One of the most popular questions I get asked is ‘How do I get a booty like yours?’ Now sadly I’m probably going to share some truths you may not like. The first one is that there is no miracle exercise. Squatting all day and all night will not build your glutes. You will also not build your glutes by eating clean, going on a detox, juicing or doing donkey kickbacks. So what do you need to do?
Let’s talk a little bit of Science. Your glutes are a muscle, a very large one at that. In order for muscles to grow you need to be in a calorie surplus, eating more calories than you are burning in a day. I suggest you work this out using a macro calculator, then make sure you’re adaquetly fuelling your body. This doesn’t mean eating 2500 calories worth of pizza and doughnuts, although you can have a little bit. You still need to be hitting those macros, especially your protein. When you weight train, your body repairs the damaged muscles by repairing the fibres which increase in thickness creating muscle growth (hypertrophy). If you’re not eating enough calories and protein to repair and build these muscles, then your body is just going to eat in to your muscles to fuel the rest of the body. But let’s just get this clear, trying to build muscle and losing weight at the same time will not work. Only when you are happy with the muscle growth, should you then cut to lose fat.
My next point is glute activation. For me, this has taken the focus off of my quads and allowed my glutes to fire up ready for the big compound lifts. You spend most of your day sat on them, so naturally they would rather let your legs do the work. But if you can warm them up effectively before you start lifting, this will be so beneficial to your session. Go look at my recent instagram video for my favourite glute activating exercises.
My third point you need to trust me in is: lifting heavy will change your body! Trust me, look what happened to mine. Before, I was a slave to cardio, aerobic DVD’s and bikini body guides. But when I found weight lifting this is when change happened. Heavy weights will build your muscles, therefore building your glutes consequently giving them a larger appearance. But you need to be progressively overloading them, not lifting the same weight each week. Let’s say you’re hip thrusting, each time try add more reps, another set or extra weight. I cannot stress enough how lifting heavy weights has changed my body and it will do the same to yours too. If you struggle to feel any lifts in your glutes I would strongly recommend a resistance band. It will help with that mind-muscle connection and remind you to squeeze and engage the glutes with each movement.
Now what exercises are most beneficial for the glutes? Squats and kickbacks? Probably not no. In fact, as the incredible ‘Glute Guy’ (Brett Contreras) dispels, a bodyweight squat will only activate 70% of the quads and 20% of the glutes. This clearly shows that squats are not the way forward for optimal glute growth. This is why I love the hip thrust. This movement allows you to build the glutes without over activating the quads and with less strain on your back. Start off with bodyweight, then the barbell then get adding weight. It’s amazing how quickly you’ll learn to fire up your glutes with this move. For some other glute based weight work I’d suggest you have a watch of these and begin including them in your workouts.
Hopefully this has answered many of your questions related to building that booty. Once you understand the science and trust the process of being in a calorie surplus and lifting heavy, you will see results coming. If it helps I will be eating in a calorie surplus to build more muscle too, so as always I’m here to motivate!