I know what you're probably thinking, I’m just going to tell you how you should squat to get a good bum… Well, I’m about to do quite the opposite! Whilst squats are considered ‘King’ when it comes to building mass, they may not necessarily be the best exercise for targeting the glutes to their full potential.
Don’t get me wrong, they’re a great exercise for improving overall strength amongst other things, but I’ve had clients who have been recovering from knee ops/hip ops who haven’t physically been able to squat. Yet they have still produced sufficient mass on their behinds from simply understanding and following a few key points when targeting the glutes during other various exercises. I’ll get round to some of my favourite exercises later on…
As with trying to improve any muscle group, you need to be able to connect the mind to the muscles you’re aiming to target. Without the mind-muscle connection, it’s like you’re practically playing a golf game, driving a ball into the open air and hoping it will get you a hole in one – not too efficient… That said, it’s important to understand the anatomy of what makes up those peachy round behinds you admire on booty queens such as Amanda Latona. There are three main muscles- gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. The minimus is the smallest of the three located towards the lateral side of your body, and lies directly under the medius. The medius also sits nearer the outside of your hip. The maximus as the name suggest, covers the largest surface area on the posterior part of the bum. All originate from your pelvis (hip bones) and attach into your thigh bone (femur).
In order to create the perfectly shaped bum, you’ll want to ensure you’re hitting all three of these muscles. Therefore we now need to understand their main functions which are to extend, externally rotate, and abduct the leg at the hip. Master these three actions whilst making a conscious effort to engage your glutes, and you’re already half way there!
Now for frequency and intensity of training. You’ll want to ensure you’re training any weak or aesthetically lagging body parts at least twice a week. CONSISTENTLY. Depending on recovery, I personally like to incorporate lower body sessions into my plan three times a week – one more quad focused, one hamstring focused). This way I am able to maximally stimulate the muscle fibers in some heavy compound lifts, whilst still giving them enough time to recover and grow with a slightly lighter glute-focussed third session. The gluteals contain both fast and slow twitch muscle fibers, so I find a mixture of both strength (heavy load, low-rep, multiple sets), and endurance (low load, multiple reps, low sets) based exercises have worked well in optimizing mass.
Now for my favourite five for the peach:
- Glute bridges/Hip thrusts – From experience, most people notice the greatest improvements in overall size after incorporating these into their plans!
- Deadlift variations- Conventional, Romanians, Sumo… All have their place and will help give you the lift in your cheeks!
- Banded walks/clams- These are especially great if you have trouble activating your glutes in the first place (most people do). Include them in your warm up and between sets to get the most out of your booty building exercises!
- Lunge variations- A great uni-lateral exercise that will help improve and correct imbalances between the legs.
- Squats – provided your bum reaches below parallel (i.e. ‘arse-to-grass’) and you play around with foot positions; they’re unarguably a great overall butt building exercise!