BOOTY! BOOTY! BOOTY! The booty or more properly known as the “glutes” are the muscles that make up our butt. It seems that we are all focusing on our glutes these days. Some of us are interested in growing the glutes. Other of us want to shrink our glutes. And, many of us are focused on lifting and sculpting the GLUTES.
(How many times can you say glutes??)
Whatever your glute goals are, I’m here to help! Read on for more on how to get your glutes to where you want them to be!
MY GLUTE JOURNEY
I real quickly want to share my glute journey, so you understand how I know how to achieve each one of the goals below. When I was a teenager, I was tall and skinny. Don’t confuse skinny with sporty because while I was skinny, I was lean; I had really low body fat and very little muscle mass/muscle definition. A runners body.
At first, I wanted my butt smaller. (As my nickname in high school was actually ‘fat a$$’ which I knew was just a joke, but it did make me self conscious of my bubble butt. I found ways to train that targeted my glutes but not in a way that increased muscle mass, and wore clothes to hide it. Then, big glutes became the thing. I wanted my butt so big that I even tried training it nearly every day. Now, I’ve settled somewhere in between, I like to keep my backside tight, lifted and sculpted.
Bottom line… no matter what your glute goals are, I’ve been there too. Below, I will share each goal and what I’ve found to work best to reach that goal.
HOW TO GROW YOUR GLUTES
Growing your glutes is a challenge, but one that is possible, especially through weight training. Just like with any other muscle group, we must focus on muscle hypertrophy in order to increase muscle mass on that backside. Here’s what I’ve found to work.
GLUTE ACTIVATION: The idea of a glute activation is that you begin your workout with a few glute isolated exercises like cable kickbacks, donkey kicks or glute bridges. The exact exercises aren’t as important as is feeling the movement and getting those glutes fired up. Then, you begin your regular leg workout. Because the glutes are already “exhausted” they are forced to work even harder in the leg workout. I find this very effective for making a leg day glute focused.
TRADITIONAL POWERLIFTING EXERCISES: this one came through a lot of trial and error in my personal journey. If you want to grow your glutes, stick to the staples like squats and deadlifts! For a long time, I did all sorts of step ups, curtsy lunges and cool-looking glute exercises I saw on Instagram (those are great but have their time and place!). The traditional powerlifting exercises are ones that target the legs and glutes so intensely that other exercises don’t seem to compare. For this reason, when I’m focused on growing my glutes, I always include squats and deadlifts (or some variation) in every leg workout.
HEAVIER LIFTING: especially with those traditional powerlifting exercises, challenge yourself with weight. The idea here is that we are always progressively training to see results. Progressive training is about doing something just a little bit “more” than the previous workout. While there are many ways to progressively train, in this example, we would be increasing the weight just a little bit week to week. This extra challenge helps grow those glutes.
HOW TO STRINK YOUR GLUTES
So, you want to shrink those glutes… I’ve got it! I’ve been there too! I have a few techniques both in and out of the gym that will help you here, but I want to stress as many times as I can that you will achieve this goal quickest if you focus on the food you’re eating!
FOCUS ON OVERALL BODY FAT REDUCTION: okay, so spot targeting is a complete fitness myth (despite what magazines/marketing attempt to “teach” us). Spot targeting is the idea that we can pick and choose where we lose body fat. For example, ab exercises will NOT decrease belly fat. Exercise can only increase muscle mass not directly decrease fat. So, we can’t do a particular butt exercise to shrink the glutes.
What we can do, however, is focus on decreasing overall body fat to eventually blast fat on that booty. We do this through healthy eating and exercise. If this is your goal, stick to your healthy lifestyle in the gym and in the kitchen. I will share that from personal experience… this goal is reached much more effectively through the work you do with nutrition.
HIGHER REP TRAINING: as far as in the gym, stick to a slightly higher rep range if you’re working to shrink the size of your backside. When performing exercises, aim for a rep range around 15-20+ for your leg/glute exercises. This will work those glutes without making muscle mass the main goal.
CARDIO/RUNNING: When I add in cardio… more specifically sprints into my routine, my butt seems to look its best. A light jog or even a run/walk mixture up a hill will make for a great addition to your regimen.
HOW TO LIFT + SCULPT YOUR GLUTES
Personally, this is mostly where I fall with my glute goals. I always like to add a bit of a plump to the backside haha but I mostly focus on keeping my glutes tight, sculpted and lifted. Here’s what I do for that.
TRADITIONAL WEIGHT TRAINING: what I mean by this is a healthy balance of weight training for all muscle groups with a variety of exercises. Typically, this includes 1-2 leg/glute days per week as well as other glute work mixed in through cardio. For traditional weight training, I focus on including some powerlifting exercises (like squats and deadlifts) with a mix of other lower body movements. I also focus on my entire body to keep everything in balance.
MODERATE REP RANGE: I stick to a rep range around 12-15 reps. Sometimes it’s a little more. Sometimes it’s a little less. I find this rep range to be good for muscle hypertrophy as well as keeping the body tight.
Plyometrics + HIIT: plyometrics or explosive jump exercises such as squat jumps, alternating jumping lunges, box jumps, etc. as well as HIIT cardio like sprints are things I like to add in the mix. I find these movements help to work my glute muscles while keeping my body conditioned for that overall fit and lean look.
Don’t forget that your glutes are great just as they are. When I was in my “I want a bigger butt” stage, I was so annoyed that my glutes wouldn’t grow overnight. I became obsessed. I slowly learned to embrace my body and sculpt my curves made of muscle in the best way I could.
Just don’t forget that achieving your glute goals won’t make you any happier, prettier or better than you are right now. These goals are fun to set and work on, but your bootyful as you are!