Building a shapely booty is much the same as building any other muscle group; The target muscle must be stimulated for growth, and body fat levels must be low enough to see some defined shape. In fact, there are no special principles for building any muscle that differs from any other body part, but there are some techniques and pointers that will make all the difference when growing your booty is a priority. These will be the topics discussed in this article.
1. Stimulating The Gluteus Maximus
The Booty, i.e. the 'Glutes' are split up into 3 parts, the Gluteus Minimus, the Gluteus Medius and the Gluteus Maximus. Of these 3, the Gluteus Maximus is the largest, strongest and most capable of large growth. Even though the other 2 parts are also relevant in building a good booty, growing the Gluteus Maximus will be the main focus of our workouts. This means choosing appropriate exercises that stimulate this part of the Gluteus muscles the most; Squat variations and Leg Press variations, with added resistance. Body weight movements will only get you so far, the most potent stimulation for our muscles comes from increasing the load over time (known as 'Progressive Overload'). Pressing movements are the exercises where the most amount of progressive overload can occur.
Pressing movements like Leg Press and Squat variations will stimulate the Gluteus Maximus the most.
2. Exercise Choice
Exercises like hip thrusts, kick-backs, leg raises, lunges, swiss ball bridges, straight-legged dead-lift and adductors + abductor machines are not going to provide lasting and continual stimulation. This is because they don't provide enough progressive overload long term, which is what is needed for growth. Also, everyone has different bio-mechanics, so we must make sure that we are adhering to our individual needs and mechanical capabilities. Not everyone will be able to Squat successfully, or without difficulty - and this will make it almost impossible to progress with Intensity over time. This may mean forming your workouts around Hack Squat machines or Leg Press machines, which is just as effective - as long as you perform the exercises with the correct approach!
3. Exercise Approach
Yes you must use specific exercises, but simply doing them doesn't guarantee you will be performing them correctly or even creating enough stimulus. So, the 'Approach' of these exercises is very important, specifically 'how we do it', for 'how long' and indeed 'how hard'. If you have tried exercises but not felt like it is even doing anything, chances are you have neglected the correct 'Approach'. We must choose 1-2 pressing movements per workout (Squat or Leg Press variations):
How Do We Do It?
Feet shoulder width apart (standard). No locking out of the knees. Pressure going through the middle and heel of the foot (not the toes) to isolate the back of the leg. Stances may vary depending on the workout/ exercise.
Leg Press Form Tips. Push through Heels to activate more Booty muscles.
Before performing the Squat with a bar, first practice proper form using just your body weight.
Keep pressure on the heels to isolate the Booty.
3-4 Sets of 8-12 Reps to Failure. If more than 15 reps can be performed, weights must be increased (important). Use a simple '2 seconds up and 2 seconds down' Tempo. 90 Seconds Rest between Sets.
Until mechanical failure. Note that mechanical failure does not refer to pain threshold. Pain must be endured until no more reps can be performed with good form.
4. Intensity Vs The Burn
Intensity describes the challenge factor of a workout or particular set. Namely, how difficult it is for both the Nervous System and the Muscles combined. The burn (lactic acid build up) refers to only the pain or discomfort within the muscles, not necessarily the mechanical strain of the movement. So which is more important? The answer is of course 'Intensity', as this is what will stimulate your muscles the most. In reality, you reach the Intensity phase only once you have powered through 'The Burn' phase - this is when your muscles are at the threshold of what they are already capable of and adapted to - so at this point you push out a couple more repetitions in order to solicit more muscular adaptations. NB: Most trainees stop somewhere in the midway point of The Burn phase and thus only ever see small body changes.
5. Hitting All The Angles
Secondary exercises mentioned earlier like Hip Thrusts, Kick-Backs, Lunges, Straight-Legged Dead-Lifts and Lateral Leg Raises can be included either at the end of the pressing exercises or on a completely different day of the week. They provide only provisional change, as they become increasingly difficult to increase Intensity and load over time. Different pressing stances, like the Sumo-Squat (very wide stance, toes pointing outwards), can hit the Gluteus Maximus from a different angle and can be used in the same progressive manner as the standard shoulder width stance. Different set variations can also be included for added Intensity, see here for more info.
1. Stimulate The Gluteus Maximus.
2. Choose Pressing Movements suited to your own Bio-mechanics.
3. Don't just go through the motions, Train with the correct Approach and Intentions.
4. Feel The Burn then push through it to reach true mechanical failure.
5. Supplement your training with secondary exercises and angles, keeping Progressive Overload in mind.
Leg Press / Free Weight Squat: 3-4 Sets of 8-12 Repetitions (To Failure). 90 Seconds Rest.