To get a great-looking set of legs and round, firm glutes, IFBB pro and Bodybuilding.com athlete Christie Bailey says they should be trained on the same day—in a very specific way.
And getting your butt-training dialed in will make everything else you do for your lower body stronger, safer, and more effective! Bailey is here to share some of her top-notch rules for leg-and-glute day, as well as her favorite workout that helps get her stage-ready.
Rule 1: Don't forget to warm up your glutes!
Too many people are quick to get into the gym and rush right through their warm-up, moving directly to heavier lifting. But if you've been sitting on your glutes all day—and you probably have been— you need to warm those babies up!
"Always be sure to start a heavy leg-and-glute day by warming up, foam rolling, and doing some mobility work," Bailey says. This warm-up will prep your body for what's to come while also helping to prevent injuries.
Not sure where to start? Take a page from Bailey's book. "For mobility work, I like doing side-to-side hip swings to both the front and back along with the side-to-side movement patterns, glute bridges, and knee hugs," she says. Add some foam rolling and 5-10 minutes on the glute-hammering stair stepper, and she's ready to go.
Rule 2: Hit the glutes hard, and hit them first
Think squats should always lead on leg day? Bailey says you should reconsider. Your glutes are the largest, strongest muscle group on your lower body, and giving them a challenge right off the bat sets the perfect tone for everything else to come. In fact, Bailey starts her lower-body workout with three glute-focused moves!
"You'll want to place heavier, glute-focused exercises at the beginning of your workouts to ensure you have the greatest amount of energy and the best form," Christie says.
Performing these glute-focused moves first also engages the mind-muscle connection. As you go through your other leg-focused movements, you'll likely be more in tune with your glutes. This encourages better lifting form, and will also make you stronger at foundational lower-body movements like squats and lunges, whether you do them on this day or a separate day.
Warning: After trying this approach for the first time, you'll also be scared to death of staircases for a few days afterward!
Rule 3: Use Resistance Bands During Big Lifts
Dumbbells and barbells aren't the only pieces of equipment you'll want to bring into your lower-body workout routine. Easy-to-transport bands are also central to Bailey's approach.
"Use resistance bands either above or below your knees for greater glute activation during heavy lifts," she says. "I like to use them on kneeling squats, good mornings, and hip thrusts. By using these bands as you execute the movement, you'll force your glutes to generate more tension than you'd get with plates or dumbbells alone.
Not sure what to buy? Elastic mini bands work well but don't always last. Bailey uses them, but for big lifts, she favors a brand built developed for powerlifters: the Mark Bell Slingshot resistance band. "It doesn't stretch out like some other brands do," she says.
Rule 4: Finish with a band-and-weight burnout
"I love pairing a glute-focused band exercise with a weighted exercise for a really great burnout at the end of my workout," Bailey explains.
One of her favorite banded moves is a lateral-band walk, which she'll then do with another weighted exercise utilizing a higher rep range.
"Band work makes the booty work!" Christie says.
If you're up for a challenge, try two bands—but follow Christie's form cues.
"I typically see girls using a second band around their ankles, but try putting it around your feet instead; keep your toes pointed outward, and make sure your knees don't fold inward" she says. This technique will hurt, but when you see the results it brings, it'll be well worth it.