving in the knees
- Raising heels off the floor
- Rounding the back
- Squatting too shallowly – half or quarter squats
Below are pointers for proper squat form:
- Feet shoulder-width apart
- Heels and the balls of the toes firmly grounded
- Hips below parallel
- Knees stacking over but not beyond the toes
- Strong and straight spine
- Chest facing forward
- Head and neck in a neutral position
Note that, despite your best effort, it may be challenging to get into proper squat form under the following circumstances if you lack:
- hip mobility and hip flexor flexibility,
- hamstring and ankle flexibility and mobility,
- upper back and ab strengths,
- spinal erectors and thoracic extension mobility and flexibility.
You can improve your hip, hip flexor, hamstring, and ankle mobility and flexibility by stretching regularly. Also, do planks, Russian twists, leg raises, and sit-ups to build core stability and strength.
Lunges are another excellent exercise for building leg muscles. However, like the squat, most people do not get the correct lunges technique, compromising its effectiveness or leading to injury.
The most common misalignments when doing lunges include:
- Leaning the torso forward
- Rounding the back
- Front knee carving in
- Heel off the ground
The pointers for proper form when doing lunges are:
- The heel of the front foot firm on the ground
- Front knee directly on top of the ankle
- Tailbone tucked in
- An upright and strong torso
- Head and neck in neutral position
3. Glute Kickbacks
Glute kickbacks are popular as toning and muscle-building exercises. They can be done in different variations, including donkey kicks on all fours or cable kickbacks.
Donkey kickbacks do not optimize loading, and the little tension produced when squeezing the glute may not be substantial enough for hypertrophy. While cable kickbacks may resolve these issues, often, the added weight makes them difficult for most people. As such, it limits the range of movement, inhibiting isolation and optimal loading.
The best alternative for glute kickbacks is the Romanian deadlift. It allows you to properly load the glutes and maintain tension on the glute muscles for longer.
4. Abductor Raises
One of the main advantages of abductor raises is that they work the abductors, whereas most glute exercises do not. On the downside, they offer a limited range of motion, minimal loading, and little tension.
Instead of doing bodyweight abductor raises, use an abductor machine. It enables you to overload your abductors progressively and create more tension.
5. Body Weight Glute Bridge
There are several challenges with the bodyweight glute bridges as glute building and strengthening exercises. They offer a limited range of motion and not enough load and tension to optimize hypertrophy. Also, although this exercise is seemingly simple, most people don’t get the form right.
Common mistakes when doing a glute bridge include:
- Carving out the knees
- Shallow glute raise
- Collapsing the glutes
- Heels off the floor, making the exercise quad-dominant
- Setting the feet too widely apart
With that said, they make an excellent exercise for core and pelvic stabilization. To optimize them for glute building, incorporate a resistance band or dumbbell to add load.
If using a resistance band, place it around your thighs, a few inches from the knees. When coming up, focus on pushing your thighs out against the band and squeeze the glutes tightly. Maintain tension on the band and slowly lower your glutes to the ground. Repeat for at least 8 repetitions per set.
If using a dumbbell, place it between your pubic bone and belly button. Lightly hold the dumbbell in place with your hands, lift your hips, and tighten your glutes. Hold up for a few seconds, then slowly lower the glutes. Repeat for at least 8 repetitions per set.
Glute strength plays a crucial role in pelvis stabilization, spine and lower limbs control, and everyday strength and stamina to move around. The right exercises ensure you build your glute muscles and strength.
Having a clear goal and motivation for fitness, knowing which exercise to do, and remaining consistent enables you to build glute and body strength. Ensure to check online reviews before hiring a trainer or joining a gym or fitness program.