Who doesn’t want a better butt? I think it’s safe to say most people (both men and women!) would like to have a better backside.
But a nice derriere is more important than just for aesthetics. Your glutes do more than add roundness to your behind; they also play an important role in body alignment, injury prevention, and athletic performance.
About Your Butt
Your behind is actually made of a few different muscles. The one everyone knows about is the gluteus maximus. However, there are also the gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus. Each of these three muscles are responsible for different types of movements, which means you need to strengthen them in different ways.
- Gluteus Maximus – Your gluteus maximus are the largest muscles in your body and are responsible for leg extension, or the upward movement of a squat or coming up from a seated position.
- Gluteus Medius – Your middle-sized glute muscles are responsible for internal and external rotation from your hips, and are worked in exercises like sumo (or plié) squats.
- Gluteus Minimus – The smallest of the three, your gluteus minimus, are also contributors to rotation from the hip, but are also an important stabilizer for your hips as well as abductors of the leg (muscles that move the leg away from the body). They can be worked in more isolated type exercises like a lying side leg lift.
Why a (Nice) STRONG Butt is Important
- Function – Your glutes help stabilize your pelvis during day to day activities like walking, running, and even getting your up from your chair. During workouts they provide power and ensure proper form to help prevent injury. The proper alignment of your pelvis, torso, and legs also depends on strong glutes.
- Injury Prevention – If your glutes are weak, that will lead to poor alignment. Poor alignment is a major contributing factor when it comes to injuries. If your body falls out of alignment it could cause issues such as Achilles tendinitis, shin splints, and knee pain. When your glute muscles are not strong enough for the job they are designed to do, other muscles will take over, creating muscle imbalances that can cause injury.
- Power – Again, the gluteus maximus are the largest muscles in the body, and can produce an enormous amount of power. Having strong glutes will help you sprint faster, jump higher, and lift heavier. They can help you run longer distances, bike more efficiently, and will most definitely help you hike easier. Strong glutes can help you in almost any activity that you may enjoy.
- Back Health – As a stabilizer and injury preventer, it makes sense that strong glutes can help keep your back healthy. When your glutes aren’t activating as they should, your psoas muscle (a muscle that runs from the spine to the leg) takes over. This type of muscle imbalance can help cause low back pain and discomfort. Making sure your glutes are strong can help combat or relieve lower back pain.
How to Build a Better Butt
- Don’t Forget your Hamstrings – It’s important to remember that the body is always interconnected, and building a better butt doesn’t mean that you only need to work your glute muscles. To reshape and strengthen your glutes, you also need to address hamstring strength as well. The hamstrings run the length of the back of your leg. The top of your hamstrings connect to the bottom of your glutes at the area known as your hip extensors.
- Train Frequently – Glutes adapt quickly to training frequency and benefit from a more frequent training schedule than smaller muscle groups. To benefit from a training program geared towards improving glute strength, it’s best to train glutes at least twice per week, and ideally three times per week. Your glutes are large, strong muscles and are meant to be worked regularly.
- Go HEAVY or Go Home – As mentioned above, the glutes are some of the largest and strongest muscles in the body. They are designed to be able to move a heavy amount of weight. Therefore, in training, the heavier the better! Just be sure you can maintain proper form and build up to the proper weight for you. (Women, please don’t be afraid of “bulking up” with heavy weights, lifting heavy will actually give you the curves you desire!)
- Diet, Diet, Diet – If we are going back to the aesthetics part of a better butt, diet plays a huge role in how your backside will look. Whether you are trying to slim down or build more muscles, it’s important to eat more protein. Protein will build your muscles as well as help speed up your metabolism. Also, make sure to drink plenty of water as well; studies have shown it may help reduce cellulite.
The Best Butt Exercises
Perform these exercises as one complete workout, or incorporate some of them into your existing training program. These exercises can be varied using dumbbells, barbells, or even holding kettlebells. Perform each exercise for 3-4 sets with repetitions ranging from 10-15.
- Squats – Start with dumbbells either resting on your shoulders or down by your sides, or a barbell resting across your back. Keeping your weight in your heels, lower your hips down and sit back as low as you can while keeping your back straight. Power through your heels to come back up to standing. Make sure to really engage your hamstrings as you press back up and squeeze your glutes at the top.
- Deadlifts – Holding the weights so that your palms are facing in towards your legs, hinge at your hips. Imagine sliding the weight down your legs, keeping your weight in your heels and your back completely straight. You should feel a stretch in the back of your legs at the bottom, then power up through your heels pressing your hips forward. Squeeze your glutes at the top and repeat.
- Rear Lunges – Holding dumbbells or kettlebells by your side, or a barbell across your back, step your RIGHT foot backward, keeping your weight in your front heel. Press up through your front heel, making sure to engage your hamstrings and glutes to press back up. Complete all repetitions on one side, then repeat on the second leg.
- Lateral Lunges – Hold your dumbbell/kettlebells by your sides, or a barbell across your back, with your feet together. Step your RIGHT foot to the RIGHT, slightly in front of you, shifting your weight into your RIGHT heel. You should feel a stretch in your left inner thigh and have barely any weight in that foot. Power through your right heel to step your feet back together. Complete all repetitions on one leg, then switch to the other side.
- Glute Bridges – Place your weights off to the side and lay on your back on a mat. Make sure your feet are hip-distance apart and your heels are relatively close to your glutes. Press into your heels as you lift your hips off the ground, squeezing your glutes at the top. Focus on reaching your knees forward to engage your hip extensors. Lower your hips back to the floor and repeat. To make this exercise more difficult, you can place your feet on a raised step or even a stability ball.
So as you can see there is more to having a nice butt than just looks. A strong butt will help you power through your workouts and help with your daily lifestyle. Build a better butt through diet and exercises that work all angles of your booty. Remember building a better butt takes time and dedication, but you’ll notice the benefits in all aspects of your live, not just in your jeans!
Watch the Video Below!
(Your Next Workout: 10 Ways To Get 6-Pack Abs)