Sporting more names than Beelzebub himself, it’s no wonder the backside gets so much attention.
Fanny, derriere, butt, bottom, buttocks, booty, bum, buns, back, backside, tush, rear end, keister, heinie, cheeks, badonkadonk, etc. etc. ET-CET-ER-A
No matter what you call it, it’s safe to say society is more than a little obsessed with the backside.
There are countless songs devoted to it. Instagram models are famous for it. Since the dawn of time, man has been chasing after it. And many women are simply mystified as to how to grow it.
Wonder no more.
The Truth About Backsides
Backsides are like snowflakes. No two are alike. And no matter how much you want to look like–insert your favorite celebrity here–chances are that’s not likely to happen. Some backsides that you think are real, actually aren’t. And some you aspire to, are not really within your reach.
The Top 3 Booty Types:
1. The Plastic Princess – Butt implants have become very popular in recent years. This quick-fix option has slowly but surely found its way into the mainstream, but is still predominately found among the celebrity crowd. Just keep in mind that some bottoms you think are real, are far from it.
2. The Genetically Blessed Gem – A lot of women you see with a great booty have great fat distribution. They are the fortunate ones who have the junk to fill out the trunk, minus the cellulite. Those that are able to build their glutes more easily than others also fall into the genetically blessed category.
3. The Workout Warrior – Then there are those who work their booty off to build their booty up. Building muscle is hard work, and depending on your genetics, some areas are harder to build than others.
Most of us will fall into category #3. A bigger, rounder bottom requires a lot of hard work. And that’s okay. A little hard work never hurt anybody.
Your rear end is actually made up of 3 different muscles. The Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius, and Gluteus Minimus. For this reason, the rear end is affectionately referred to as the “glutes” in the fitness realm.
The gluteal muscles have different attributes and functions:
- Gluteus Maximus – The largest muscle of the 3, and the largest muscle in the entire body. Mainly responsible for rear hip extension (walking, running, etc), and also plays a role in abduction (outward movement) and adduction (inward movement) of the legs.
- Gluteus Medius – AKA the upper glutes. Responsible for abduction of the legs.
- Gluteus Minimus – Lies just under the medius. Smallest of the gluteals. Aids the medius in hip abduction.
Get Your Rear in Gear
There are many exercises that hit the glutes nicely. Though, you definitely don’t want to do all of them in the same workout. Mix them up within your current routine, or build a routine around them.
Hip Thrusts / Glute Bridge
If you don’t have these on the menu, then you’re missing out. This is perhaps the most beneficial exercise for the glutes.
Setup: Place a bench or raised aerobics step perpendicular to where you will be working. Load a barbell with the weight you want to use. Note: if using a weight that doesn’t require the use of 45lb plates, use bumper plates. You will need the extra space between the barbell and the floor. (Dumbbells may be used in place of a barbell.)
How-to: Sit on the floor in front of your bench, roll the loaded barbell over your legs and place it across your pelvis. (A bar pad is excellent to use here.) Prop your mid back up on the bench. With the bar held tightly and your feet placed flat on the floor, lift your pelvis up until you make a straight line from your knees to your shoulders, squeezing your glutes at the top. Slowly lower the barbell back to the floor. Repeat.
Glute Bridges are done the same way, but without a bench. You will begin the movement with your back flat on the floor instead.
If you’ve never seen these done in your gym it’s probably due to the pain of setting up the exercise. But I promise it is worth the hassle.
Your glutes are braced throughout this movement, 1) to help protect your back 2) to help successfully lift the weight. Squeezing the glutes = booty gains.
Setup: Place a loaded barbell in your work area. If you’re using plates that are under 45lbs, use bumper plates instead.
How-to: Stand with your feet under the barbell so that it appears the bar runs across the laces of your shoes. Bend down and grab the bar and bend your knees until your shins touch the bar. Note: Do not lower your hips any further from this position, it doesn’t help, it only hinders the pull.
Brace your core, squeeze your glutes, hamstrings, and quads. Pull your shoulder blades back and down, keeping your arms straight and flex your triceps. Pull back and up on the bar (keep the bar against your legs throughout), pushing the floor away from you with your feet as the bar comes up. Pull the bar until you are standing upright and bring your hips through, locking your pelvis and squeezing your glutes.
This movement is related to the conventional deadlift. The main difference is you hinge at the hips, without bending the knees.
