6 Secrets for Head Turning Glutes

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If you want to build a show-stopping backside, then these 6 secrets are for you!

Because an envy worthy backside isn’t impossible to build! But it doesn’t come from hours on the stairstepper. 

Too many people are quick to jump on the Brazilian Butt workout or spend hours on the elliptical waiting for that slow burn in the glutes, hoping they’ll get off with a a carved and curvy rear. And sure, your might get a little glute activation doing those things. But slow and steady cardio isn’t going to give you the bodacious backside you’re wishing for.

A curvy posterior comes from muscles – strengthening the glute muscles and losing the fat around it. Just like hours of crunches can’t give you a 6-pack, hours on a stair stepper won’t do the job either.

So how do you get that heading-turning rear?

 

Check out these 6 secrets:

1. You don’t need a bunch of fancy exercises, but you do need more than the stair-stepper. 

First, a little basic anatomy.  Your glutes are really made of 3 different muscles: 

  • Gluteus Maximus
  • Gluteus Medius
  • Gluteus Minimus

Now we could get very science-y here, but that’s not really what we need.

So here’s the jist:  The G-Max is the largest of the butt muscles and it’s role is to move the upper leg – think squats, sprinting or extending the leg backward.  The G-Med and G-Min are much smaller muscles and are both located underneath the G-Max.  These smaller guys do similar functions as the big one, but their movement abilities change depending on the positions of the knees and hips.  They’re big players on things like extending the leg to the side or rotating the thigh in or out. 

So because we’ve got 3 muscles that work in slightly different ways, it makes sense that one movement isn’t going to target them all, right?  

To build a stronger rear, you have got to train with a variety of exercises.  Squats are great, but they don’t do it all.  Stairsteppers are…eh, okay, but def not enough.  You also need deadlifts, hip thrusts, bridges, wide stances, narrow stances, lateral work, step ups, and on and on.  Each exercise targets those muscles in a different combination.  So in order to build the booty, you’ve got to have a variety. Do you need every exercise, every day?  Hell no – but you’ve got to have enough exercises regularly added in your training program to target each muscle in a different way.

2. You’ve got to make sure you’re actually working the glutes.

Sounds like a no-brainer, right?  Not much of a secret…

But over the years, we’ve trained our bodies to rely more on our back or hamstrings than on our actual glute muscles when doing things. Instead of squatting down to pick something up, we lean forward to grab it – that’s compensation and constant training to by-pass the glute muscles in whatever we do.   We have learned to use almost every other muscle EXCEPT the glute. So when it’s time really work them – like in squats or deadlifts –our bodies continue to use the muscles around them.  Our squats or deadlifts use more hammie or back than they really need to. 

So if you want to build that backside, you’ve got to make sure you’re activating the glute muscles in the warm up and preparing the muscles to stay engaged during the training!  By activating them, you start training your body to use them.

Start with a simple glute bridge in your warmups, like this one. 

glute bridge 

3. Heavy and Light Weights are Necessary

Building a booty isn’t just about lifting super heavy.  

Here’s why:

The gluteus maximum is about 60% slow-twitch fibers – the workhorses in aerobic activities and long durations – and 40% fast-twitch fibers – the rapid firing fibers that give you short powerful bursts of speed or power.  Because it’s got both muscle fiber types, it can respond to different kinds of training – heavy weights with low reps AND light weight with high reps.

Gaining strength is connected with the heavy weights, but muscle growth seems to respond to the higher reps.   So it makes sense to include both into your training program.

4. Unilateral Training is a Must

Squats seem to reign supreme when it comes to glute training. But training both legs at the same time is the easiest way to keep your body off balance (and those booty muscles uneven).   Every single one of us has a strong side and a weak side (some worse than others) even when it comes to our glutes. Training unilaterally, one leg at a time, can help you recognize your weaker side and add a little more attention to building that muscle.

5. You’ll need fast explosion and slow control

Training your glutes is more than just deadlifts and squats. Incorporating explosive movements into your training, like Olympic lifts or power training, requires a huge contribution from the glutes – an awesome way to keep them engaged. Not only will it fire your glutes up, but it will target your fast acting energy system to put instant, high demands on those muscles.

But just like we need variety in exercises, we need variety in speed.  

Slow and controlled eccentric movements can be just as powerful and the explosive ones.  And this is what a lot of folks forget to put in their training.

Having a slow and controlled lowering phase is critical for keeping tension in the muscle, demanding more metabolic stress and increasing the muscle damage (in a good way) that ultimately leads to a stronger posterior chain.

And the last major secret?

6. Form Matters

You can’t activate your glutes effectively if your form sucks. And that’s just the truth. If you’re squatting and your knees are caving in or your deadlifting and your back is rounding, you’re body is continuing to compensate and rely more on hamstrings than glutes.  Having mobility to squat low allows you to engage more of the glute muslces than the puny half reps.  Having control to keep your spine neutral as you bend forward in a deadlift allows the glutes to stay activated the entire time. 

In order to really engage the glutes, you’ve got to work on near-perfect form for every rep!

Stick with these 6 secrets and you’re on your way to a show-stopping backside! 


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