Any woman can develop a firmer butt by following this program. It’s not easy, but the results are worth the effort.
A nice butt tells the world that you are sexy and fit. Do you have sleek legs and a curvy bottom or are you saddled with thunder thighs? Do you have the kind of body you want? If you don’t like the way you look, do something about it – and start by training your glutes. We’ve chosen scientifically based glute exercises that will give you a sleek, athletic-looking bottom that will turn heads. You will get the added benefit of building powerful “posterior chain” muscles that will prevent knee and back injuries.
The benefits of strong, shapely glute muscles go way beyond looking good in a pair of designer jeans. Most women have weak glute muscles, which increases the risk of knee and back injuries. The glutes are the strongest muscle group in the body. They extend and rotate the hip during powerful movements such as jumping and sprinting. They also stabilize the spine and prevent stress on the knees.
Experts link weak glutes with an increased risk of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries – one of four large ligaments that provide stability in the knee joint. The ACL prevents excessive forward movement of the shinbone (tibia) across the thighbone (femur) and limits knee rotation. Injury to the ACL causes instability in the knee and often results in arthritis years later. Women have six times more ACL injuries than men. They also have relatively weak glute muscles compared to men and use the thigh muscles (quadriceps) more when jumping, changing directions rapidly (cutting) and squatting. Reduced use of the glutes increases stress on the knees, which can injure the ACL.
Women with weak and inactive glutes place more stress on the spine, because they use back muscles rather than hip muscles to generate power during sitting, twisting, walking, and throwing. British researchers found that poor control of the glutes during walking and running reduces stability in the lower spine (i.e., sacroiliac joint), which increases the risk of back pain. Building and learning to use the glute muscles creates more powerful movements and prevents back injuries.
Best Glute Exercises
Scientists have a tool called electromyography (EMG) that shows which exercises are best for toning and strengthening the muscles of the thighs, hips, abdomen, back, shoulders and chest. EMG measures the electrical activity of muscles. Scientists place electrodes – pads that pick up electrical signals – over a muscle belly. The harder muscles work, the more electricity is measured on the EMG. By placing the EMG electrodes on key muscle groups, they can tell which exercises are best for toning and strengthening a specific muscle. Based on EMG studies and measurements, we present proven exercises that isolate and build the gluteal muscles.
The gluteal muscles include the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus and tensor fasciae latae. The gluteus maximus straightens the leg (hip extension) and turns the thigh inward, while the other glute muscles move the leg outward (hip abduction) and rotate it outward (hip external rotation).
Most experts call the squat “the mother of all glute exercises.” An EMG study from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse found that squats, single-leg squats, quadruped hip extensions, step-ups, lunges and hip extensions on the four-way hip machine build the gluteus maximus equally well. Quadruped hip extensions, step-ups and lunges were best for building the hip abductors (e.g., gluteus medius). Quadruped hip extensions, step-ups and four-way hip extensions were the best multiple-joint exercises for building the hamstrings. No single exercise will develop all the glute and hamstring muscles optimally, so you must do several exercises to build these muscles.
Building a Firm Butt
Build a firm butt by stressing the glute muscles and minimizing the fat covering them. Lower body exercises shape and define your glutes, while cardio exercise and reduced-calorie diets cut fat and make your butt look sleek, defined, and fit.
Some women stay away from intense weight training, because they don’t want to look like a Russian shot-putter. Most women store fat on their thighs and butts. The glute exercises described in this post will help you tone the muscles and lose fat. Weight training by itself won’t help much if you don’t lose the fat covering the muscles. Muscles get stronger and better defined by making them contract under tension.
Build leg and butt muscles by doing unilateral and bilateral training exercises. Bilateral exercises work the muscles using two legs at a time, while unilateral training stresses one leg at a time. Combining one- and two-leg exercises will help build shapely, defined glute muscles.
Unilateral training helps isolate muscles better than training both sides of the body at once. This type of training shocks your muscles, which makes them adapt faster. Unilateral training improves muscle symmetry – the balance in muscle shape between the left and right sides of your body. This workout uses bilateral and unilateral training methods to better shape your butt for beach weather in the spring and summer.
Lose Fat With Cardio on Treadmill
Do high-intensity cardio exercise to lose fat rapidly. Walking or running on an inclined treadmill gives you the best of both worlds: you burn calories like a dynamo, while overloading and building calf, thigh, and butt muscles. Inclined treadmill exercise provides the same benefits as doing cardio and weight training at the same time.
Elevated treadmill exercise overloads your muscles, much like doing step-ups or squats in the weight room. The incline forces your legs to lift your bodyweight against gravity, which builds and strengthens lower body muscles. Graded treadmill walking develops the glutes, quadriceps, and hamstring muscles at the same time.
