Although numerous studies show that running and cycling benefit from a strong bum sharing power with the quads and hamstrings, these two activities ironically don’t build glute strength that well. Triathlon training does not do enough to counteract the long, daily hours of sitting in a car, at a desk, and in front of a TV that turn the three glute muscles (gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus) into a flabby, desensitized mess of inactive mush. Some call this condition “gluteal amnesia.” Being that your butt muscles are literally dead weight—a burden for athletes in power-to-weight sports like running and cycling—the most telling term is the most popular: “Dead Butt.”
Here are five butt-building exercises you can do at home without weights, including the jump squats favored by the newly minted Ironman World Championship bike record holder, Cam Wurf, and several recommendations from an American Council on Exercise (ACE) study from the University of Wisconsin. ACE’s #1 effective glute-buster by a wide margin—even over weighted exercises—is quadruped hip extensions.
Do as many reps of each exercise as you can to exhaustion, then move on to the next one. You’ll be sore the next day. Wait until you’re not sore to do them again. When you can do this set of exercises twice per week, your butt is in fine fighting form.
Facing upward with hands behind you on the ground, butt on floor and feet flat, tighten butt and thrust up putting body in a straight line. Hold five seconds, repeat. For a tougher workout, place shoulders on a bench.
Note: If you want to build your butt with heavy iron after you master the unweighted ones first, try deadlifts, thrusters, one-leg presses, cable kickbacks, and kettlebell swings.