But beyond just looking good, a powerful backside can help improve your posture and prevent injury, Eva Peña, founder, director, and trainer at Wellness + Studio told Insider.
“Glute training is something I’m passionate about,” she said. “People might come first for aesthetics, but they discover how they can improve their overall wellness.”
Exercises like squats, hip thrusts, deadlifts, and bird dogs can help you develop the glutes for a strong core and healthy spine along with an overall athletic physique, according to Peña
A strong butt supports your spine for better posture
Peña said her interest in glute training isn’t just about the glutes themselves, but all the surrounding musculoskeletal structures, especially the spine, that help us sit up straight and move properly.
“People think I want them to get a big booty, but it’s not about that, it’s about helping improve the foundation of your spine,” she said.
If these get imbalanced, causing one side or muscle group to work harder than the other, or are weak overall, it can create tension and stress on the rest of the body, including the back.
In contrast, consciously strengthening the glutes from every angle helps to make sure you have an even, supported base for your spine and the rest of the body to function as it was meant to, Peña said.
Healthy glutes help protect you from aches and injuries
Part of building up the glutes to support your spine, hips, and the rest of the body is to prevent any imbalances from turning into chronic issues like long-term aches and pains, or acute problems like sudden injuries, Peña said.
The healthier your backside is, the more strength you’ll have to support the demands of everyday life, and the less likely you’ll get hurt trying to carry groceries, or develop annoying back pain from sitting at your desk.
“They support the body and are responsible for so much of the movement that we do on a daily basis, when we walk, when we sit, and when we lift something,” she said.
Glute training can help you build better core muscles
While glute workouts are popular in their own right, they’re also part of another big exercise trend: core strengthening.
“The glute is the foundation of your spine. When people talk about core training, it’s not just about abs. Glutes are part of your core,” Peña said.
As such, training your glutes has the added bonus of tapping into the rest of your core so you can have stronger abs, too.
Working on your glutes helps to burn more calories
Exercise can help you build muscle and burn fat, but the latter only happens if you’re in a calorie deficit, or using less energy than you eat in the form of food.
There are plenty of reasons to exercise that have nothing to do with losing weight. However, if that’s a goal for you, glute workouts are a great option because they take up a lot of energy by using several big muscles at the same time.
“With these exercises, you have different muscle groups working at once,” she said. “The more muscles are working, the more calories you expend.”
Exercises like hip thrusts, squats and deadlifts are great for the glutes
When it comes to the best exercises for glute training, Peña said hip thrusts are one of the most effective for activating the right muscles, and offer many different variations to try.
She also recommends other weight training exercises like squats and deadlifts to build and strengthen the glute muscles.
If you don’t have a barbell, dumbbell, or other weights handy, you can try exercises like bird dogs, donkey kicks, or clamshells, using a resistance band to increase the challenge.
Or, you can simply do bodyweight squats, glute bridges, or deadlifts, and use a tempo to create more tension on the muscles, according to Peña. The key is to take your time while performing the moves.
“Go slow, squeeze and hold at the top. If you have that mind-muscle connection, you don’t need any equipment,” she said.
While it can be tough to find time to exercise on a busy schedule, there’s no reason to skip it when you can make major progress in just 30 minute workouts even without a gym, Peña said.
“It’s really important to find time to take care of yourself because you’re taking care of the body that’s helping you to achieve everything else,” she said.