This post in part inspired by new anthem of the summer, Miss Eaves’ Thunder Thighs.
As a teenager and in my early twenties, I was extremely self-conscious about having quite a bit of junk in my trunk. I was always focused on ways to minimize my thighs and butt, and constantly pinching and prodding myself. Fortunately, a combination of practice self-love/body positivity and the growing sociocultural acceptance–and even praise(!)–of the booty helped me get over that. Once I learned to love strength training and started squatting?!?! It was all over.
Now, glutes are one of my FAVORITE areas to train. Since I started working a desk job and sitting all day (as many of us do ), this has become even more important! Your glutes are the largest muscle group in your body (there are actually three glute muscles in your bum, just FYI). The glutes help hold you upright with nice posture, make it easier to lift heavy shit (#functional), and might make you feel like you’re hot stuff. Just saying.
One way that I love to work my lower body is through giant sets. Giant sets are great metabolic strength training routines where you perform 3-5 exercises in a row with little rest in between. Because rest is minimal, the workout is more metabolic in nature (read: burns more calories and feels more like cardio). This means that giant sets are great for fat loss AND for building muscle, since you’ll get a metabolic burn and a significant volume of reps in a relatively short amount of time.
This giant set workout is a fun one! It has an optional EMOM (every minute on the minute) finisher for a little extra burn if you’re up for it. It’s also very similar to the lower body workout in the first phase of my new and improved Best You Bootcamp–get the full details here!
Here’s the graphic breakdown. Keep scrolling for video demonstrations and detailed explanations of the moves.
Here’s how it goes down:
GOBLET SQUAT: Hold 1 heavy dumbbell (or kettlebell) at chest height. Make sure to keep shoulders back and down and try to avoid rounding forward too much. You can see in the video that I still struggle with this sometimes! Spread feet a little wider than hip width apart, toes turned out slightly. (NOTE: everyone is unique and you might need to play around with the width of your stance a bit to find what feels most comfortable for you) Keeping chest proud and upright, lower down as low as you can into a squat (again, this is different for everyone. DON’T try to go below parallel if you don’t feel comfortable). Elbows should be on the inside of the knees, ever so slightly pressing them out. Drive through heels to stand.
SINGLE LEG ROMANIAN DEADLIFT: Stand with weight in heel with a slight bend in the knee, glutes squeezed, pelvis slightly tucked, shoulders back and down. Balance on your right leg with a weight in your right hand. Hinge at hip, bracing core to bring back parallel to the ground (or as close as possible–STOP when you feel tension in your hamstrings – you might NOT get your back completely to parallel, depending upon your range of motion). Keep core tight and squeeze glutes as you come back to stand. To regress: place a hand on the wall for greater stability (as in video) OR place the weight in the opposite hand of the leg on which you are balancing.
HIP THRUSTS: Sit on your bum, just in front of a bench/box, with feet hip width apart and knees bent. Lean back against the bench so that your shoulder blades rest just on top of the bench. Drive through heels and engage glutes to bring your body into table top position, with knees bent at 90 degrees. Lower and repeat. If you feel strong enough, you can add a weight as shown in the video. For an even more advanced modification, add a barbell. Check out the master of the hip thrust, Bret Contreras, for more info on this.
BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUAT: Place one foot on box or step and move the other leg in front of you so that when you perform the lunge/squat, your front knee comes to 90 degrees. You might need to readjust a few times. Shoulders back and down, pelvis slightly tucked. Perform a lunge, bending both legs, aiming for 90 degrees on the front leg. Repeat. Weight is optional here. You can hold a weight goblet style or hold two dumbbells at your side.
Let me know if you try it!!
Sign up for the Best You Early Bird Waitlist! Signing up will not force you to buy, but you will get the option to buy the program a day early for a 25% discount!!