If you're a fan of glute training, you're probably familiar with a few common exercises like donkey kicks or fire hydrants. But if your booty workouts don't include a handful of hip extension moves, you're missing out on major glute gains.
Your hips are among the strongest muscles in your lower body, and they're responsible for helping power your lower body when you walk, run or squat. And when you strengthen your hips, you'll also lift your glutes and make them seriously strong.
"I love hip extension exercises, as they are the best way to engage, developed and shake your glutes as well as increase overall strength to your lower and upper body compound movements," Carolina Araujo, New York-based certified personal trainer, tells LIVESTRONG.com.
1. Romanian Deadlift With Barbell
- Add weight plates to your barbell and position it on the floor in front of you.
- Step up to the bar, shins almost against it, feet planted firmly hip-width apart. Keep your spine straight, chest up and shoulders back and down.
- Hinge from the hips and soften your knees as your hips sink low enough to let you grasp the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart.
- Engage all the muscles of your core to maintain this position as you push your feet into the floor, as if you were trying to push the floor away from you, and lift the bar.
- Lift your chest and engage your lats to stabilize the bar in front of your hips.
- Pushing your hips as far back as possible, bend your knees slightly and lower the weight right below knee height.
2. Barbell Good Morning
- Stand tall with a barbell across your shoulders, feet hip-width apart.
- Hold the barbell in place with your hands just outside of your shoulders.
- Push your glutes back and hinge at the hips, leaning your torso forward with a slight bend in your knees.
- Simultaneously lean your torso forward until your upper body is almost parallel with the ground.
- Push your hips forward and reverse the motion to return to standing.
While you can perform this exercise with a kettlebell or dumbbell, Araujo recommends you go with a barbell, as the bar makes it easier to maintain good shoulder, head and neck alignment.
3. Barbell Hip Thrust
- Sit on the ground with the bottom of your shoulder blades on the edge of an exercise bench or box.
- Extend your legs out in front of you and roll a barbell up over your hips, placing a cushion underneath the bar for comfort if needed.
- Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground. This is the starting position.
- Keeping your neck long, press into your heels and raise your hips off the ground, lifting the barbell up. As you bridge up, your neck and shoulders should move onto the bench.
- Pause here for a moment, then lower back down.
If you don't have a barbell handy, you can easily swap for a dumbbell or kettlebell while you do your hip thrusts, Araujo says.
4. Kettlebell Swing
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, gripping a kettlebell on the ground between your feet.
- Keeping your back flat, shoot your hips back and pull the weight between your legs and under your hips.
- On an exhale, push your hips forward and straighten your legs, swinging the bell up to chest height with control.
- Using the bell's momentum, swing the weight back between your legs and under your hips as you simultaneously sink into your hips and bend your knees.
- Push your hips forward again to go right into the next swing.
5. Dumbbell Deadlift
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart holding a dumbbell in each hand in front of your thighs, palms facing your body.
- Hinge from the hips, softening your knees as your hips sink enough to lower the weights toward the middle of your shins.
- Check your posture: Your spine should be straight and long, chest up and open, shoulders back.
- Engage all the muscles of your core to maintain this position as you push your feet into the floor, as if you were trying to push the floor away from you using your glutes and hamstrings, to pull the weights up and return to standing.
- Reverse the motion to lower the weights with control and repeat.
6. Single-Leg Dumbbell Deadlift
- Stand with a dumbbell in your right hand, feet planted about hip-width apart.
- Engage your core as you raise your left leg behind you, hip hinging with your right leg and bending your right knee.
- At the same time, lower the dumbbell toward the ground, keeping the weight relatively close to your body and your back flat.
- Once your torso is parallel to the ground, push your hips forward and reverse the motion to return to standing.
- Perform all your reps, then switch sides.