Build That Booty

Title speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Well, in case it doesn't, here's a picture to get the point across:

Build that Booty.jpg

Traditionally girls are more concerned with building a nice butt, but guys should value this too! Just listen to the lyrics of "Shoop" and you'll know what I mean.

Strong glutes go beyond just having a nice caboose though. Your glutes are essential in keeping your body stable for several upper body movements like Overhead Press and Bench Press. Recently I was doing a set of Overhead Press without keeping my glutes tight enough and I actually pulled something in my lower back, so don't underestimate the role that these muscles play. Strong glutes lead to a safe and strong upper body.

Strength isn't everything, however. As with any muscle group, you want to use a variety of rep ranges in your routine to target it. Lift across the range of 5 to 15 reps (a set of 5, a set of 10, and a set of 15, for example) to maximally achieve hypertrophy for your butt. This is partly why bodyweight movements like squats on one leg are so effective; you do the heavy sets with dumbbells and the light sets with just your own bodyweight.

Of course, the rep range is nothing without using the right movements. Here are the top 5 exercises that will help you improve your butt.

1) Barbell Deadlift

Everybody thinks that the Squat is the best exercise for building a nice ass. And it's definitely up there, but to me, it's not the top dog.

Here's the trick: the glutes are not the main target of the Squat. Even if you go as deep as you can, squatting is primarily an exercise for your quads; even your hamstrings might be activated more than your glutes during a Back Squat to parallel.

Deadlifts, on the other hand, are driven by your glutes. Whether your stance is sumo, conventional, or a hex bar, deadlifting heavy weight will get your butt in gear (literally).

Here's a tutorial I have on the Conventional Deadlift:

 

If you eventually Deadlift 2.5x your bodyweight or more, your glutes will pop out like crazy; you'll need to buy some new jeans!

2) Back Squat

Please don't misinterpret what I said in the last bullet; Squats are still a phenomenal exercise for the glutes!

In order to activate them during the movement, you need to be hitting ATG (ass-to-grass) or parallel. Going halfway or a quarter of the way will do nothing to build that butt of yours (frankly, I'm not a fan of those variations anyway).

People also argue whether high bar or low bar is better. Frankly, I think both give about the same glute activation, so just choose the variation that enables you to do more weight. The same goes with stance width; pick the one that moves the most weight for you.

Here's a tutorial I have on the high bar version:

3) One Leg Romanian Deadlift

If you don't have access to real gym equipment, this exercise really deserves the top spot for targeting your butt.

The standard Romanian Deadlift is a great barbell exercise, but a risky one. It puts far more pressure on your lower back than the normal Deadlift variation. While this can build a strong posterior chain, it can also open your body to serious injury.

Doing this exercise with one leg, however, is a great alternative. It prevents any potential lower back issues and keeps the focus on your glutes and hamstrings.

Make sure that as you lean forward, you go as far as you can. This increases the tension on your glutes without you needing to increase external weight. Most people, including myself, can't go farther than their body making a right angle. If you have the flexibility to go even farther, then all the more power to you.

Scott has a good tutorial on this movement:

 

4) Bulgarian Split Squat

This one can be a bit unstable to perform, but it's definitely worth it. Somehow, doing a squat with one leg activates the glutes far more than doing it with both. I've noticed much more soreness in my glute muscles when performing this movement rather than my usual Back Squat (I perform both in the same workout in my current routine, however).

Make sure you're only pushing with the leg you're targeting. It can be tempting to jerk the stationery leg on the bench as you try to exert more force, but resist it.

Be very careful with the knees on this! They shouldn't go past your toes. For some reason, this exercise puts much more stress on your kneecaps than the traditional Back Squat.

Scott has a good tutorial for this one as well:

5) One Leg Hip Thrust

Doing a Glute Bridge with both legs is child's play for most people. What's more challenging and effective is a hip thrust with just one leg.

I'm a big fan of this one, mainly because you can play with so many progressions. If you're just starting out, lie down on the floor and raise your body just using one leg. If that becomes too easy, lie with your upper back on a bench and do the movement from there. By some chance if that becomes simple as well, put a 25 lb or 45 lb plate on your torso as you perform the movement.

There aren't too many tutorials on this booty builder, but here's a good one:

Wrap Up

There you have it everyone! Use these tips and build your best butt ever.