When working with clients who are new to personal training, I often start our first "leg day" addressing the most common issue I come across when beginners hire me to transform their physique - The glute/ quad issue. Perhaps this has happened to you too, you start any resistance program that includes squats, lunges, single leg squats etc and your quads/ thighs are absolutely on fire but nothing else seems to be fired up. We all want bigger stronger glutes but not everyone wants big quads. If you can relate then you are quad dominant and need to focus on posterior chain exercises. Any exercises that can access the quad are off limits for the first few weeks until we can swap the quads for the glutes as the dominant muscle group.
So what does this look like?
Floor exercises such as donkey kicks are a great starting point. Donkey kicks rely on your own body weight and movement patterns to fire up the glutes and start sending a signal to the glutes to get moving and start taking the workload away from the quads.
Kickbacks are typically next on the list as they are a similar movement pattern to donkey kicks but with the added bonus of a level of resistance of our choosing. Next is typically an RDL which is a hip hinge movement pattern but again does not require the quads to do any of the work. This is definitely the most technically difficult of the beginner glute exercises but it is an amazing exercise that uses all of the posterior chain muscles.
The last exercise is the hip thrust which is in my opinion the best glute exercise on the market. But this can begin to bring in the quads if the resistance is too high so lighter is better here. And even if the weight is not very heavy the glutes will get tired and your intelligent brain will incorporate the quads to help you out so as soon as the quads are even beginning to burn the set is over.
This will continue until we have enough glute development and they are now the dominant muscle group. At this point we incorporate squats, single legs squats, lunges, box squats, heavy hip thrusts and any other relevant exercise that will help grow and develop your leg and glute muscles.