Of all the bum-friendly exercises to add to your workout routine, the squat should be numero uno. True, it’s the queen exercise of butt-building, but it’s also a great movement for athleticism, flexibility, and can even tax your cardiovascular system.
Tabitha Klausen, an IFBB Bikini competitor and proud owner of a great booty has some tips for squatting. “Old-fashioned bodyweight squats that go below parallel are a great way to start your leg workout,” she says. “They’re the perfect way to make sure you concentrate on using the right muscles throughout the workout.”
Before each leg workout, Tabitha does 4 sets of 25 reps of bodyweight squats. She focuses on squeezing the glute muscles to get them firing and ready for her heavier lifts ahead.
Tabitha recommends concentrating on form rather than weight. “Focus on feeling the form through all of your exercises rather than using the heaviest weight possible,” she says. “It’s important to feel that mind-muscle connection.”
2. Go “Wide And High”
Puzzled about how to grow your glutes without also building massive quads? Amanda Latona delivers the “wide and high” answer. “When doing any glute-focused exercise, like squats, take a wide step forward to take the weight away from your quads. Or, if you’re doing step-ups, add more elevation. Both adjustments will add more focus on the glutes specifically.”
If you’re really looking for a challenge, Amanda also recommends lunging by stepping down from an elevated platform. This increases your range of motion, which will result in greater glute muscle fiber activation and growth.
3. Build A Glute Bridge
One problem Dr. Sara Solomon sees regularly is women who are using a regimen that neglects to correct muscular imbalances. “It’s critical to follow a workout that focuses on correcting your muscle imbalances so you can avoid running into injuries,” she explains. “Most of us spend the majority of our day sitting, which further causes the glute muscles to weaken and makes us rely more heavily on our quads and hamstrings to power through our exercises.”
One of Sara’s favorite exercises to correct this imbalance is the glute bridge. To perform this one, sit on the ground with your upper back against a bench, your knees bent, and your feet flat on the floor in front of you. Squeeze your glutes as you raise your pelvis high enough off the floor to create a straight line between your knees, hips, and shoulders.
It’s critical to follow a workout that focuses on your muscle imbalances so you can avoid running into injuries.
Focus on using only your glute muscles to do the work. If you need a bigger challenge, put a weight plate or loaded barbell on your hips for extra resistance.
Once you add glute muscle, the next step, of course, is to bring it all into sharp “bootylicious” relief. “The goal is to lose fat while maintaining my hard-earned muscle,” Solomon says. “I supplement my intermittent fasting regimen with BSN AminoX BCAAs and BSN’s brand new product, ISOBURN, a fat-burning protein powder. During my morning fasted training, I consume one scoop of Grape AminoX both pre- and intra-workout. I consume one scoop of AminoX immediately post workout, then every two hours post workout until I break my fast to stimulate muscle protein synthesis and halt muscle breakdown. I break my fast with ISOBURN 100% Whey Protein Isolate, but not immediately post workout because this is my window of opportunity to burn fat.”
4. Try Single-Leg Squats
Because this exercise puts your body in an unbalanced position, you’ll have to recruit often-untapped muscle fibers in order to maintain balance. This added challenge will get even the most stubborn glutes to grow.
Single-leg squats are often overlooked, but they’re one of the most challenging and most effective lower-body movements around. Many people won’t be able to do one right off the bat. Hold a weight in front of you for counterbalance, grab a wall for help, or put a thin plate under your heel.
Whatever you do, squat down as low as you can.
5. Do Split Squats
The split squat is an excellent butt-building move. When you do it, think about pushing up from the bent-knee position through the heel instead of through the ball or toes of your foot. By shifting your weight to your heel, your center of balance will instantly move slightly backward and will better activate your glutes.
To make split squats even more difficult and thus put more stress on your booty muscles, put a barbell across your back. A barbell works better than dumbbells because your body position is optimized for glute muscle recruitment.