Butts, Butts, Butts.
We all love butts.
From IG Influencers to the songs on the radio, having a nice butt is what everybody is focusing on. But your butt is meant to do so much more than just look good in tight jeans.
Having strong glutes actually helps you prevent pain in your knees, hips, and low back!
Of course, training your entire body is important, but having a strong posterior chain is an essential part of any training program. Neglecting your posterior chain is just a recipe for disaster.
Before we get started on talking about how to build your cheeks, let’s see what they’re made of first.
Anatomy of Your Butt
The gluteus maximus is probably the most familiar name in this group of muscles for most people, but your butt is made of much more than just that. It’s important to know this because building the booty of your dreams means you need to train all of these muscles to some capacity.
Gluteus Maximus – This is the largest muscle in the butt and it sits on top of all of the other muscles. This is usually why most people will think this muscle is synonymous with the whole muscle group.
The main function of this muscle is to assist with hip extension (i.e. kicking your leg backwards), which is also something the hamstring assists with as well. It’s important to know this because when your legs are straight, your hamstrings will be the dominant muscle in a movement whereas when your knee is bent the gluteus maximus will take over (more on this later).
Gluteus Medius – This muscle sits above (as in slightly higher up the body) the gluteus maximus. This muscle only become visible when it’s well developed. The gluteus medius wraps around from the back to the sides of your hips.
A well developed gluteus medius creates the look of wider hips, which also makes your waist look slimmer in contrast (not always desirable from person to person). In other words, the gluteus maximus will give you a bigger butt from front to back while the medius will give you a bigger butt from side to side.
The main function of the gluteus medius is hip abduction and hip rotation (both internal and external). Hip abduction is when you move your legs apart while they’re straight and hip rotation is simply twisting your leg around in place.
Gluteus Minimus – This little muscle lies underneath the maximus and medius. As a result it’s never visible so it won’t contribute to muscle definition but building this will still build your butt up.
The main function of the gluteus minimus contributes to hip extension and abduction, which means training your gluteus maximus and medius will train your minimus simultaneously.
The Rest Of The Muscles – The other butt muscles lie underneath the group of glutes and contribute very little to muscle size or definition. However, they are crucial from the standpoint of functional strength as these muscles contribute to stabilization, balance , and general mobility – but we won’t talk about that today.
How To Build The Booty Of Your Dreams
Going from pancake to peach isn’t something that happens overnight but it’s always possible. I’ve personally helped several clients with their booty transformation. It starts by first understanding that in order to give your butt shape you need to build the muscle up. It’s the muscular shape that gives that sought-after round, perky, and lifted appearance.
It’s not easy to build glute muscle, that’s why training hard and intelligently is key. The good news is that exercises that target the glutes are generally highly energy demanding so they significantly raise your metabolism.
If you read through the anatomy part (it’s ok if you didn’t, science isn’t for everyone), you will have noticed that different movements activate different parts of the butt. For this reason, you will want to hit the glutes from all different angles using a bunch of different exercises.
Doing the same exercises over and over will only limit your booty gains. Especially if you’re only doing squats and lunges to accomplish this goal. Unfortunately, squats and lunges are a great way to hit the quads but for some people they don’t hit the glutes very hard. The reason being is that you need to achieve a certain level of depth and have great form to target the glutes more than your quads in the movement. Even with great form, some individuals have body-types that prevent their glutes from getting properly targeted.
So what are the best exercises that produce the most muscle for your booty?
Luckily for us, Dr. Bret Conteras – aka “The Glute Guy” – tested out dozens of exercises to find which promoted the most activation and muscle fiber recruitment for each glute muscle!
These aren’t the only exercises that will help build your glutes though! Here are a few honorable mentions that I incorporate with a lot of my glute building programs:
What Rep Range Builds The Best Booty?
If you really love butts and dive deeper into the research you’ll find that the glute muscles are made up of 60-68% slow twitch muscle fibers. These are fibers that are built for high-repetition/endurance activity.
However, there’s also an overwhelming amount of studies that show the glutes just don’t activate much in simple tasks such as walking or standing from a seated position. This shows support for heavy and explosive work to produce glute gains.
However – again – bodybuilders and bikini competitors have found tremendous success in building their butts by working with high rep ranges for their show preps.
All of these have some truth to them! I’ve found that a combination of low reps (2-6), medium reps (8-15), and high reps (20+) are most successful when building your butt and targeting all areas of your glutes.
Considering the exercises themselves is always best when deciding which rep range to use.
For instance: deadlifts, hip thrusts, and squats are typically best for heavy loads and low reps. Goblet squats, romanian deadlifts, and pull-throughs are best used with a moderate load and medium rep range. Hip thrusts, Quadruped Donkey Kicks, and Quadruped Hip Circles are best with body weight and high rep ranges.
**The most important thing to note is that you don’t want to go too heavy or too light with any one exercise. Making sure that you have proper the weight so that it is challenging but does not compromise form is always best**
Structuring Your Glute Workout
Here’s how to structure your workouts to get the most out of your glute training!
- Joint mobilization: This ensures the joints like the ankles, hips, and thoracic spine can move sufficiently to allow for proper movement during exercise.
- Core stability: This ensures that you are able to brace the spine and move at the hips to produce strong movement patterns.
- Glute Activation: This ensures that your glutes are turning on and firing properly so you will use them during your strength workout.
This is where you plug in your Heavy Weight-Low reps exercises mentioned above. You want to do these first because they are the most demanding movements and doing them later in the workout would limit your performance
This is where you plug in the medium and high rep exercises to really set your butt on fire!
Sample Booty Building Workout
Here’s an example workout I’ve drawn out for you:
World’s Greatest Stretch 5 each side
Bird Dogs 2 sets of 10
Frog Pumps 2 sets of 15
Hip Thrusts: 4 sets of 6
Goblet Squats 3 sets of 12
Romanian Deadlifts 3 sets of 10
KB Swings 2 sets of 20
Walking Lunges 2 sets of 30
Another common question I get asked is how often should you train glutes to see results and the answer is so truly individual. You can see results from training glutes twice a week or 5 times a week, it really depends on who you are and how you structure your workouts.
If you want to have the most Bodacious Butt around and want to take the “think” work out of it, you can set up a FREE strategy call here so we can help map out a solid plan for you!