Inclined treadmill exercise burns a lot more calories than training on a level surface, but it’s also a lot harder. Build up gradually. If you’re a beginner, develop your fitness until you can walk briskly without stopping for 30 minutes on a level treadmill. Then it’s time to integrate incline treadmill exercise into your program. Set the treadmill programmer (or set it manually) so that you walk for 2 minutes at no elevation and 2 minutes with the treadmill set at a 5 percent grade. Gradually increase the amount of time you exercise with the treadmill elevated.
Your goal is 60 minutes of treadmill walking up a 10 percent grade at least three to six days per week. Exercise at approximately 70 percent of maximum effort, which is the fastest speed you can walk and still carry on a conversation. Train hard, because intense exercise burns more calories than exercising at an easy pace and revs up your metabolism for the rest of the day. Build rest days into your program so that you don’t overtrain.
What Can You Expect?
Do glute exercises three times per week, eat a healthy diet, walk at least 30 to 60 minutes on a graded treadmill three to six times per week and you will be well on your way to building better buns. For best effect, include exercises for the upper body and trunk in your program. Add them to your glute exercise program or do them on separate days. Don’t expect instant results. Women store most of their fat in their rear, so be persistent and patient.
It helps if you have genetics on your side. However, any woman can develop a firmer butt by following this program. It’s not easy, but the results are worth the effort.
Firm Butt Workout
Do this workout three times a week (e.g., Monday, Wednesday, Friday). Begin by doing 1 set of 10 repetitions for each exercise, resting 1 to 2 minutes between exercises. Build up to 3 sets of 10 repetitions for each exercise, resting 1 minute between sets. Cut back on the volume if you develop significant muscle or joint pains.
Dumbbell Front Squats – 3 sets of 10 repetitions
One-Leg Step-Ups – 3 sets of 10 repetitions
Single-Leg Squat With Rear Foot Support – 3 sets of 10 repetitions
Lunges – 3 sets of 10 repetitions
Quadruped Hip Extensions – 3 sets of 10 repetitions
Hip Extensions on Four-Way Hip Machine – 3 sets of 10 repetitions
Optional weight-training exercises: Do 1 to 3 sets of 10 repetitions of four to six upper body and torso exercises. (e.g., bench press, machine rows, lat pulls, arm curls, triceps pushdowns, curl-ups).
Cardio: Treadmill walking up a 5 to 10 percent grade, 30 to 60 minutes. Set the speed so that your exercise intensity is 70 percent of maximum effort (walk at the fastest pace you can carry on a conversation). Do cardio three to six days per week.
Squats (Dumbbell Front Squats). Hold a dumbbell in each hand at chest level, stand with your feet placed slightly more than shoulder-width apart, toes pointed out slightly, head neutral and back straight. Center your weight over your arches or slightly behind. Squat down, keeping your weight centered over your arches and actively flex the hips until your legs break parallel. During the movement, keep your back straight, shoulders back, chest out and let your thighs part to the side so that you are “squatting between your legs.” Push back up to the starting position, maximizing the use of the posterior hip and thigh muscles, maintaining a straight back and neutral head position. Hinge at the hip and not at the spine during the squat.
One-Leg Step-Ups. Stand facing a bench, with your right foot placed on the middle of the bench, right knee bent at 90 degrees and arms at your sides. Step up on the bench until your right leg is straight, maximizing the use of the hip extensors. Return to the starting position. Keep your hips stable, back straight, chest up, shoulders back, head neutral and hinge at the hip during the entire movement. Repeat with the opposite leg.
Single-Leg Squat with Rear Foot Support. Stand about 3 feet in front of a low bench or chair (with your back to the bench). Place the instep of your left foot on the bench and put most of your weight on your right leg (your left leg should be bent), with your hands at your sides. Squat on your right leg until your thigh is parallel with the floor. Keep your back straight, chest up, shoulders back and head neutral. Return to the starting position. As with the other glute exercises, the movement (hinge) should be at the hip and not at the back. Repeat with the opposite leg.
Lunges. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hands on your hips. Lunge forward with one leg, bending it until the thigh is parallel to the floor. The heel of the lead leg should stay on the ground. Do not shift your weight too far forward and let the knee move past the toes. Repeat the exercise using the other leg. Keep your back and head as straight (maintain a neutral spine) as possible and maintain control while performing the exercise.
Quadruped Hip Extensions. Kneel on your hands and knees, while maintaining a neutral spine. Lift and extend your right leg to the rear and squeeze your glute muscles. Hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds. Don’t round your back during this exercise. Repeat with the opposite leg. You can also do this exercise extending the opposite arm (e.g., extend right arm and left leg and vice versa).
Hip Extensions on Four-Way Hip Machine. Stand to the right side of the roller pad that is adjusted to waist level or slightly above. Lift your leg and place your thigh in the center of the pad. Push down on the pad by extending your thigh. Keep your chest up and back straight during the exercise. Return to the starting position. Do 10 reps with the right leg before switching to the left leg.
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