Exercise Secrets to Build your Best Butt Ever
Exercise Secrets to Build your Best Butt Ever
It’s obviously no secret that everyone desires a firm, tone and breathtaking butt. Not only does it fill your jeans; it also gives you sex appeal, confidence and is essential to a great physique. Images of the best backsides overflow our senses throughout our social media channels and entertainment, so much so in fact that some individuals have become celebrities from their posteriors. This popularity has lead to a booty-revolution, where everyone is making the attempt to improve their butt and thighs, unfortunately the harsh reality is that many people have been misguided and are continuously going about it completely wrong. From believing in the myths and useless tips to the fat loss products, body wraps and tea cleanses on the market; you have set yourself up for failure.
So what is the best exercise for butt? Let’s first dispel some of the myths by revealing the truths.
Genetics Makes a Difference:
It an unfortunate truth that we all must accept: the width of our pelvis and hips, muscle fiber type, fat storage areas and the amount muscle we can naturally gain are primarily predetermined by our genetics. A study by the Department of Anatomy and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University found that “Genetic factors substantially influence inter-individual differences in body shape and configuration” Livshits, G, et al. when analyzing the genetic components that determine anthropomorphic predisposition. So whether you possess a flat backside, naturally muscular and firm backside or a large yet soft and fatty backside- is probably due to your heredity. Your hip width is dependent on the size of your ilium which is the topmost portion of your pelvis. A narrow lean waist coupled with a wide ilium will give you a larger-looking butt. A wide waist and narrow iluim will produce a smaller-looking butt. Whatever you happened to be blessed with, you can still develop and shape your glutes but be realistic with yourself, because you cannot change bone structure or shape fat.
There is No Such Thing as Spot Reduction:
For many individuals the problems they have with their butt and thighs is that they store an abundance of subcutaneous fat in those areas. This subcutaneous layer of fat can often cause skin dimpling in certain areas which many refer to as cellulite. Fat storage is primarily based upon diet, activity levels, gender, hormones as well as genetics. Females are predisposed to be fat storing machines, which is essential to child birth, therefore they can store fat in various areas throughout the body, particularly the hips, thighs and butt. That being said, many people are under the assumption that if they target these fat storing “problem areas” with isolated strength training exercises as well targeted cardio such as the stair master, then they will lose or shape fat in those areas. This cannot be farther from the truth. A study on the reduction of body fat from localized areas through strength training conducted by the Department of Kinesiology at University of Connecticut “found a generalized subcutaneous fat loss” was “independent of gender, supporting the notion that spot reduction does not occur as a result of resistance training.” Kostek, MA, et al. Body fat is reduced throughout the entire body as a unit or percentage through creating a caloric deficit. This calorie deficiency is created by both consuming less calories as well as burning more calories through physical activity. So simply put, you can do 500 leg lifts a day but this will not shape or remove fat from your butt and thighs until you have lowered your overall body fat percentage and changed your body composition.
Cardio Does Not BUILD:
Sure cardiovascular exercise is essential to your hearts health and metabolism but it will not play a significant role in generating the muscular development, strength and growth that is characterized by the best butts out there. Spending hours riding the elliptical or running on the treadmill will ultimately give you a flat and undesirable backside. Strength training exercises will be your bread and butter whenever you are looking to build your backside and create that firm, solid and round butt that many models, athletes, and celebrities’ alike share. Strength training will improve your body composition by increasing lean muscle mass which therefore increases your metabolic requirements leading to fat loss as well. This increase in metabolism is seen both immediately and long term in two separate ways. Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) is an immediate result of high intensity strength training, so the body will continue to burn a higher rate of calories following a workout. An increased caloric requirement is a result of lean muscle gain over time, therefore if your body requires more calories yet you continue to feed it the same amount then this will result in a caloric deficit, which will create fat loss as well.
Fancy Equipment and Unique Exercises are Not Always the Best:
The glutes are comprised of the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. The Gluteus maximus is one of the largest muscles in the body and functions to extend the upper leg such as in hip extension movements like coming up from a squat. The gluteus medius and minimus function to abduct or raise the leg away from the opposite leg as well as internally and externally rotate the leg. Although some of the fancy equipment you see in the gym that claims to target the glutes in differing ways has its place, the majority of the exercises that will get your glutes growing are in the form of bodyweight and free-weight exercises. Nearly all body weight and free weight exercises will incorporate balance as well as multiple planes of motion therefore activating and utilizing all of the gluteal muscles. The glutes will not grow using high repetition exercises, the most effective way to stimulate growth in your glutes is through compound multi-joint movements using moderate to heavy resistance with reps between 6-12 repetitions.
Of all the exercises for the posterior, the deadlift is king. It is a loaded hip extension exercise that activates nearly every muscle in the body and particularly the hamstrings, glutes and erector back muscles. The deadlift is one of the most important exercises for building muscle, increasing strength and athleticism.
