Butts have never been bigger; I mean that in a good way. I mean we all have them, but there has never been more focus on them. It used to be just biceps and pecs were enough for the guys and if the girls had a nice rack they had the world at their feet. We have such a high visual image consumption and our over obsession about things makes us look for what we don’t’ have. Lets face it, Instagram is all about T&A, if you weren’t born Brazilian, chances are you may need a little help with proportioning your posterior. Like batter on a hot griddle, if you sit around on your caboose it’s going to end up like a pancake. Those of us that spend all day seated at a desk might just quite literally be working our butts off!
Lets talk a little about what we can do to get that high and tight look, and fill out them jeans a bit better. But first a little background… (this is the sciencey’ bit..)
The gluteal complex is composed of the largest and strongest muscle group in the body. They not only round out our appeal and keep our jeans from hitting the floor; they are essential in allowing us to stand upright, something we have earned as a bipedal sapiens. They anchor the hips as we walk, and provide the power we need to run or climb stairs. The gluteus maximus, as well as the gluteus medius and minimus make up the bulk of the buttock region along with other hip stabilizing, and rotating muscles.
When glutes are not functioning efficiently, it can put more pressure on our lower backs, as other muscles try and take over to extend and stabilize. Use it or lose it applies to function, not just size and shape. Standing up should be pretty natural, but you’d be surprised how hard it is to get up off the couch if you can’t use your glutes.
If you are still not convinced you need to focus on your seat, think on this; gravity is constant and can be so cruel! A lifetime of sitting, and your cheeks will have more chins than Jabba the Hutt. If you’ve ever been in a public change room, say at the pool, you know what happens to butts as we age. With a little effort, these exercises should help keep the cakes from falling and have you twerkin’ to the oldies no time.
They are not meant to replace your regular leg workout, but if you are behind in your behind try adding these exercises in with your regular presses, and squats. Do these two exercise complexes each as a super set without much rest between the heavier weighted exercise and the movement/bodyweight portion. As with any exercise program, if you are unsure of the proper form seek out assistance with a qualified trainer to prevent injury.
1) Weighted Bar Rear Lunge–
Load the bar on your back like you are doing a squat. With control, start by letting the hips drop backwards keeping the weight in the front heel and don’t let the upper body drift – (not leaning over forwards). To stand up push thru to the front heel and extend all the way up, while bringing the back leg all the way up and forward at a 90º angle. It should be glutes and hamstrings doing the work. Do not let the knees fall inwards, or hips twist.
Follow each set immediately with a set of the Weighted Bridge.
1a) Weighted Glute bridge–
Sit with your back to the bench and place the bar across your lap (aware you aren’t crushing the goods, or resting on anything fragile. (You may want to pad things if you are pushing a lot of weight) Place your upper back and shoulders on one bench, with knees bent and your heel(s) on the floor. Push into the heel and raise your body up to horizontal. Do not push your hips high (hyperextend) your lower back. Let the glutes determine the range of motion you have to work with. Let your butt drop towards the floor and then repeat to bring your hips up even with torso squeezing your glute(s) at the top, hold for a count of three and lower with control. Complete 10-15 reps.
2) Weighted Bar Step –ups
This exercise is like a lunge but onto a step to increase glute activation. Load the bar on your back like you are doing a squat. Step up with your right leg onto a bench or platform that allows a 90º angle in the high leg. Shin straight up and down, weight on heel. Push into the step with the right foot and raise your left knee to hip level, (do not push off of the back (left) foot as you stand upright. Left thigh, should be parallel to the ground at the top, hold for 1 second, and return your left foot with control don’t’ be letting gravity have all the fun. Your goal is to keep most of the weight on the right. Complete 10 to 12 reps on one side, and then repeat on the other side.
Follow immediately with Stationary lunge
2a) Stationary lunge
Put the back foot onto a high bench, or stable bar, (Actually I like to get it onto a TRX band to really get the stretch and add some nice instability to challenge those hip and ankle stabilizers at the same time). Let the hip sink down and back like a rear lunge and push into the front heel to get back upright. Stand straight and don’t half ass the effort, you should feel a good glute contraction at the top.
These exercises will not turn you into a Nikki Minaj over night, (actually to be honest, I don’t really know how that happens without a balloon and a bicycle pump), but regardless.. Once you spend some time really focusing on your butt muscles, you become aware just how hard they work. It’s no wonder they are the largest muscle complex in the body, they have a lot to look after. Trust me you will be thankful to have a trunk full of thunder when you need to move, run, push or power thru anything.