Booty building basics
The last few years have been defined aesthetically by the exponential increase of women trying to build round, thick booties. While this trend shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon, there are 3 important points to note before jumping into some of the best booty-building exercises.
1. Genetics will play a large role in the size and shape of your booty; you can only grow it so much before genetics will have you reaching your gains limit.
2. Don't be easily fooled by fitness models on social media promising to grow you a booty in six weeks. While you can definitely tighten yours up, truly building a butt will take time, just like every other muscle group.
3. No magic bullet (wah wah wah) and no magic exercises (double wah wah wah). The same exercises you hear from fitness experts over and over in relation to building a butt are what really work. No amount of air squats or walking lunges alone will get you what you truly desire.
If you want a butt that makes you proud to flaunt a bikini bottom or a cute pair of skinny jeans, then I challenge you to incorporate the following exercises into your workouts. I wish building a strong booty was as easy as increasing calorie intake in hopes that the extra fat would miraculously store itself back there... but junk in the trunk is exactly that... junk.
Start off by setting realistic goals for what you hope to accomplish. Genetics play a role in how much you will actually be able to develop your butt (i.e. those with large gluteal muscle mass have the potential to build a real moneymaker). But no matter the size you start with, toned butts are always in season.
Your next step is to find motivation. Pinterest and Instagram are full of fitness accounts that you can follow (search using keywords, hashtags, or by name). Or find a fit chick who inspires you - like Paige Hathaway or Michelle Lewin or Sarah Bowmar - my personal favs, and follow their accounts. Instagram's addition of stories, video collages, and IG TV makes it super easy and beneficial to follow your favorite fitness idols.
Not into social media? Good ol' fashioned magazines like Shape and Fitness will do the trick just fine. Cut out pictures that inspire you and post them to a dream "fit" board (or simply post them on the fridge). Not only will these give you motivation and a goal to shoot for, these posts will show up as part of your daily routine (ahem...constant reminders to get your ass to the gym).
Now for the hard part, working those glute muscles. As with any workout, for best results you will need to do a variety of exercises. What works best for one, won't necessarily work best for another. I suggest getting to know these basic exercises and working them into your weekly routine.
- Squats - WATCH VIDEO - This video shows you a variety of different squat types, with proper technique. (Remember, less than 1% of the human population looks as good as this fit chick, so focus less on her and more on the movements themselves).
- No gym? Substitute plyometric jump squats* or buy a weighted workout bar and place it on your shoulders for a more traditional barbell squat.*
- Start with low weight and do 3 sets, 8-12 repetitions per set.
- Lunges & Deadlifts - WATCH VIDEO - There are a variety of deadlifts and lunges you can do that vary greatly in complexity and intensity. Start easy and work your way into them.
- For beginners I would start with basic, walking lunges (hands on hips, knee straight over ankle) and lunge down and back the length of a basketball court. Ease into weighted lunges and curtsey lunges over time.
- Deadlifts are a little more advanced. You must practice proper form in order to reduce the strain on your back. For beginners, start with lighter dumbbells and practice straight-leg deadlifts. Work your way into more advanced (and heavier) deadlifts over time.
- Gluteal Kickbacks - WATCH VIDEO - One of my favorites and perfect for beginners and advanced ass kickers. Do these in a slow and controlled motion for maximum benefit. I like to do 4 sets, 10-12 repetitions per set.
- Step Ups - WATCH VIDEO - Another favorite because it suits all fitness levels. And as a bonus, you can easily do these at home. Select something steady you can use as your step and do a full kick-back* at the top (squeeze the glutes). For something more advanced, add in dumbbells for extra weight and/or a lunge at the bottom of the step. 3-4 sets, 10-12 repetitions per set.
- Stairstepper - For all you cardio queens out there, the stairstepper (or stairmill) is one of the best machines for working your butt. For advanced routines, trying skipping a step or adding in a glute kick-back.
Remember that form is more important than the amount of weights and/or reps you can do for each exercise. Take the time to learn the movement properly. This will prevent injury AND give you maximum benefit for the amount of work you are putting in. As you get more comfortable and build up muscle mass over time, increase the weight and or number of reps per set.
In a nutshell, for that rock-hard butt, pay attention to minimizing fat storage by refining your calorie intake. Focus on foods high in protein and low in fats and carbohydrates. A little booty work can go a long ways.
*If you are unfamiliar with the exercise, look it up on Youtube before beginning. There are thousands of how-to tutorials for these popular exercises!