Yep, this post is going to be about your backside. More specifically how to get it into a shape you want. And for most, that shape is perky, round, and firm. If you want a really flat butt that’s kinda soft, then you can stop reading now. If you want to keep reading, remember I am not a professional and this is just my opinion, but it has been formed from various experts that I will quote and link to below.
A wise woman once told me that I have lazy glutes. What the heck are lazy glutes you say? Well, it’s a common problem for a lot of women and basically it means your glute muscles don’t fire properly causing other muscles (hip flexors, quads) to compensate. This was true for me in so many ways. Sure I was doing tons of squatting, lunges, deadlifts, and single leg work, but doing all that without recruiting the glutes wasn’t getting me very far in the way of getting stronger. Here are some resources to help work on glute activation to start:
Article on quad dominance in women:
These next two are from T-Muscle, so be warned there are some interesting, yet safe for work images on the site. You know what I mean if you have been there before.
“How strong are your glutes really?” http://figureathlete.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/most_recent/how_strong_are_your_glutes_really
”Get your butt in gear!”
Now that you have the resources to learn to activate and work on getting those glutes firing, it’s time to talk about strengthening and adding muscle and shape. Not long ago, I learned of the existence of a man known as “The Glute Guy.” Quite the distinction if you ask me. His real name is Bret Contreras and after listening and reading some interviews from him and following his blog, I have learned so much about glutes. Who knew there was so much to know? His blog posts are epic in length and content but offer so much information. He knows his stuff and should after doing extensive research with electrodes to measure glute activation during different exercises. Check out this episode of the Fit Cast for a great interview with him that covers the basics. And be sure to check out his blog for tons of information on getting that shapely behind you want, as well as general strength, conditioning, and nutrition info in the mix.
Also be sure to check out this article by Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson with strengthening techniques and moves:
After working on some bodyweight single leg glute bridges, side lying clams, and other exercises from the article above a few times a week, I have started incorporating barbell hip thrusts and weighted glute bridges to my routine. The set up takes some getting used to. I started with a 25# plate to get used to the movement and wake up the muscles for a week or two, then moved into the barbell. It’s easy to set this up using your gyms squat rack and a bench or step for your back. Be sure to use the pad around the bar or your hip bones will be sorry. The best way to understand what the heck I am talking about is to see a video of the set up. Here are a few to check out:
Bret Contreras showing barbell hip thrust – and you are right in thinking this is a lot of weight. Them are some strong glutes!
Here’s another variation using bands:
Barbell glute bridge:
Some other exercises to continue doing (or start if you aren’t already!) single leg work like lunges, Bulgarian split squats (one of my all time faves), deadlifts, and squats. I also do cable pull throuth’s from time to time – another great glute exercise. Also, when working on the glutes you want to make sure you are working in a rep range that will allow for hypertrophy. I like to do 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps of hip thrusts, glute bridges, and cable pull throughs.
So there you have it. Start by making sure your glutes aren’t lazy, activate them, then strengthen them!
And always, I hope it goes without saying, but a general disclaimer to make sure you are cleared to do any of this stuff with a professional and be sure to work at your own pace and level.