4 tips to get started.....
One of the most asked questions I get today, is finding the best way to get a great well-rounded booty. It is also the most misunderstood muscle group to develop. A round, firm and shapely butt is attractive to both men and women because it signifies strength and good health. The glutes are among the largest muscles of the human body and are powerful and dynamic movers. They are responsible for much of your hips movements from rotation to extension and abduction…but most people don’t care about any of that…most people just want their glutes to look amazing! Anytime you involve the hips you are likely involving the glutes so it seems like they would be an easy muscle to train and grow. Unfortunately, this is not the case for a lot of people. Your genetics do a play a role in how easily you can develop your glutes however MOST of the issues I see today that involve glute training revolve around 4 key factors. Most people miss these.
Follow these 4 steps to get started on an amazing and shapely butt.
FACTOR #1 - not doing the right exercises // there is a right way
I cringe almost every time I see a new “butt building’ program advertised to women. Most of them are EXTREMELY ineffective for a few key reasons but the main reason is that they DO NOT use the most effective exercises. They typically don’t include the most powerful butt building exercises known to trainers and coaches worldwide like the barbell squat, the deadlift, lunges, good mornings and hip thrusts. Instead, they prescribe exercises like donkey kickbacks and leg abduction exercises. It's not that these exercises are bad per se…they definitely have their place (keep reading. I explain when..) but they are completely inferior when they are compared to even just simple barbell squats. Not all exercise is created equal…some build muscle faster and more effectively than others and if your goal is to build round glutes, they should make up the bulk of your butt workout. Barbell squats, deadlifts, lunges, good mornings, and hip thrusts are considered some of the greatest strength builders by powerlifters, bodybuilders and athletes for good reason…they work exceptionally well at building strength and muscle. If you are NOT doing those exercises weekly and you want to build your butt you will have a long hard and frustrated road ahead of you.
FACTOR #2 - not lifting heavy // learn to get a great butt the right way
A long time ago a horrible myth emerged that did more damage to proper training methodology for women than almost any other factor. Women were told that lifting heavy weights would build a bulky looking body while lifting light weights for super high reps would build a toned and sculpted body. NOTHING could be further from the truth!!! It is very true that heavy weights builds more muscle and it builds muscle faster but this is a good thing. Do you want to workout for months and months with little results? Of course not and since your goal is to DEVELOP your butt its logical to do it in the most effective way possible which is with HEAVY WEIGHTS. You see your muscles are primarily made up of two types of muscle fibers…type 1 (slow twitch) and type 2 (fast twitch). The slow twitch muscle fibers are very good at endurance. They are low force and low speed but they have a large “gas tank.” Think long distance runner. These muscle fiber types adapt to training by becoming more efficient and part of this adaptation means they do their best to NOT grow and build. Bigger muscle fibers means more calories burned and since low force long duration exercise doesn’t require much strength they tend to not grow that much. This is why when you train with high reps you notice improvements in endurance with very little visible changes.
On the other hand, fast twitch muscle fibers have an incredible capacity for visible change. That is because these fibers are responsible for high force production and strength….think a sprinter. Due to their role as the fast force producers they adapt to the right training by becoming BIGGER. Train with heavy weights and you will see visible changes MUCH faster. Side note…because these fibers grow they also burn more calories. Train with heavy weight and you get a fuller and rounder butt along with a faster metabolism.
Bottom line If your goal is to build a butt, then focus on the muscle fibers that actually grow. Train with heavy weight and stay within the 6-15 reps range.
FACTOR #3 - not hitting the glutes frequently enough // frequency matters
Study after study is demonstrating that frequency of training is a much more important factor than we had previously believed it to be. We have been told to hit a muscle hard and long but then to leave it alone for a full week to allow it to recover so that it has time to grow. Although there is some truth in that belief it's been applied all wrong. Yes, you need to allow for recovery but recovery does not equal ADAPTATION aka muscle growth. When you train a muscle with sufficient intensity you create a small amount of damage. The body aims to repair that damage and overcompensate aka ADAPT so that next time the same movements with the same weight and intensity don’t produce the same damage. The problem arises when we confuse recovery with adaptation. They are two different things!! Yes, damage causes adaptation to take place but the adaptation process is ever going and studies will show that after about 48-72 hours without more training the body adapts by stopping the muscle building process and even starts to REVERSE it. In fact, studies show the muscle-building signal as measured through protein synthesis PEAKING at 48 hours but then dropping sharply after.
ADAPTATION is the name of the game… it's what we want to happen and it's what we should target with our training. In the case of building the butt we want the body to ADAPT to the right exercises and loads by building bigger and stronger glutes. This process happens much more effectively when we increase the frequency of training. This does not mean we need to train long and hard every time…in fact that may be counter productive as the body has a limited ability to recover from damage. Instead take your current total volume and simply divide it by three days a week. In other words, if you train your glutes once a week with 3 exercises for 5 sets each for a total of 15 sets simply take that and divide it between three days and do 3 sets of one exercise 3 days a week. This is vastly superior in muscle building terms for most people.
FACTOR #4 - poor recruitment patterns // do the exercise correctly
One of the most frustrating things is when a client does all of the above right, yet they still don’t get the results they want. They squat, deadlift, lunge, hip thrust and good morning with heavy weight and they train with the right frequency yet their glutes don’t change. Instead, they build great quads and hamstrings, which make them, even more irritated!! The issue here is hard to see but simple to fix. These people have a poor recruitment pattern and when they do those awesome exercises their quads and hamstrings do most of the movement…so although they are doing the right things their body isn’t “firing” in a way that is sending the ADAPT signal to their glutes. Your body doesn’t really understand it when you do an exercise and say “build this muscle.” It truly only understands movement, and this is a good thing. This is beneficial to keep you functioning when you have an injury. Most movements involve many different muscles and if one muscle is weak or injured the other muscles work together to do the job. Your body also LEARNS patterns and these patterns become our default when we do move or exercise. If your body learned to use the quads and hamstrings more than the glutes when doing exercises then those are the muscles that will build the most. Its that simple. To remedy this, you must first teach the body a new and more favorable recruitment for your goals …you literally need to connect to your glutes better so that when you do squat, deadlift, lunge etc the butt gets the brunt of the muscle building signal and responds…fast.
To do this you must learn how to prime the glutes before your workout. Priming gets the central nervous system to change how it fires so that more of an emphasis can be placed on the muscles of the butt. Think of priming as an advanced way to warm up. Here is where those less-than-ideal exercises I talked about early In this article come in handy. Doing simple movements like donkey kick backs and leg abduction for isolated high reps with a special focus on the “squeeze” gets your butt to connect. Do these for 5-10 minutes with targeted intention to feel those muscles before your workout and over a short period of time you will see results happen at a much quicker pace. If you follow the advice listed in this article the vast majority of you will have no problem with building your butt.
If you need a place to start or just want to learn how to lift with proper form, contact me today and we can schedule a brief call or an in person training session!