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Our derriere is defined by 3 muscles known as the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. The right combination of strength training, metabolic conditioning and nutrition will build the booty of your dreams. Most women are always on the quest for a better bottom and with bathing suit season approaching there’s not much room for reasoning with this.
Those that are genetically predisposed to the J Lo backside often want to shape it smaller and those with a “flat” butt envy them and want to make it more bubble like.
Are we ever satisfied? Probably not but whatever backside we are given we can always make it better. Personally I was cursed/blessed with ample booty and more closely resemble the J Lo type. No matter your genetics here’s the booty scoop. . .
You can design the best booty possible by performing these strength moves to develop a higher, tighter and more rounded look. You can perform these movements with bodyweight only but you will eventually need to add resistance to optimize your results.
Without an irrevocable doubt this is the #1 movement. When done properly it directly engages the glutes and additionally raises the heart rate to rev up the metabolism.
- shoulder width stance
- full extension at hips and knees
- weight on heels
- lumbar curve maintained
- chest up, head is neutral
- butt travels down and back
- bottom of squat is below parallel
- knees track parallel to feet
- return to full extension at the hips and knees to complete the move
Best overall exercise for development of the posterior chain (lower back, glutes and hamstrings) not to mention strength.
- stance — between hip and shoulder width
- weight in heels
- lumbar curve locked in
- bar in contact with the shins
- arms locked straight
- symmetrical grip outside the knees
- drive through the heels
- extend legs while hips and shoulder rise at the same rate
- once the bar passes the knees the hip opens all the way up
- bar maintains contact with the legs
- head neutral
- on the return push hips back and shoulders forward slightly; delay the knee bend
- once the bar descends below the knees return the bard down to the set up position
Variations: stiff leg deadlift, sumo deadlift
Works the backside, quads, hamstring and calves. It will also burn calories.
- full extension of hips and knees
- take a big stride forward so that your lunging thigh is parallel and your knee directly over your ankle (shin vertical)
- back thigh perpendicular to the floor
- upright torso
- graze the ground with the knee of the trail leg
- Press through the heel of the lunging leg and stepping back while returning to upright position
Variations/Tips: walking or stationary, doesn’t matter but do them right. Use barbells, dumbbells, weighted vest or bodyweight. If one of your legs is more difficult than the other which we sometimes find in working with single leg strength do that leg first.
- Full extension of knees and hips
- use a box/step that places your knee at a 90 degree angle
- Step up on your right leg (heel on box/step)
- Step up left leg (to full hip extension)
- Step down on the left, down on the right (that is one rep)
- Repeat for desired number of reps on the right
- Repeat process for the other leg
Variations/Tips: use barbells, dumbbells, weight vest or bodyweight. If one of your legs is more difficult than the other which we sometimes find in working with single leg strength do that leg first.
This particular exercise targets both the hamstrings and the glutes and makes for a lovely posterior tie in.
If you have a glute ham developer http://vimeo.com/5704186
If you don’t but you will need a partner http://vimeo.com/26938671
Without a doubt the #1 exercise you can do is to sprint. Have you ever seen a better derriere than on a sprinter?
Distances: a variety of 50, 100, 200 and 400’s with adequate recovery between.
Variations: hills, stairs and prowler pushes.
While some of us can’t “sprint” by running we can “sprint” on a. . . bike, rower, versa climber etc. Short all out bursts followed by adequate recovery.
Distances: 10, 15, 30, 45 and 60 s intervals with adequate recovery between; 6 — 10 times.
No matter how strong, fast and well shaped the machine is if you put more fuel in it than you need and burn, it will have a fluffy and dimpled layer of fat covering your efforts. Eat the right amounts of the right types of food for your activity and body type if you want to actually see that shapely derriere.
Fitness is not only a look but a healthy lifestyle.
A few more visuals such as photos or drawings to accompany the instructions would be most helpful.
