Nobody can argue with the aesthetics of a sculpted butt. A toned tushy that makes an ordinary pair of jeans look expensive is a real asset. The obsession with a great-looking butt becomes more apparent when you look at some of the fitness videos trending on social media these days, from the flat ass challenge to tips and tricks for a bigger booty. But if you truly want a strong, well-defined back side, you need to turn to effective exercises to tone your glutes. We spoke to fitness expert Joel Eric Pinto, Co-founder of Knox, to understand the importance of training your glutes and how best you can do so.
GQ: Can you shed some light on the anatomy of the muscles that make up the glutes?
Joel Eric Pinto: ‘Glutes’ is the nickname given to the three sets of gluteal muscles, the largest muscle group of the body. The glutes originate at the pelvis and insert into the femur (thighbone). They are comprised of-
- Gluteus maximus
- Gluteus medius
- Gluteus minimus
The biggest of the three, the gluteus maximus is responsible for hip extension. The gluteus medius and minimus work together to initiate hip abduction. The gluteus medius runs underneath the gluteus maximus and the gluteus minimus is located in the front (or underneath) the gluteus medius. Together, the glutes help support your hips.
GQ: What are the benefits of having strong glutes? How does it aid one’s overall fitness?
JEP: The glutes are essential for posture and balance. Without them, we would be unable to stand upright. They are also responsible for the proper alignment of your pelvis, while also facilitating the subtle movements of your hips/leg joints. Therefore, strong and active glutes are essential to prevent injury in the hip, back and knee.
As the largest muscles of our body, the glutes are capable of generating immense force. They are particularly active anytime you are placing all your weight on one leg. They bear the brunt of the heavy loads of propulsion during walking, running and jumping. Therefore, anyone aiming to improve their athletic performance should aim at having strong and mobile glute muscles.
GQ: How often should one train glutes?
JEP: Training is always personal and the frequency of glute training is no exception. However, in the interest of providing a more general recommendation, you can train your glutes by performing 15 sets per week, preferably divided over 2-3 workouts. If you are someone who struggles to activate their glutes properly, consider doing 2-3 sets of activation exercises such as the glute bridge, clamshells or monster walks before every workout.
GQ: Do you have any tips for sore glutes after a strenuous workout?
JEP: A strenuous workout can often lead to Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). You feel this muscle pain/soreness a day or two after your workout. Despite being desirable, some can find DOMS to be rather uncomfortable. A few of the ways in which you can minimise this performance hindering effect are by doing dynamic stretching before workouts, avoiding escalating your workouts sharply, performing low intensity steady state cardio after exercising, having a cold shower a few hours after the gym, massaging tender points or using foam rollers, and setting your foundations of nutrition, hydration, sleep and stress management.