Q. What are the best exercises to build and shape the booty? – Leo A.
A. This is a great question, as I hold the importance of booty-focused strength training very highly with my clients! The booty, or gluteus muscle group, is the true powerhouse of the body. Although most people consider the core as being solely the abdominal region, it actually consists of everything from your neck to your knees. It is vital to properly activate and strengthen this entire posterior chain, especially the glutes, in order to maintain good posture, avoid aches and pains (like that of the lower back), improve mobility, and increase overall wellbeing and longevity. The aesthetic bonus of all the above benefits is being the owner of a healthy, round, perky booty!
When it comes to your caboose, there are three different muscles that make up the area: the gluteus maximus (the largest muscle of the body), the gluteus medius (towards the hips), and the gluteus minimus (the smallest of the three). If you really want to shape up a twerk-worthy rear, it's important to hit each group from a different angle. Squats, which mainly work the glute maximus, are a prime compound movement and should be a staple in any strength-training routine. My absolute favorite glute exercise, however, is hip thrusts. While squats practice more vertical power (jumping), hip thrusts make you drive that glute power horizontally (sprinting). Have you ever heard of the workout “pump” achieved through lifting weights that leaves your muscles look full and tight? Well, the hip thrust movement does the same thing for your booty. That is, it will leave those muscles feeling fuller, perkier, and “pumped” after even one set of this concentrated exercise! Great variations I suggest are barbell-weighted or single-legged, both with a solid contraction at the peak of the movement. Of course, always aim for progression by adding weight or slowing tempo to keep your muscles challenged.
In order to achieve optimal roundness and conditioning, it is key to work the hips and target both the glute medius and minimus. Lateral movements are often put on the back burner when they are not only effective in shaping the rear, but in strengthening the lower back and entire core! The best bodyweight exercise to provide this benefit is laying straight-legged lateral raises, or the bent-legged version called “clams.” Both seem inconspicuous and admittedly look like something you may see in a spandex-laden aerobic video circa 1992, but trust me when I say you will feel the burn and see the difference these hip-focused exercises make once you incorporate them into your routine. If you have access to an abductor machine or heavy resistance bands, these are also great alternatives to complete your butt-building.
To sum it up: if you want to grow or shape up a quality posterior, get down with deep squats, start practicing heavy hip thrusts, and work those hips with lateral movements! Implementing these exercises in your routine will surely do the booty-full trick!
Jasmin Bedria, Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Specialist, is an experienced health and fitness expert at Anytime Fitness, Winter Park. Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, Anytime Fitness, Winter Park prides itself on providing a friendly, well-maintained facility featuring top-quality exercise equipment. Members enjoy the benefit of being able to use any of more than 2,400 Anytime Fitness clubs now open in all 50 states and 19 countries. Email your questions to askatrai[email protected] and get a free personal training session!