When it comes to building a round peachy backside, a few well-known “glute exercises” come to our mind: squats, lunges, and deadlifts. But in fact, these three exercises are not the best exercises to build stronger, bigger, rounder glutes you have been yearning for.
In this article, we are going to talk about how to build a bigger and rounder butt efficiently - without growing the thighs.
We all know strength builds muscle mass.
But why aren't your glutes growing even though you have been lifting heavy?
So you’ve been hitting PB’s every month and smashing those plates on barbell doing squats, lunges, and deadlifts. After a few months, you notice something not-so-right; your butt might have slightly grown and toned, but your quads and hamstrings are growing at an alarming rate.
You are worried that when you get the bubble butt of your dream, your legs might have reached an undesirable level of muscle development.
The Main Culprit of Stagnant Butt Growth
The main reason of your thighs growing disproportionately larger and faster than your butt is that most of the so-called “glute exercises” activate your legs harder than your glutes. When your legs grow stronger, you tend to use your glutes less. This leads to Dormant Butt Syndrome aka hibernating glutes.
Breaking down the movements of 'glute-related' exercises:
Bret Contreras aka “The Glute Guy”, who is considered by many to be the foremost expert on glute training, said it in his September 2009 article that there are two distinct types of hip extension exercises in resistance training: those that mimic a vertical jump and those that mimic a sprint.
Those that mimic a vertical jump:
- have vertical directional load vectors
- also known as hip extension
- exercises like squat, deadlift, and static lunges
Those that mimic a sprint:
- have horizontal directional load vectors
- also known as hip hyperextension
- exercises like back extensions, hip thrusts, and pull-throughs
He has also found that a sprint activates the glute muscle 234 percent more than a vertical jump.
"Women have a disproportionally large percentage of quadriceps muscle mass versus the hamstring."
Most women are quad dominant. Others might have told you to try a wider stance, shift your weight to heels or even do some kneeling squats. These are great in correcting quad dominance but your glutes stay weak due to their lack of use.
To build up glute muscle mass without stressing much on the quads, hamstrings, and adductors, we need to perform glute-focused exercises that highly activate and strengthen the glutes.
Gone are the days when we include glute training on a leg day. Glutes are the largest muscle group in our body and they deserve their own day in the gym.
Thanks to amazing real-life transformation photos on Instagram, glute exercises have gained massive popularity in recent years and they make us believe that pancake-to-bubble-butt transformations do not happen only in dreams.
Abby Pollock ( @ampollo) stated that “squat booty is not a thing – you need to be hip thrusting”.
Lisa ( @lisafiitt) shows that a toned butt can be achieved by lifting weights and a balanced diet.
What You Should Do
Our sedentary lifestyle that involves long hours of sitting put our hips in a constant flexed position. This forces our tensor fascia lata (TFL) and hip flexors to shrink over time, preventing us to fully extend the hip.
To start training for a rounder butt efficiently, we begin with some glute activation exercises. These movements are critical as they loosen up hip flexors that affect the flexibility of your hip hyperextension.
After activating the glutes, it is now your time to shine! Perform hypertrophy exercises with a weight you reach muscle failure between 10-15 reps, creating that “booty pump” and increasing muscle growth.
To pack on some serious muscles, you need to work on glute strength by going heavy on the hip thrust for 4-6 reps. Remember, gain in strength equals to gain in muscle size!
Drilling down to the underlying root, most cases of Dormant Butt Syndrome are caused by tight hip flexors that are preventing the glutes from reaching their potential. Doing hip flexor stretches on top of glute exercises can help increase glute engagement far more effectively.
Glute Activation Work
These bodyweight glute activation exercises allow a harder glute contraction than during your max in squats and deadlifts. Spend a good
doing these activation movements and aim for
To increase glute engagement, do a five-second isometric hold at the top of every exercise.
Glute activation exercises alone can bring many health benefits like:
preventing and treating pain in hips and knees
increasing flexibility and performance
reducing glute muscles fatigue
loosening your hip flexors for a more efficient hip hyperextension and maximum glute activation
Strength and hypertrophy exercises
Exercises for Hip External Rotation
Clam – use a weight plate, dumbbell or a mini resistance band
Fire hydrant – use a mini resistance band
Exercises for Hip Abduction
Standing hip abduction – do it with a cable or a mini resistance band
Laying hip abduction – use ankle weights or a mini resistance band
Barbell Glute Bridge
This is the exercise you need to get stronger at. The stronger you get, the bigger and rounder your booty grows.
Thrust your hips up till the knees align with the shoulders. Ensure you extremely squeeze your glute once you reach the top.
American deadlifts are very similar to Romanian deadlifts except that you have to squeeze your glute to produce a slight posterior pelvic tilt to push the bar forward at the top of the lift. This is the part that makes American deadlifts a much more efficient glute exercise compared to Romanian deadlifts. Make sure your neck stays aligned with your spine in a neutral position to avoid any injuries.
Pull Throughs & Kettlebell Swings
These two have the same idea of squeezing your glute as you stand.
Make sure your back is not rounded to avoid injuries.
Elevated Single-Leg Hip Thrust
This is an advanced exercise that is suitable for those who are able to perform single leg glute bridges and bilateral hip thrusts properly. You can also increase the range of motion when you elevate both the shoulders and the feet. Make sure your body is controlled throughout the range of motion and squeeze your glutes at the top of the lift.
- Do a poke test to check for glute contraction.
- Brace your core to stay align and prevent low back pain.
It does not take rocket science to build a solid perky butt, but it definitely requires years of hard work and determination. Last but not least, make sure you are consuming sufficient nutrients from your daily diet especially protein and healthy fats.
Tights with subtle booty-contour also help by giving your peaches a more uplifted look. They are the wonderbra for your butt. Shop our high rise, buttery soft tights with booty-contour below.
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