Believe it or not, butts are meant to do much more than just look amazing in tight jeans—giving your glutes the TLC they deserve helps strengthen and prevent pain in our hips, low back, and knees. And when it comes to building a strong backside, we don’t know anyone who knows more than Bret Contreras, PhD, CSCS—seriously, people call him the “Glute Guy.”
Of course, training our entire bodies is important, but Contreras believes that a strong posterior chain is an essential part of any strength-training program. That’s why he’s created an entire strength and conditioning program centered around—yep, you guessed it—the glutes.
To get started strengthening those cheeks, check out Contreras’s four favorite butt-building exercises below. And if you’re really chasing booty gains? Contreras says practicing these moves three times a week for two months will show serious results.
While watching a UFC fight in 2006, Contreras noticed one of the fighters had an ineffective hip bump, which he thought was due to weak glutes. So he went into his garage and toyed around with the idea of putting his back against a bench, his feet on the floor, and a weighted barbell on his lap, thrusting his hips to full extension. This exercise allowed for a full range of motion and the ability to load weight—the perfect glute-focused exercise.
To perform a barbell hip thrust, you need a barbell, weights, and a bench. Start out seated in front of the bench and place the barbell on your lap. With your feet planted on the ground and your back and lats on the bench, thrust your hips up, squeezing your glutes. Pause for a few seconds at the top, then lower your hips to the starting point.