Setup: This movement is easiest to start with the loaded barbell on hooks in a squat rack.
How-to: If starting from the floor, begin the movement like the conventional deadlift.
If starting from the hooks in the rack, pick up the bar and step back into a ~hip width, or narrower, stance.
Brace your core, pull your shoulders back and down, squeeze your glutes. Bend forward at the hips with a straight back and a slight bend in the knees. Lower the bar along the front of your legs. At the bottom of the movement pull up and back on the bar, pulling the hips through at the top with a tight squeeze in the glutes. Repeat.
Lunges / Walking Lunges
Setup: Take a set of dumbbells and hold them down at your sides, or place a loaded barbell on your back.
How-to: Begin with a ~hip width stance. Step forward with one foot, lowering your back knee toward the floor and bending your front knee so that your thigh is about parallel to the floor, trying to achieve a 90 degree angle with the front knee. Do not let the back knee hit the floor. Push back up through the front heal and return to start. Repeat.
You may do several reps on one leg at a time, or alternate between the two.
Walking Lunges are done the same way, but with forward motion. After getting down into the lunge, push back up through the front foot while bringing your back foot forward into the next lunge, and go for as far, or long, as you can.
Bulgarian Split Squats / Static Split Squat
Setup: For the Bulgarian Split Squat you will need a bench or step. Place it behind you. Grab a set of dumbbells or place a loaded barbell on your back.
How-to: Place one foot on the step/bench behind you. The front foot should be far enough out front that you can sink into a lunge position like the one above, but with the back foot elevated.
From this beginning position, sink into a lunge, keeping your back foot cemented to the step/bench, lowering the back knee toward the floor without actually touching the floor. At the bottom of the movement, push back up through the heel of the front foot. Repeat.
Do all your reps on one side at a time.
The Static Split Squat is done the same way, minus the step/bench. Just keep your feet planted throughout the movement. This is not a regular lunge.
Step-Ups / Leg Press
Setup: You will need a bench, an aerobics step, or even a chair for this one. You can use a barbell, but dumbbells (in my opinion) work best.
How-to: Standing in front of your bench, place one foot in the center with the other foot on the floor, out a bit from the bench. Bend your back knee to get yourself a little lower, then push through your front foot, raising yourself up, squeezing the glutes of the working leg. Once at the top, immediately lower your back foot to the floor, careful not to crash down, controlling the movement. Repeat.
You can alternate legs or do all reps on one side at a time.
Step-ups are essentially a one-legged Leg Press. But I find it’s easier to get deeper into the movement when doing Step-Ups, which is great for glute gains. However, with the Leg Press you are able to move more weight. Try both and see which you like best.
You might wonder why I saved the back squat for last when all over the internet the squat is heralded as one of the greatest booty builders. Well, the squat is a great builder, but only if it’s done correctly.
For in-depth info on the back squat, including how to do it right, you can access my squat series here:
Just going through the motions with these exercises isn’t enough to grow your backside. You’ll need to challenge yourself by increasing your repetitions, sets, and/or weights whenever possible.
This Progressive Overload will help build the backside, otherwise you won’t see much in the way of results. Don’t be afraid to lift heavy!
If you don’t have access to a gym, that’s okay. Many of these exercises can be done at home, with or without weights.
A Great Backside is not Built on Exercise Alone
Eat For Gains
In order to build your glutes you must eat. Building muscle mass requires a calorie surplus.
Sure you can build muscle while eating at maintenance (the amount of calories your body needs to maintain your current weight), but the changes will be so slow.
Without visible changes occurring fast enough, it will be hard to hold onto your motivation.
For help on how much you need to eat to build muscle, or lose fat, take a look here.
Rest For Gains
Performing booty-blasting workouts every day is not going to get you the results you’re after. More is not better.
Just as your muscles require excess calories, they also need rest. The muscles need recovery time, during which they repair and grow, enabling you to give your workout 110% the next time.
With weight training it is always okay to take rest days. But don’t rest on your laurels. Keeping a consistent schedule is key to muscle growth.
Bringing up the Rear
Implement these exercises regularly to really focus on your backside. Remember, you don’t need to do all of them every workout.
Utilize Progressive Overload and calculate how many calories you need to get the best booty gains possible. EAT! If you want to increase the density of your derriere, you can’t be afraid to eat and lift heavy.
Do all of this consistently and you’re sure to see a bodacious backside emerge in no time.