What do donkey kicks, lunges, and single-leg deadlifts all have in common? They work your peach. Despite how easy some YouTube videos make these exercises look, working the glutes is not easy. And according to certified personal trainers, you might be making some glute exercise mistakes.
“The body naturally will attempt to perform movements at any cost, including compensations. It is our duty as the fitness professionals to improve and correct these habits,” says Shayra Brown, NASM CPT, certified personal trainer at Blink Fitness in New York.
Honore and Brown call out the common mistakes people make when working their glutes. Follow their advice and you’ll be feeling the booty burn in no time.
Common glute exercise mistakes to avoid
1. Letting your lower back cave
Donkey kicks are a real glute burner, but only if you’re engaging them right. “When squeezing the glutes and extending a leg back, people often let their lower back cave which puts pressure on the lumbar spine,” says Honore. Caving the spine will not only hurt your back, but ignores the glutes. To correct this, Honore suggests keeping your core engaged and hips squared. That way, you’ll target the glutes for a more effective work out.
2. Not engaging your core
Single-leg squats and deadlifts are exercises that help your peach grow, but can throw you off balance and mess with your form. “The engagement of the core is essential here to maintain a neutral spine as one performs the movement,” says Brown. For single-leg squats and deadlifts, Brown recommends driving the foot into the ground and starting off with your dominate leg first.
3. Bringing the front knee past your toe
According to Honore, one of the biggest mistakes people make when performing lunges is that they let their front knee come too far past their front toes. “This takes the work out of the glutes and put more work in the quads as well as pressure on the knee,” he says. “Also, the front knee and toes shouldn’t be turned inward or rotated internally.” To make sure your peach is getting worked, keep your weight in your front heel when lunging and move straight down and up through the exercise.
4. Rotating your hips
When performing fire hydrants, people tend to let their hips rotate to the side. Doing this takes the work out of the glutes. “To correct this, keep your hips square with your shoulder in that tabletop position,” says Honore.
Here’s how to do a proper squat:
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