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How can you tone your glutes with kettlebells? Luckily, there are a few really good kettlebell exercises that target the glutes really well and are great for growth, toning and strength gains.
The best kettlebell glute exercises are:
Let’s look at those exercises in detail, how to perform them and how often you have to do them below.
Here are the six best exercises that target the glutes and can help you get the physique you want. Most of the exercises target the glutes the hardest but also involve many other muscles. The glutes almost always work together with the hamstrings so you’ll usually train them at the same time with the same exercise. However, the rest of the legs, back and core is often also involved.
You can find some tips to focus the exercises especially on the glutes in the descriptions. However, training all the other surrounding muscles is important as well for athletic performance, injury prevention and all round strength and health.
The undisputed best kettlebell exercise for a full body workout is the kettlebell swing. It is a great combination of a lower body and back exercise. Because so many different bigger and smaller muscles are used for the movement, it’s also a great cardiovascular movement since using so many muscles will get the heart pumping for sure.
It’s called the swing because you basically swing the kettlebell from under you body between your legs to about shoulder height.
It’s a pretty easy movement but you do have to know how to hip hinge properly. This is a movement you should learn anyways because it’s very important to many other movements and lifting things safely in daily life. Once you know how to do it (if you can squat or deadlift properly, you know how to do it), you won’t forget anytime soon. If you don’t know how to do the hip hinge, starting with the squat or deadlift will be a bit easier.
That hip hinge is going to be a recurring theme since that is what targets the glutes hard. The glutes are some of the hardest hit muscles on the kettlebell swing and if you go for high repetition sets (15+) you’ll start to feel the burn
The vast majority of the power for the swing comes from your hips. The arms stay straight throughout the movement. The shoulders will do a little bit but it’s not an arm exercise.
One of the most well-known exercises is the deadlift. It’s relatively simple although it can be a bit difficult to get the technique exactly right. The deadlift is a great exercise for the lower body, especially the glutes and hamstrings but also the whole back (lower and upper).
Good form is especially important on the deadlift. Getting the hip hinge right while keeping the back and neck in a neutral position is a must. Don’t worry about starting with a lighter weight first until you feel comfortable. The deadlift is on the the exercises that people are able to lift the heaviest weights, kettlebells or not so once you get it right, it’s a great strength builder.
Driving through the hips on top of the rep and squeezing the glutes hard to do this is what really activates the glutes.
The classic leg exercise is the squat. And for good reason, it’s just an amazing exercise for the whole lower body. The hamstrings, quads and glutes all get a really hard workout. At the same time the core, and back is also hit pretty hard.
The squat can be done a few different ways. With one or two kettlebell, one or two hands and the kettlebell(s) in different positions.
To make sure you properly activate the glutes, make sure to push through your heels. If you push with the ball of the foot, you’re activating the quadriceps more.
After some full body and general exercises for the legs, here is one that really focusses on the hamstrings and glutes. The good morning is an exercise that is often forgotten but it’s actually a great exercise if done right. It also hits the lower back quite hard so keep that in mind.
After squats, lunges are a great exercise. The biggest difference with the squat is that you use one leg at a time for the force production. This means you use different muscles for balancing and can prevent large muscle imbalances.
Lunges can also be done in different ways to target different muscles slightly differently. The standard lunge is a good place to start but after a while you can switch it up and do reverse or side lunges.
Lunges usually put a larger focus on the quadriceps but the glutes and hamstrings are also used. To put greater stress on the glutes. Walking lunges that put the front leg out on an angle are really going to blast the glutes very hard.
All the exercises above are full body exercises. If you want something that doesn’t really target the rest of the body too much since your workout routine already wore you out, a glute bridge is a good exercise that targets the glutes without hitting too much of the rest of the body.
If the kettlebell is uncomfortable to hold on the hips, you can put a towel between the kettlebell and your hips. Especially on heavier weights, that will make it more comfortable. Also, if you need a bigger challenge but don’t have a heavier kettlebell, using one leg to push and keeping the other straight is a good option.
A kettlebell can be plenty to grow bigger, stronger muscles anywhere as long as you use the right exercises. To get muscles to grow, you need to provide enough training volume at a proper resistance level. The training volume is quite easy to do with kettlebells.
Suggested: How to optimize your kettlebell workouts
They are small so you can have one at home and quickly bang out a 15 minute workout that will produce quite a burn in the glutes. For strength a little lower training volume and higher resistance is the way to go. In the beginning however, you’ll attain both goals no matter what you do, as long as it’s challenging.
The resistance level depends on the weight of the kettlebell. It’s a good idea to have a few different weights of kettlebells available. How heavy exactly obviously depends on you. For some movements like squats, swings and deadlifts, a heavy kettlebell is more appropriate. For things like curls and lateral raises, lighter weights are better. Or another way to look at it; for exercises with two hands; use a heavy kettlebell, for exercises with one hand, use a lighter one.
What heavy and light means really depends on the person. For women 6-8 kg is a good starting point for two handed exercises. For men a starting point of 12-14 kg is good. The lighter kettlebell should be about 60% of the heavier weight. Of course when training, you will get stronger after a while. Be prepared to upgrade to a heavier weight kettlebell after a while.
However, the glutes are the strongest muscles in the body. They need a good bit of resistance to be trained properly. In the beginning, the weights mentioned above might be enough but pretty soon, you might have to go to heavier weights.
If you are going for size and toning, doing more repetitions per set is the way to go. Use a weight you can do for 20-25 repetitions. After 15 reps you’ll feel the glutes (and other muscles) to start burning. Push through that burning, while keeping good form for another 10 reps. That is a great way to get good glute growth. It’ll be uncomfortable but it does work well.
To build bigger, stronger buttocks, pick 2-3 exercises per workout. Then do 3 sets for 20-30 repetitions per set. Keep doing that for at least 4-6 weeks and you will see significant results.