If I’ve figured out one thing in my time as a trainer, it’s that women want nice butts. Men want nice butts too.  Who doesn’t like a nice butt?

Call it ridiculous, call it vain… whatever. I guarentee that 95% of people that workout do it to look good n’kked.

Why are people so afraid to admit that??

But I digress…

Anyway… I LOVE training the glutes. Not only do strong buns look nice, they’re absolutely vital for low back and knee health. Plus, because they’re so strong… training them just feels bad-ass. Today I’m going to give you some programming tips on what to do to shape up that booty (and it has nothing to do with Brazil). The training style actually has a lot of similarities to body-building style; because after all we are trying to get your butt bigger and more shapely.

STEP 1: Turn your butt on!

There’s no possible way to go from pancake-ass to bootylicous when you sit all day with turned off glutes. They simply get underutilized, under stimulated, and basically under developed. You’d be surprised how difficult it can be for some people to actually feel a contraction in their butt. This is where you might need a little help. If this is you, you need to stay at step one for a few weeks, until you can really contract the glutes without too much thought or effort. Eventually step one will be your warm up.

a) Side-lying Clams

Your glutes do 2 things: Extend your hips and externally rotate your femur. Here we are working on that external rotation. The trick is to keep the range of motion small and not let your top hip roll open. You’ll feel this in a very specific ‘side butt’ spot. Repeat 20x/side

b) Glute bridges

I’ve written alot about the hip bridge. I think it one of the most vital warm ups anyone can perform, whether you’re a gym newbie or an Olympic class lifter.

This one you really have to think about clenching the cheeks. Crack that walnut! What often goes wrong with this is that the hamstrings will take over and that’s a harmful muscular imbalance. Try doing the bridge with your feet together and knees out. This will again put you into external rotation and help fire the correct muscles. If you feel it more in your quads, try elevating your feet on a bench or box.

c) Hip flexor soft tissue work/Active stretch

It’s as simple as this: tight hip flexors will limit your range of motion and your ability to contract your glutes. If you can’t contract your glutes you can’t make them bigger!!

d) Banded bird dog or bird dog against wall.

e) Body weight single leg deadlift

In my opinion, nothing gets the glutes like the single leg deadlift. It’s best to start without weight so you can get the pattern down. Notice how the knee is slightly bent but the shin stays vertical, butt goes back, shoulders stay square, and spine stays neutral.

STEP 2: Lift some weights!

There are TONS of exercises that work the glutes, and I’m going to save the obvious ones for another day (squat, deadlift, and lunge). But here are some main lifts that you’ve probably never tried, and they’re aimed to get the most bang out of your booty-lifting buck.

a) Barbell Hip Thrusts

I don’t like to use the word isolate, but for lack of a better term the hip thrust is best way to isolate the glutes. If you have bumper plates available at your gym, they are the easiest to set up with, as getting into position can get awkward. Otherwise you’ll need a buddy to help you get under the bar until you’re strong enough for the 45’s.

There are obviously pre-cursors and regressions for this exercise which are sometimes a necessity, but alot of people have no problem doing/feeling these correctly with the right load.

b) Pull-Throughs

The pull through is actually a variation of the deadlift, but obviously the weight is loaded differently. All the same cues go for the pull through as the deadlift.

c) Kettlebell Swings

KB swings have many many benefits, and one of them is the intense glute contraction it requires. Think if it as an explosive deadlift. In the video, she keeps looking forward as she’s in the bottom position; try to fight that and keep your neck aligned. I often use the cue “Look down when you’re down, ahead when you’re up.”

d) Eccentric Step-Downs

In theory, we are stronger eccentrically than we are concentrically. In the eccentric step downs (or 3 second step downs) you focus on regular tempo going up, and fighting gravity for 3 seconds on the way down. This is very challenging so start with a smaller box if your having trouble.

e) Lateral Lunge

The lateral lunge gets the glutes in a different plane of motion than all of the other exercises. It’s important to work the lateral muscles in the legs and hips, and this is one of the best exercises for that purpose. It takes a significant amount of mobility, flexibility and control to complete a lateral lunge, so shorten the range of motion and/or depth if you find this difficult to do properly. Make sure you keep a neutral spine and load your posterior chain by sitting back.

3) Put it all together. 

You may be thinking that you have no idea how to organize all this mambo-jambo. Have no fear… I’m gunna do that for you. Your job is to customize it with your own weights as it’s all relative to your baseline strength. Just make sure you keep track each week to ensure your improvement.

Warm up: (to do after personalized warmup)
1) Foam roll as much as possible
2) Glute bridges 12x
3) Bird dogs 16x
4) T-spine rotation (hand on head) 10x/side
5) 1/2 kneel to Stand 5x/side
6) Squat to Stand 10x
7) Plank 30s

8) Kettlebell Swings 15x

(med) (low) (high)
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Weight Used
1A) Pull Throughs 3×8 4×8 3×12 Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Weight Used
1B) Barbell Deadlift 3×8 4×4 3×12 Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Weight Used
1C) Plank Birddog with pushup 3×8 4×4 3×12 Week 1  n/a
Week 2
Week 3
Weight Used
2A) Banded lateral walks 3×8 4×8 3×12 Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Weight Used
2B) Shoulders el. hip thrusts 3×8 4×10 3×12 Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Weight Used
2C) Single Arm push press 3×4/side 4×4/side 3×6/side Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Weight Used
3A) Eccentric Step down 3×4/side 4×4/side 3×6/side Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Weight Used
3B) Single Leg Deadlift 3×4/side 4x/side 3×8/side Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Weight Used
3C) Bent over row 3×8 4×8 3×12 Week 1
Week 2
  Week 3

Conclusion

Obviously these are all pretty advanced strength exercises, so find a trainer if you feel like you’re not sure how to execute them properly. These can also all be done starting with just your body weight to help build up your strength before using barbells or free weights.

Enjoy the program and get those glutes of steel!!

I ❤ Butts

-L

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