Booty building; it seems that’s all girls wanna do these days. I see it all the time. Girls frantically working their glutes in an effort to build that dream “squat booty”. Another thing I see all the time is girls doing that all wrong — or at least not as well as they could be. There’s a fine science to building an effective workout program that delivers the most bang for your time and effort and leaves you not only injury free but even better than before — an delivers those results you’ve been dying for.
That’s exactly why I made BootyFull, my 8-week booty-building program. I’m so pleased at the results my girls (and smattering of boys) are getting! In a nutshell, here are the top tips from BootyFull.
Most of us are tight and tense. It comes from sitting all day, repetitive activities and generally not putting our joints through their full range of motion and stretching our muscles. Lifting weights will further compound this sad situation if you don’t remedy it. Not only will it make you into a tighter ball of stressed-out muscle but it will hamper your mobility, strength and booty gains. Before you go beast mode on you lower body, I highly suggest you loosen up with a combination of foam rolling and dynamic stretching. For most people (especially if you sit all day) releasing those hip flexors will be key. Here’s the video I included in BootyFull for foam rolling.
Another common faulty biomechanical issue is dormant glutes. Because most of us sit around on them all day and the key butt muscles tend to go to go to sleep and aren’t easily roused. Even if you are active your glutes may not be firing on all cylinders — it’s an extremely common issue. Having inactive glutes can lead to a whole host of problems. If you are (or think you are) working your lower body and glutes but you aren’t fully recruiting the maximum number glute muscle motor units, well, you’re just selling yourself short — and asking surrounding muscle groups to pick up the slack, like your already over-worked lower back and hip flexors. There are a variety of ways to activate and engage the glutes prior to working out. This is the simple method I’ve included in BootyFull. It’s called the donkey kickback to fire hydrant. Do 10 reps on each leg.
Squats aren’t the be-all and end-all.
If you’re on Instagram you’ve seen an array of eye-boggling photos of massive booties with the hashtag #shesquatsbro. It would be easy to presume, going by fitness memes, that squatting was the sole and best way to a attain a so-called squat booty. Wrong. Don’t get me wrong, squats are awesome — they are even my favourite — but if we’re talking glute isolation exercises, they ain’t that. Squats, of course, work all of the lower body. They will hit your quads quite a bit. Some people might have their reasons for wanting to limit quad development — but increase glute. That’s why I’ve included a whole host of isolation exercises in BootyFull. Like several versions of hip thrusts. To see scientific proof as to why the hip thrust is such a superior glute exercise, see the work of the “glute guy”, Brett Contreras. Here’s one of my favourites you can do at home, the single leg deficit hip thrust. Do it right and it burns like a mofo.
Fine tune your squat.
But yes, squats still have a royal place in any booty-building program. As you may know, there are seemingly endless variations to tweak your squat. Small variations in foot stance, type of resistance, bar placement, squat depth, reps and sets can have a big impact on hitting the glutes to greater or lesser degree. Let’s go through each of these one by one.
Foot stance: Feet should be slightly wider than hips with the feet flared out slightly. And under no circumstance should your knees collapse inwards at any point during your squat; this often happens at the bottom when pushing back up. This common condition is called knee valgus. It indicateds a weakness of the glute medius. Fight to keep your knees pushed outward, and the weight in your heels.
Type of resistance: You could use dumbbells, a barbell, a kettlebells, elastic and hold the resistance in front of you, behind you, by your sides, over you, or goblet style, like, in the middle of you. They are all great. But I do think there’s more possibility for progression and excellence in barbell back squats. That said, if you are doing that don’t dismiss elastic squats. It might seem like a real regression, but I’m telling you, they can be really effective and just a different way to hit new muscle fibers.
Bar placement: If you are doing back barbell squats (and using the foot stance described above) it’s proven that low-bar squats hit the posterior chain (read: glutes) more than the traditional high bar squat. Read more about in this blog post I wrote.
Squat depth: Ass to grass baby. If you’re not squatting to at least parallel, you’re doing it wrong. Your thighs should be parallel to the ground.
Reps and sets: A progressive variety works best. Lighter weights and higher reps are great to begin, then move onto to heavier weights and lower reps. Then cycling that all over again. Similar for sets. Though, I like 4 sets.
Remember what I said about being a tight angry ball of stressed-out muscle? Don’t be that. Stretch. Take at least 5 minutes after your workout to loosen up and give thanks to your body for everything that it does for you.
That’s all folks. But once you get your booty where you want it to be, don’t forget to post your awesome pics in the #lookbackatit pose to the ‘gram and tag me.