As a strength & conditioning coach as well as a CrossFit coach I have to say that I’ve loved the articles Paula has posted as well as her follow-up comments. I would like to say a few things though that I know Paula already knows but that may not have been expressed. First as far as rest time, depending on what you’re shooting for it’s generally between 30sec-3min of rest if you’re actually “lifting”. If you’re doing workout for time or that kind of thing (Tabata) you may have even less rest time. Like Paula said, depth has everything to do with exercising that butt in the squat. Think, “ass to grass”. As long as you have the mobility in your hips, ankles, and posterior chain so you can maintain that tight lumbar, the deeper you go the more your butt and hamstrings have to activate. Can I also say that as a male (I know I don’t speak for all males) that a fair amount of us REALLY like thick legs and butts on women? However there is a big difference between the thick and healthy muscular legs and butt of someone who eats and trains right and the average western person who’s living the western lifestyle. That isn’t meant to sound offensive, it’s meant to be encouraging. For the most part women naturally have thicker legs and butts and that’s to be embraced, not looked down on or shied away from. Below is a link to a page with Chad Vaughn (an Olympic Weightlifter) coaching a female on the snatch. For now most of you can forget about the snatch, and most likely even the OH squat, but pay attention to two things. 1. The size of Chad’s butt even with him being a male. Being an Olympic weightlifter he squats heavy and deep ALL the time. Most of you do not need to worry about getting a butt this big because Chad works with 500+ pounds on a regular basis and you won’t be working with this kind of weight. Just note that his butt comes from squatting. 2. Pay attention to the depth he has Kayla shooting for. Like I said earlier, as long as you have the mobility, go as deep as you can. When I squat (which is a minimum of three days a week) I go as deep as I feel I can and then…I go deeper. I hope this helps. Again Paula, awesome job. I’ve loved your articles and I wish more CrossFit Boxes were promoting proper diet information besides just “eat paleo” like you are.
What great information, many thanks to you and Paula! The husband and I have been contemplating CrossFit but we’re not sure if we can afford it as it seems pretty pricey. Can you shed any light on pilates, specifically Winsor Pilates? I just wondered because her worksouts (basic, buns and thighs and advanced power sculpting) along with fast walking daily gave me my pre-pregnancy body back (and then some) when done 4-5x/week. The main thing I liked so well about the aforementioned workout routine was that it slimmed and toned my thighs without bulking them up which they are prone to do otherwise. We tried Slim in 6 and I bulked up very quickly and didn’t like it and it includes lots of lunges and squats. Also some friends swear by Insanity workout and we wondered if that was healthy or not? And you’re probably right about women with muscular thighs and rear, my husband says most men really don’t want that willowy skinny model on the magazine cover! But it’s hard for us women when society says we’re supposed to look like that. Thanks for the encouraging post!
What if you can’t do those exercises? I am way out of shape, over 100 pds over weight with bad ankles and knees. I can’t even do a proper squat. What can I do instead?
Fitness Editor Paula Jager, CSCS Owner of Crossfit Jaguar
Kristen, start with changing your nutrition to a healthy traditional diet of the right amount of food to sustain activity but not body fat, walk or bicycle interval style for your conditioning–progressively increasing time/distance and intensity as you are capable. For lower body weight training deadlifts and step ups (as long as the step is not too high) should be fine, try a lateral lunge (usually ok on the knees) and box squats–lowering the box as you progress. As you lose weight and get in better shape your joints may be able to handle more advanced versions of the exercises. Work on mobility which should also help relieve stress on the joints
Good stuff although I would recommend lunges and hip presses and their variations as your most effective movements for specific focus on all glute muscles over squats which utilize legs more than glutes. Squats,however, are a powerful movement utilizing your strongest muscles giving your heart a great workout too.
Fitness Editor Paula Jager, CSCS Owner of Crossfit Jaguar
If you are squatting properly (below parallel +) you are “specifically” engaging your glutes along with your hamstrings–the main course. Lunges are an excellent side dish or auxillary exercise
Thanks Paula! I am going to have to be more discipled at doing these exercises.I have been blessed with big boobs, but a flat butt. Are there exercises to flaten your chest, or at least to ensure my boobs won’t sag?
Sarah, heavy bench pressing from all angles (flat, incline and decline) will help to build pectoral muscle to keep the girls firm and a healthy diet with the right amount of cals/macros will help keep the body fat down (which is what they are mainly composed of).
Don’t forget to include overhead pressing movements also to keep the balance!
Thanks! This is helpful. I just need to stay motivated :).