One-Legged Glute Deadlifts - Do Your Thighs Always Take Over When Training Glutes? Not With THIS Workout By Nick Nilsson
If you have trouble feeling your glutes working in any of the lower body exercises you do, THIS is an exercise you're going to get a lot out of...it targets the glutes with minimal thigh involvement and it could be your key to a WAY better butt!
This one looks suspiciously like a Bulgarian Split Squat but without the squatting.
The Bulgarian Split Squat exercise is done with your back leg up on a bench then you come down in the lunge position (aka split squat).
With THIS new exercise, however, you're going to basically be doing a one-legged stiff-legged deadlift with your back leg up on the bench.
I was actually quite amazed at how strongly this one targeted the glutes...the best part is, it hits the glutes without involving knee flexion to any substantial degree.
What THIS means is that you can build bigger glutes (and/or maintain glute size) when you have knee problems or injuries that prevent you from squatting or lunging.
Now you have no excuses...unless you've got back problems, too, then you're totally @$ed, of course (just kidding :)
So here's what the exercise looks like...you'll need two dumbells and a bench for this one. Set the dumbells in front of the bench (I'm using a couple of 85 lb dumbells - start lighter than this when you try these the first time).
Now set your ENTIRE SHIN on the top of the bench. You'll need this for some degree of stability. We're not trying to make this exercise unstable, per se. What we're trying to do is get your body in the right position to force the glutes to activate.
You may need to slide the dumbells forward a bit. Set your front foot in between the two dumbells, get into position on the bench (like you were going to do that split squat movement). Both knees should be bent but held in that same position throughout the exercise.
Bend forward and grab the dumbells. Keep your core tight.
Now pick the dumbells up off the floor. The pressure should be on the heel of your front foot and your glute should be feeling it. Your glute will not only be providing the hip extension that gets you to the upright position, it's also contracting isometrically to maintain that bent-knee split position - double whammy!
Come all the up until your torso is vertical then lower the dumbells slowly back down and set them on the ground. Repeat the movement, lifting the dumbells off the ground - setting them down allows you to reset your body position and keep your lower back well stabilized.
Do your reps on one leg then switch legs. I prefer lower reps with this exercise since the glutes are powerful muscles and need to be hit hard (5 to 7 reps per set is good)
The first time you do it, don't go too heavy though, as you will want to bring your lower back up to speed before pushing to use heavier weight.
It's important to remember, you're setting the dumbells completely on the floor inbetween reps. Breathe out on the way up and keep your core tight. Try to keep an arch in your lower back throughout the movement as well.
Once you've done your reps on one leg, switch to the other leg.
This exercise increases lower back and glute involvement significantly. You're maintaining a bend in the front leg and only moving at the hip, which basically utilizes the glutes from the OTHER direction (known as hip extension). Instead of pushing down against something, you're using the glutes to pull your upper body up.
Because there is no active knee flexion, people with knee issues don't experience the same issues as with lunging or squatting exercises but still get excellent glute, hamstring and lower back work.
So if a better butt (or a bigger butt!) is something you've always wanted but found your thighs always took over the exercises you were doing for that purpose, THIS is an exercise you'll want to try out.