Your glutes power lots of everyday movements, from climbing the stairs to squatting down to pick up a child. With a kettlebell glute workout, you can fire up these mighty backside muscles and ensure they are working as optimally as possible.
“Our glutes do so much,” certified personal trainer Alicia Jamison, MA, a coach at Bodyspace Fitness and lecturer of exercise physiology at Brooklyn College, tells SELF. Whether you realize it or not, your glutes lend a hand in tons of different scenarios—think walking, running, hiking, squatting, and deadlifting—so the stronger they are, the better you’ll be able to perform a myriad of tasks. Additionally, when your glutes are functioning well, your pelvis and spine are aligned and you’re less likely to have pain in your hips and low back, Jamison says. Moreover, if your glutes are firing, they’re doing the work they should be doing for certain moves and not putting it off on other muscles, like those in your lower back, and overstressing them. Problem is, all the sitting many of us do on a daily basis causes the glutes to turn off, meaning they don’t activate as much as they should to help power certain movements. “And the longer your glutes are turned off, the more comfortable they are with being off and the harder it is to get them to fire up—even when you start moving,” Jamison says.
With that in mind, Jamison created the below five-move kettlebell butt workout that will seriously activate the all-important glute muscles. The workout she created is only 10 minutes long, but because it’s made up of all compound exercises—moves that recruit big muscle groups—it’s an intense routine that’ll really challenge your lower body.
In this routine, you’ll fire up your glutes with two deadlift variations (a single-leg deadlift and a Romanian deadlift), a goblet squat, an alternating reverse lunge, and a kettlebell swing. All these exercises work your glutes, yes, but they engage other muscles too, including your hamstrings and quads. That means, in addition to great glute activation, you’ll get other lower-body strength work as well. Additionally, the order of the movements—you alternate between squat-dominant moves that especially hit your quads and glutes and hinge-dominant moves that really work your hamstrings and glutes—allows one muscle group to rest while the other works and vice-versa, Jamison says. Compared to a routine that stacks exercises that target the same muscle groups back-to-back, this alternating format is less exhausting on your muscles.
You can do this 10-minute butt workout as a finisher after any type of routine, Jamison says. Pair it with a full-body workout to get an added lower-body oomph, or slot it at the end of leg day for an extra intense burnout. (If you use this as a finisher to a leg workout, you may want to go a bit lighter on the weight). Alternatively, try it as a stand-alone routine as a way to ignite your butt muscles after a long period of sitting.