If anyone was ever born to be a bodybuilder, it's Bodybuilding.com athlete and IFBB pro bikini competitor Taylor Chamberlain. This second-generation bodybuilder watched her parents compete when she was a teenager and knew fitness was her future.
"I was about 12 or 13 when I first remember going to the gym, and my mom and dad kind of showing me the ropes," recalls Chamberlain. "I just fell in love with the way I felt afterward. My heart rate was up, the endorphins came, and I felt strong. I just became addicted."
Now, this pedigreed competitor is ready to pass on some of her best booty-shaping tricks and signature moves in this glute workout.
"When you're targeting a specific muscle group, your mind-muscle connection is extremely important," explains Chamberlain. "Always try to visualize the muscle as you're working on it."
In this workout, you'll begin with a glute activation warm-up to open up the hips with dynamic, rather than static, stretching. Static stretching involves holding a stretch for longer than 10 seconds and doesn't really benefit you before a workout. Save this kind of stretch for your cool-down.
Glute Activation Warm-up
- Low lunge pulse 10 reps per side
- Plie squat pulse (garland squat) 10 reps
- Reach over figure 4 stretch 10 reps per side
- Butterfly single-side pulse stretch 10 reps per side
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Cool-down: stretch and foam roll
Superset: Cable kick-back and lateral band walk
Perform these cable kick-backs on the ground to protect your lower back.
"Doing this exercise on your hands and knees is going to alleviate back strain you'd normally feel when you perform it standing up," Chamberlain explains. "This is going to be a game changer for you."
Many gyms have connectors made for kick-backs, but you can use a plain strap around your ankle. At the top of the kick, hold your leg in the extended position for 2 seconds, then come back slowly. Squeeze your glutes at the top and feel the stretch as you lower the weight back down.
"Keep your focus on squeezing your glutes through the entire range of motion to keep building your glutes," explains Chamberlain.
The second exercise in the set is the lateral band walk. "These walks help activate the glutes, which is good to do before a heavy move like the hip thrusts. You want to move the weight by fully engaging your glutes instead of relying on your hamstrings or adductors," Chamberlain says.
If you can, leave your kick-back straps on during the band walk so you don't have to put them back for the next set of kick-backs.
Place the band around your upper thighs, squat down, and walk 10 steps to the right, then 10 steps to the left.
Rest for about a minute between supersets. Once you've warmed up with your first superset, you can increase the weight on your kick-backs.
Superset: Barbell hip thrust and butt lift (bridge)
Chamberlain's favorite glute exercise is the hip thrust. "I hate them—but love them," she says. "They're super hard, but super effective." As Chamberlain explains, make sure you protect your hip flexors by placing a pad or mat under the barbell before you lift. Use a yoga mat or a towel if you don't have a bar pad—but use something.
As you sit in front of a bench with your legs straight out in front of you, roll the bar over your legs up to your hips, then bend your knees and place your feet on the floor. Keep your core tight, activate your glutes, and make sure your tailbone is neutral. Exhale while squeezing your glutes to lift the weight up.
Balance your upper back on the edge of the bench and keep your chin tucked toward your chest as you lift the weight up and down. Allow your upper body to rock back and forth with the exercise.
"I see a lot of people keep their back on the bench and sway their lower back on each rep," says Chamberlain. "That puts too much stress on the lower back, so you have to be careful."
For the second exercise, remain sitting on the ground, roll the bar off your legs, and perform 10 butt-lift reps. Make sure your spine stays neutral, and don't forget to breath as you move your hips up and down.
Chamberlain uses a heavy band for each exercise. "The band isn't necessary," she says, "but it helps activate the glutes." To do this exercise without the band, just push your knees out a bit as you bring your hips up with each rep to help activate the glutes.
Superset: Kettlebell curtsy lunge and dumbbell step-up
In a curtsy lunge, you step diagonally behind your front leg, almost as if you're curtsying. If you don't have access to a kettlebell, you can either use a dumbbell, or attach a V-handle to a cable machine, drop the pulley to the bottom of the stack and hold the handle with both hands.
"You'll feel this exercise in the standing leg," notes Chamberlain. "As you step back with your right foot, you'll feel it in your left glute."
Superset your curtsy lunge with dumbbell step-ups but, at least at first, skip the dumbbells and do them unweighted. Step up and squeeze your glutes at the top of every rep. "Use your arms to help you balance," Chamberlain says. "I put my arms up at the start, then drop them to my side as I step up."
Rest about 1 minute between sets.
Superset: Natural glute-ham raise with stability ball and ball leg curl
These exercises work the hamstrings, which help define and lift the glutes. Using a lat pull machine, kneel on the pad facing away from the machine, and tuck your heels under the knee pads. Place the stability ball in front of you with your fingertips on the ball.
Squeeze your glutes and engage your core as you roll the ball forward, letting the ball support your arms. It's tempting to use your arms to push off the ball, but that won't help you grow your hamstrings. Instead, focus on the mind-muscle connection and use the backs of your legs as you come back up.
"The thing about hamstrings is they are really hard to grow," explains Chamberlain. "I'd recommend a 6-8 rep range and going heavy, especially with hamstring curls."
Superset the raises with curls on the floor. "This one burns a lot!" says Chamberlain. "These leg curls may look easy, but you're going to be feeling them after about 3 reps."
Lay on your back with your arms down by your sides and place your feet on the ball. Engage your core and squeeze your glutes to lift your hips off the mat. Use your hamstrings to bring your heels in toward your glutes, squeezing as you roll the ball in. Try to keep your torso in the same spot throughout the movement.
When you finish your glute workout, be sure to cool down and stretch!