When you’re trying to build bigger, stronger glute muscles, simple bodyweight exercises like squats get real tempting. You can easily pump out a quick set in your room, at work, or in the kitchen waiting for your dinner to cook. But as good as that quick burn feels, it might not be doing much to get you the results you want.
“While squats and their variations are great for the glutes, we can’t forget other vital exercises that shape and lift,” said Jackie Vick, an NCSF-certified personal trainer at Gold’s Gym and Gold’s AMP coach. Will squats help you strengthen your glutes? Yes. Will only bodyweight squats with no weights? After a while, no.
“We are creatures of habit. Eventually, our habits become easy and so do our workout habits,” Jackie explained. Mixing up your exercises and your tempo is vital, she told POPSUGAR, to continue growing your glutes and pushing past muscle-building plateaus.
If you love squats, you can still do them pretty often, though perhaps not every day; rest days are important as well, giving your muscles time to recover, rebuild, and get bigger and stronger. But if squats are something you want to keep in your routine, Jackie said adding weight is essential. Here are a few weighted squat variations to get you started, plus a guide on how to choose the right weight. Remember to stretch out your glutes afterward, as well. That active recovery, Jackie said, helps to relax your muscles and give you a better performance, which leads to better results. Try these seven glute stretches to start.
You should also pay close attention to your form, making sure to lower until your thighs are parallel to the ground. And when you push back up to standing, Jackie said, remember to squeeze your glutes at the top. That isolates your glute muscles, she told POPSUGAR, which increases your muscle activation.
As far as other moves to mix into your routine, Jackie had a few suggestions. These are all “outstanding” moves that she says will supplement your sculpting routine:
- Split squat
- Lunge (weighted and bodyweight)
- Leg press
- Glute bridge
- Straight-leg kickback
Keep reading to see how to do each move. If you love squats, keep doing ’em – but there’s no need to force yourself to fit them in every day. Try one of these replacements instead to work your glutes in different ways. The results won’t disappoint.