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Wellness Wednesday: Building a Stronger Backside

Here is a list of five great butt builders:

  1. One cheese coney
  2. A slice of Cheesecake
  3. A stuffed crust meat lovers pizza
  4. Five plates of Indian food from the buffet
  5. A pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.

Oh, I’m sorry. You wanted muscle, not fat? My mistake.

Strong glutes are so important for us to have when we are active. It's also important to ensure they are functioning correctly to provide stability and safety at the hip. Without glute activation, really the only tool you have for lifting and moving is your back. Not good.

To help strengthen your glutes and give you a little muscle on your backside, here are a handful of my favorite exercises:

Supine Hip Lift or Glute Bridge. Very easy to start. Lying on your back, place your feet on the ground around a foot from your butt. Lift your hips off the ground by engaging your glutes. Try 2 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions to start. (Video:

Bird Dog. Great for activating the torso and spine-stabilizing muscles. While on all fours, extend one leg and press that heel towards the wall behind you. Hold that pose, then take your opposite arm off the ground toward the wall in front of you without losing your torso control. Try 3 sets of 3 reps each side with a 3-second hold for each rep. (Video:

Kettlebell Swing. Great smooth, full-body motion - just be sure to learn proper from an expert (preferably at Swing This Kettlebell in Covington) Try 3-5 sets of 10 to 20 reps. (Video of what NOT to do:

Step Ups. Not just steps, but using your glutes as emphasis. Place one foot on a step. Press your whole foot down while paying attention to pressing your heel down, not the ball of your foot. Try 2 sets 15 to 20 on each side to feel your butt engage. Once you learn this feeling of glute activation, make sure you engage it anytime you are going up a hill or steps. You’ll do wonders for your knees by taking pressure off of them.   

Side Lying External Rotation/“Clamshell”. The hip is a powerful joint. It has many planes of movement much like your shoulder. You have to train them all. External rotation really helps the glutes activate well. Try 2-3 sets of 10 each side. (Video:

These exercises will help you activate your glutes and build strength for injury prevention and proper movement (and help you use up some fat stores as well!).

- Joe Daniels is the owner of SwingThis Kettlebell and Strength Studio in Latonia. Questions for Joe? E-mail him at [email protected].

Bored with bodybuilding after reaching the national level in 2009, Joe Daniels opened SwingThis Kettlebell and Strength. From becoming an IKFF Coach operating in an 800 sq. ft. studio, the benefits of a minimal yet highly effective approach to fitness has grown to a 5,500 sq. ft. functional training facility within four years. 

Focusing on injury prevention, competitive kettlebell sport training and stress relief, SwingThis Kettlebell and Strength has hosted seminars and trained hands-on with some of the top athletes and coaches of the kettlebell world. Their philosophy has remained the same: You have to enjoy your training at all stages. Live your life. Your training should make your life outside that time more enjoyable and fulfilling.

Photo: Joe Daniels (provided)