Just the other day, my trainer took one look at me, smiled and said, “Your butt looks so big in those shorts.”
Unable to control my emotions, I immediately filled up with excitement, jumped into the air and exclaimed, “Yippeee!”
It’s pretty funny that her comment would evoke such exuberance, considering that it may not seem like a compliment to some. However, for us gals whose backsides would be flat and square without the help of weight training and plyometrics, those were winning words coming from the Bombshell booty architect, Shannon Dey. I know you fit ladies can relate.
There are certainly many different ways to build up your backside. I’ve tried most of them over the last few years. Along the way, I have uncovered strategies to help me get more from my glute training and created an exercise or two in the process. Here are a few of my tips for BOOTY BUILDING:
Think buns, not thighs. To target your glutes, or any muscle for that matter, you must get your mind connected to the muscle. However, this is particularly important when performing compound exercises like squats, lunges and leg presses. These movements recruit your entire lower body, and it is up to you to direct the work into your glutes. Here are a few of my strategies for getting my head and my rear wired together:
- Prime your glutes for training by doing a warm-up that targets your backside. I like to walk on a 10% incline at 3.8-4.2 mph for 5-10 minutes before I begin training.
- While I am warming up, I think about engaging my glutes with every step, and I start visualizing my upcoming workout.
- Before I begin my working sets, I perform an exercise that isolates my glutes well, like a cable butt kickback.
- I put my hands on my glutes during exercises where my hands are free (i.e. leg press, hyper extensions, cable kickbacks, etc.) to keep me focused on my glutes.
Know the glute FORMula. When performing exercises like squats, lunges and leg presses, keep your weight in your heels, go below 90 degrees at the bottom of the rep (squats and presses), focus on squeezing your glutes and push through your heels with each rep. Make sure to keep your torso upright when performing lunges and squats.
TIP: To keep your weight in your heels, try lifting your toes off the ground. To further assist, place a five-pound plate under your toes (1 per foot) when performing squats.
Keep trying new exercises. It is easy to get comfortable in a training routine, but I have found that I make more progress when I am constantly challenging my muscles in new ways. Try mixing these into your glute training routine:
JB’s Reverse Abductor: Seeking a way to recruit more glutes into my outer thigh work, I created this exercise. You will feel this exercise in your upper glutes as well as your abductors. How to do it:
- Set up the abductor machine as you normally would to train your outer thighs. However, select a weight a bit heavier than what you normally would when training outer thighs.
- Face the back pad and grab onto it for support while you step onto the foot holders and position your knees between the pads.
- Let go of the seat back, position your torso upright and push your glutes back a bit so you can begin feeling tension in the muscle. I place my hands on my glutes to keep me focused on the area I am working. (See demonstration picture for starting position.)
- Then, push the weight out as far as you can comfortably go into a straddle-type position (see demonstration picture) and then slowly return to the starting position. Complete 15-20 reps for 4 sets.
Vertical Smith Machine Glute Press: I love this exercise, because I can really feel my glutes (and not my legs) working. When doing this exercise for the first time, I recommend having a spotter to help you rack and unrack the weight. Also, you should start light and slowly increase your weight, as this exercise can strain your lower back if you are not properly warmed up or using good form. I usually start with a 25-pound plate on each side and then do the majority of my sets with 55 pounds on each side. How to do it:
- Place a bench under the Smith machine.
- Lay on the bench and position your body so that your hips are parallel to the bar.
- Position the arches of your feet on the bar at hip width.
- Unrack the bar with the assistance of a spotter and bring your knees to your chest.
- Squeeze your glutes at the bottom of the rep and drive your heels to the ceiling to complete the rep. Complete 15-20 reps for 4 sets.
Feed your booty right. To make the most of your work in the gym, remember to feed those muscles post workout with protein and carbs. I keep a shaker cup with a scoop of Gaspari’s Myofusion Pro in my workout bag to drink (and savor) right after training.
A Winning Thought:
It’s easy to become so focused on making improvements, whether it’s to grow our glutes or something else, that we lose sight of what makes us great. This can dampen the spirit and squash our confidence. So, during the quest to our best, let’s account for and even celebrate our strengths DAILY. This will fill us with positive self-belief so that we can go win our days.