Booty-Blaster: 5 Band-Based Exercises to Activate Glutes


Ever since my most recent marathon-training injury, I’ve been on a mission to get my sleepy glutes firing again on all cylinders. Studies link glute weakness to Achilles tendinitis, shinsplints, runner’s knee and iliotibial-band syndrome, along with a host of other overuse injuries (i.e. my medial tibial stress response), so a strong booty is key to not only keeping a steady core, but also the body’s entire kinetic chain from getting out of whack.

My PT prescribed a series of exercises using a Thera-Band, which got me race-ready. But during my post-marathon running hiatus I’ve been kicking it up a notch with the ReXist360 resistance training system, which is designed to intensify band-based workouts without any unwanted pressure added to the back, knees or ankle joints.

Read on for my five favorite butt-busting resistance exercises!

1. Clamshells

Place band above your knees. Lie on one side, prop your upper body up on one arm and stack your legs on top of one another with knees bent. Slowly lift top knee toward the ceiling, keeping feet together and body in alignment. Hold for a second at the top, squeezing glutes, before lowering in a controlled manner. Repeat 20 times before switching to other side.


2. Glute Bridges

Place band above your knees. Lie with back on the floor, and bring heels close enough to be able to touch them with your fingertips when arms are extended down by your sides. Place hands on hips, and open knees slightly so they press out against band to activate glutes. Driving your heels into the ground, lift hips toward the ceiling, and squeeze glutes before lowering. Repeat 20 times.


3. Monster Walks

Place band above your knees (or around ankles to make it tougher!). Step legs out until they’re hip- to shoulder-width apart. Sink butt into squat position, making sure that knees don’t extend beyond your toes — think about sitting further back and lowering your behind into the position to protect knees. Maintaining that wide-legged stance, slowly squat-walk across the room. After about 30 steps, turn around and repeat.

As you can see, I’ve still got some work to do on my ankle mobility to get down into the correct position!


4. Side Lifts

Place band around knees (or, again, ankles to make it more difficult). Use bottom arm to support head and top arm to steady yourself. Straighten and stack legs, lining up hips, knees and ankles. Keeping core engaged and top foot parallel to foot on floor, slowly lift top leg toward ceiling. Pause at the top of the movement, squeezing glutes before lowering. Repeat 20 times before switching to other side.


5. Squats

Place band above knees. Stand with feet parallel and hip-width apart. Slowly sink your butt back until legs are at a 90-degree angle (thighs are parallel to the ground). Again, take care to keep knees from caving in toward one another or extending beyond toes, and keep chest up as much as possible (I’m still working on my form, hence the mat under my heels). Hold for a second before driving back up through heels to come back to standing. Repeat 25 times.


Disclaimer: I’m not a PT or a doctor; these are simply some exercises I’ve found helpful for getting those glutes firing again! If you’ve got an injury or concern, though, be sure to check with your own health care provider first so you can make a plan of action together.

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