Let’s talk about butt stuff! No, that’s not what I meant, get your minds out of the gutter. We are talking about the glutes, everyone’s favorite muscle group! The gluteus maximus, or glute max, or plainly referred to as your butt, is the largest and heaviest muscle in the body. Due to its superficial positioning over the other two gluteal muscles (we’ll meet these guys next month), it makes up a large portion of the shape and appearance of each side of the hips.
In resistance training, the main goals for training the glutes are generally grouped into one of two categories: aesthetics and function. Everyone wants a good butt, and if you tell me you don’t care, you’re lying. There are entire workout programs and fitness trends dedicated to helping you make your glutes bigger and better looking. While aesthetics are important, we in the Crossfit community generally care more about performance (function and force production), although a nice caboose is a great side effect.
The gluteus maximus’s size allows it to generate a large amount of force. As the main extensor of the hip, it is used in pretty much every exercise we perform and has the ever important, and under-appreciated job, of allowing us to stand up unlike many of our primate cousins. The glute max also laterally rotates the thigh at the hip (turns your feet and knees out), and abducts the thigh at the hip (lifts your leg laterally away from the body).
To train the glutes you will want to perform squats, deadlifts, box step ups, running, and incorporate isolation accessory exercises like the glute bridge, banded walks, donkey kicks, good mornings, etc. The list is long as I mentioned before that we use the glutes for pretty much everything in some way or another. If you are looking for a great burner to test your glute strength, try doing 2 sets of 5 reps of glute bridges with a 30 second hold at the top without any rest in between the reps, and only 30 seconds of rest between sets.