Tips For Building A Better Butt
You’ve probably heard all about surgical procedures for building a better butt in the media lately. While it is the easy way out, it’s not the most cost effective, it probably won’t last long, and you don’t have the satisfaction of knowing that you built your glutes all on your own. The good news: there’s a natural way to enhance the glutes and it can be done in or out of the gym. No equipment necessary. Although it does help.
So, let’s talk about the basics. Contrary to some beliefs, the buttocks is not one muscle. Often times, the buttocks are referred to as the gluteus maximus but that is only one of the three glute muscles. True, the gluteus maximus is the largest glute muscle, but it works in concert with two others: the gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus. This is important to know because different exercises will target various areas of the glute musculature. Not only that, but there are numerous ways to increase the gluteal muscles from lifting weights, plyometrics, and cardio. Yes! I said cardio.
You probably already know this one…lifting weights. Just like any other muscle or group of muscles, doing weight lifting exercises that target the glutes will help to increase the size of that group of muscles. Which means that performing glute exercises is a must on leg day(s). The glutes are easily targeted while working the legs, especially the hamstrings. For example, RDLs’ (Romanian deadlifts) primary mover is the hamstring group, however, the glutes are also recruited during this exercise. Other exercises such as squats and leg press are typically thought of as quadricep exercises, but with a slight variation in footing, the primary movers for these exercises will shift from quadriceps to hamstrings and glutes. When performing exercises intended for quadricep growth, the feet should be placed closer together (approximately 6-8 inches). To shift the focus to the hamstrings and/or glutes, simply move your feet further apart. This will better recruit the antagonist muscle (hamstrings, in this case). And don’t be afraid to go heavy. The goal is to successfully rep 8-12 repetitions with a bit of struggle for the last few reps. Training with 3-4 sets, 8-12 reps will induce muscle hypertrophy and help to increase the size of the glutes. There are various other exercises that were intended specifically for glute training: hip thrust, kickbacks, abduction machine, and reverse lunges are just a few of my favorites for glute enhancement, and they’re primary movers (gluteus- minimus, medium, maximus) differ.
Double Leg Days
Doubling up on leg days may be a good option to help increase glute size. There should be at least 1 day in between leg day training sessions to allow the muscles to recover before being torn apart again. But don’t go into these training days blind. You should make a plan first. Both days should not be the same. Exercises should vary from leg day training one to leg day training two. You may also want to think about varying the intensity of your training and/or the type of training. If you are someone who typically sticks to one mode of exercise (e.g. weight lifting), you may want to think about incorporating a different style of training, such as plyometrics. Plyometric exercises are characterized by jumping, explosive type movements geared toward increasing power output to increase strength and ballistic movements. Incorporating a different style of exercise will induce muscle confusion, which will ultimately “surprise” your muscles allowing for them to be torn down more rapidly causing a greater growth potential.
What? Yes, cardio may be used as a tool to elicit glute growth. Of course, it’s more than simply getting on the elliptical or going for a casual jog. In most cases, those will cause weight loss, not muscle hypertrophy. Using cardio as a tool for bigger glutes is often more strenuous on both the cardiac muscles and the skeletal muscles. Try getting on the stair climber (not stair stepper) and use various techniques while utilizing the equipment. Have you ever gone to the gym and seen people on the stair climber moving at a fast rate while leaning on the hand rails? It seems like a good idea at the time because the exercise is so fatiguing but in reality…it’s cheating. Don’t cheat yourself. It’s okay to turn down the work on the stair climber in order to do the exercise correctly and to target the glutes more proficiently. Leaning on the hand rails takes away a lot of the strain of the exercise. It turns a high intensity, high muscle building potential exercise into a plain old cardio exercise. The stair climber can be good for intervals and/or Fartlek training if utilized correctly. Glute kickbacks, lateral stair walking, and even stair jogging are all good activities for glute enhancement while on the stair climber. Another piece of cardio equipment that may be used for glute training is the treadmill. Like the stair climber, intervals can be performed on the treadmill incorporating lunges or lateral walking pop squats. But if you just feel like walking, increasing the treadmill grade to a higher level will recruit the hamstrings and glutes causing muscle hypertrophy. And just like the stair climber, holding the hand rails is cheating. Try increasing the grade and speed to a level that is able to be maintained without the use of the hand rails, but does challenge yourself.
So don’t get static in your glute training. There are many variations to glute exercises that will help you to maximize your gluteus growth, and varying those exercises throughout the week will further enhance glute hypertrophy.