It's no secret that working out your glutes is insanely important. And not just for the aesthetic of having a big booty, either. A study in 2015(1) took 40 random participants with chronic back pain, with one group performing lower back exercises, and the other doing lower back exercises along with gluteus maximus strengthening exercises. The group that strengthened their glutes reported a greater decrease in low back pain and an increase lumbar muscle strength.
So, to all my guys reading this who think training glutes if for girls, it's time to think again! Everyone who trains at my gym works on glutes, whether they like it, or not. One of the more common ways men train legs is by doing extremely heavy deadlifts and squats. But folks who train this way tend to not have the healthiest lower backs. One of my favorite machines (pictured below), the reverse hyperextension, is a fire way to train the glutes without injuring yourself.
I like to brag that we have this machine, while I've never seen one at Crunch, Planet Fitness, or LA Fitness. Louie Simmons invented this machine after fracturing his vertebrae. He refused to get surgery and came up with this instead! It's very similar to doing hyper extensions on the Roman Chair, but instead of your legs staying immobile, your trunk stays immobile while performing the movement.
A study in 2021(2) looked at electromyographical (EMG) differences between the Reverse Hyper, and normal hyper extension and during the flexion phase (when your spine is bent) and extension phase (when your spine is extended) found greater muscle activation is all areas except for the Biceps Femoris (located on the back of the leg) during the extension phase.
And that's not to discredit the hyperextension lift, either. I think both of these movements are excellent and should be done weekly. I should also say that the reverse hyper extension is not a beginner lift and should be done with the guidance of a professional, like me for example! ;)
Now that I've proven to you that this exercise is an important contender to your programming (if you're not training with me, that is), let's talk about how to implement it in your workouts.
As for how much weight to use, another study (3) looked at 20 people who did 2 sets of 1o reps at 50% of their body weight, 100%, and 150%. The two higher numbers seemed to have much better EMG readings than 50%, but there was not a big difference between the 100% and 150%.
From this, I'd suggest working up to 4 sets of 8-12 reps per week done at 100% body weight. By that, I mean starting with a reasonable weight at first, maybe 20-25% of your body weight, and working your way towards doing 100% of your body weight by increasing the weight in increments of 5 pounds every week or two.
And if you don't have access to one, consider training at my private facility once a week for the next month so we can implement it into your training! Contact us today to book your first session totally free.