Optimal starting position will be with your feet flat and hip width apart, shins at 90 degrees to the ground. Drive your butt back by flexing your hips and drawing your chest towards the bar. Grasp the bar just outside the legs. Your chest and shoulder blades should be directly over the bar with your back flat. This will ensure that you pull the bar in a straight line and generate maximum force. Pull the slack out of your back and engage your lats then drive through the heels and extend the hips forward keeping the bar close to your shins and thighs on the way up until fully upright.
The most obvious of all the exercises that will build your butt is the squat. This is a fundamental glute and quad exercise that should be a staple in all peoples programs. There are several differing variations of squats and all have their place but the back squat and front squat are the most popular and arguably the most effective for the development of the posterior. Contrary to previous belief, squatting below parallel is not “bad on the knees”, in fact, squatting low actually displaces the external load onto the glutes. The key indicator of how low you can squat will be your flexibility in your hamstrings and ankle, you will only want to squat just above the point in which your lumber spine (lower back) begins to flex under your hips. To sum it all up- if you want to maximize your booty development then you will squat low and often.
Stand with feet a slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, in a complete upright position from shoulders to ankles. Pull the shoulders back and down. Maintain a straight back throughout the entire movement. Begin the movement by inhaling and flexing the hips, slightly bringing them back. Keep sending hips backward as the knees begin to bend. While the butt starts to stick out, make sure the chest and shoulders stay upright, and the back stays straight. Keep the head facing forward with eyes straight.
The forward lunge is a great unilateral exercise that will challenge your balance, stability and activate all 3 major muscles of the glute. A research study by the American Council on Exercise found the forward lunge to be one of the most effective exercises for eliciting a high level of muscle activity in the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and hamstrings. Unlike the reverse lunge where the center of gravity in your stance stays consistent, the reverse lunge will greatly challenge ankle, knee and hip stability because the center of gravity shifts forward with the movement.
Stand upright with shoulders back and head forward. Step forward into the lunge; focus on a downward movement of your hips toward the floor. Avoid driving your hips forward. Continue lowering your body to a comfortable position or until your front thigh becomes parallel with the floor and your shinbone is in a slight forward lean. Keep the back straight. Firmly push off with the front leg to return to your upright, starting position.
Bulgarian Split Squats
Another unilateral exercise that challenges the stability of the hips, knees and ankles while also allowing further depth than a traditional lunge is the Bulgarian split squat. Without a doubt the Bulgarian split squat will make your glutes scream for mercy as it allows for maximal flexion and extension of the hip on a single leg at a time.
Start by placing a small Airex pad or folded towel in front of a standard weight bench. Standing in front of the pad, reach one leg back behind you and rest the top of your foot on the bench. Descend under control, driving your hips and knees down until your back knee lightly touches the pad, making sure to keep the torso upright.
The step up is a great exercise for the development of the glutes because it again loads a single leg and incorporates balance. The exercise itself starts in a leg flexed position allowing full hip extension and a maximal contraction from the glutes.
Start with the chest upright, head forward, and spine neutral. Place one foot onto the elevated surface of the step or box. Press through the heel of the foot placed on the box and drive through as if you’re pushing the box through the ground below you. Stand up into full extension of the hip and knee. Slowly begin the descent by reversing the movement and focus on controlling the movement down. A slow descent will maximize glute activation through an eccentric stretching of the glute and hamstrings.
The lateral lunge is a more advanced exercise working in the frontal plane. This movement combines abduction of the hip and flexion therefore it directly isolates the medial glute and the gluteus maximus.
Position your feet on the floor so they’re hip-width apart with your toes pointed directly forward. Lift your right leg and step to the side. Once your foot is fully planted, push your hips back and bend your right knee to lower into a lunge. Descend until your right thigh is about parallel to the floor, then extend your hips and knee to come back up. Return your right foot to the starting position and then perform the next repetition, this time stepping to the side with your left foot.
The glute-ham raise (GHR) is one of the most popular posterior chain exercises in the lifting world, and for good reason. The GHR effectively produces growth and strength gains in the glutes and hamstrings by working its two primary functions, knee flexion and hip extension, simultaneously.
Set up with the knees either directly on or slightly behind the pad, with the feet firmly on the platform and the back of the calves pressed lightly against the upper ankle hook. Begin with the torso perpendicular to the floor. Next, squeeze the hamstrings, glutes, and abs, and lower under control until the torso is parallel to the floor. From there, return to the starting position by pushing the toes into the foot and pull up with the hamstrings, while keeping the glutes contracted.
In the end, there are no secrets or fancy tricks to having a great butt. Now that you know the truths and some of the best exercises you can begin to incorporate them into your workout. With time, hard work and consistency you will build your best butt ever.