Multi-tasking doesn’t always make you more productive. That might be a surprise, but studies show humans aren’t very effective multi-taskers. However, multi-tasking can be beneficial to your workout. The more muscle groups you work at the same time, the more benefits you can cram into a single workout. One way to do that is to focus more on compound exercises when you train. Compound movements that work several muscle groups at the same time. The more muscle groups you hit, the better and the more calories you burn too.
Another approach is to get a glute workout when you do cardio. Many cardiovascular workouts do little to strengthen or tighten your bottom line. Cycling, walking, and even running don’t force your glutes to work hard. However, you can tweak running to make it more glute focused. For example, sprinting activates your glutes more than doing steady-state running or jogging and you can target your glutes even more by sprinting uphill. In fact, walking up a steep incline activates your glutes more than steady-state running on a level surface. If you’re ever resigned to exercising outdoors and want to get your glutes in on the action, find a hill and sprint up it. Walk down to recover and repeat. It’s a tough workout!
There are other ways you can activate your glutes more and get a cardiovascular workout. Here are some to consider:
Kettlebell swings are a dynamic exercise that increases your heart rate and target your core, lower body, and, yes, your glutes. Not convinced swinging a kettlebell is a good cardiovascular exercise? Researchers at Truman State University found that 12 minutes of intense kettlebell swings can improve aerobic capacity, a measure of aerobic fitness. Plus, swinging a kettlebell is low impact but not low intensity. You get many benefits when you swing a kettlebell. It’s aerobic, power, strength, and functional training combined into a single exercise. Be sure to gradually increase the weight of the kettlebell for progressive overload. A heavier resistance but not so heavy that it limits your range-of-motion will work your glutes the hardest.
Explosive movements activate your glutes and also get your heart rate up. One of the simplest and best exercises for cardiovascular benefits and a little booty action is the squat jump. To do one, stand with your feet just over shoulder-width apart. Descend into a squat until your thighs are almost parallel to the floor. Then jump straight up into the air. Shift the focus of the exercise away from your thighs and toward your glutes. Let your glutes power the exercise. Do ten in a row using good form. Rest for 20 seconds and then repeat until you’ve completed about 10 minutes of squat jumps. Once the exercise becomes easy, hold a light weight in your hand when you do squat jumps.
Stepping up onto a bench is another effective glute exercise that also raises your heart rate if you do it quickly enough. Step-ups are a plyometric exercise that also builds lower body power. In fact, a study by the American Council on Exercise found that step-ups are one of five good alternatives to squats for targeting the glutes. When we say glutes, we’re referring to the gluteus maximus, the largest muscle in the lower body and the muscle that gives the buttocks their shape. Plus, you also challenge your ability to balance when you step up and down off a bench. Start out with a low bench and gradually increase the height as you master the exercise. Once you’re able to step up on a taller bench and need even more stimulation, hold a dumbbell in each hand when you step up. This is a more advanced move, so don’t try it from the get-go.
Alternate Cardio Segments with Glute Exercises
When you’re short on time and need to get your heart rate up and target your glutes, do a circuit style workout where you alternate an exercise that boosts your heart with one that blasts your gluteus. Some of the best glute-focused exercise that isolate the glutes are hip thrusts, glute bridges, donkey kicks, and single-leg Romanian deadlifts. Why not alternate 30 seconds of cardio with each of these exercises and repeat a few times? Choose several different forms of cardio for the 30-second interval including jumping jacks, burpees, mountain climbers, squat jumps, and high knees. Switching cardio movements will keep it interesting!
The best thing about stair climbing is you can do it anywhere there’s a flight of stairs. It’s clear that climbing stairs if you do it, elevates your heart rate, but how well does it target your glutes? You’ll activate your glutes even more if you step up two stairs at a time. Stairclimbing shouldn’t be your only glute exercise, but it’s one to include in your fitness arsenal. When you’re on vacation or at work, just look for a few flights of stairs for a quick workout.
Walking Up a Steep Hill
As with stair climbing, this shouldn’t be the only exercise you do for your glutes as it doesn’t isolate them as much as step-ups, hip thrusts, glute bridges, single-leg deadlifts, or kettlebell swings. But it’s another way to work your glutes and get your heart rate up when you don’t have equipment available. If you enjoy walking, head for the hills and give the most powerful muscles in your body the extra stimulation they need to stay strong.
The Bottom Line
Yes, you can multi-task by working your glutes while you raise your heart rate. However, make sure you’re getting a total lower body workout by doing a variety of strength-building exercises, like squats, deadlifts, and lunges. Also, don’t forget to work your upper body! Keep your workouts balanced and make sure you’re supporting your workouts with good nutrition. Without the proper energy sources and building blocks, like amino acids from protein, you won’t get the results you’re looking for. Be consistent and patient too. It takes time to change your fitness level and the shape of your body.
Glutes to the Max. “Exclusive ACE research gets to the bottom of the most effective glutes exercises”
TheGluteGuy. “Kettlebell Swings: Go Heavier For Greater Glute And Hamstring Activation”
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