When we typically think of body-image issues, we tend to think of people’s desire to be thin. For some however, being underweight is just as distressing as being overweight. A skinny butt in particular can leave both women and men feeling inadequate. Your butt gets its shape primarily from the gluteus maximus, a large, round hip extensor muscle. Spend at least 20 minutes, three days a week on non-consecutive days building a round, head-turning backside.
The squat is a powerful butt-builder, because it activates the gluteus maximus in a basic, compound exercise. You can squat with a barbell across your shoulders, dumbbells in your hands, or no weight at all. To do a squat, stand straight up with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Start the movement by pushing your hips back as you bend your knees. Arch your lower back as you squat, keeping your head and chest up. When your hip and knee joints are at around 45 degrees, stand back up. Work to fatigue and increase the number of reps over time.
Constantly training your legs together can allow imbalances to develop. Step-ups allow you to maintain balance by training each glute separately. Start with a step or platform between 12- and 20-inches high. To get into the start position, place one foot on top of the step and the other flat on the floor. Without hopping or pushing off with the trailing leg, start the step-up by gradually shifting your weight to your front foot and stepping up until you are standing on the step. Return to the start position by lowering yourself in a smooth, controlled motion. You finish an entire set on one foot before switching, or switch feet on each repetition. Work to fatigue and increase the number of reps over time.
Straight Leg Deadlifts
Straight leg dead-lifts are an effective exercise to build your glutes because they require a powerful hip extension. To execute a straight leg dead-lift, stand straight up with a barbell or dumbbells in your hands. Bend forward at the hips as if you are bowing to someone. Keep your legs straight, but do not lock your knees. When your hip joint reaches about 90 degrees, stand back up. Work to fatigue and increase the number of reps over time.
Eat to Grow
Your glutes are just like any other muscle in that they need protein and calories to grow. To support your training, add calories to your diet by way of lean proteins such as chicken breasts, egg whites and tuna. Fuel your workouts with complex carbs like oatmeal, brown rice and sweet potatoes.
- ACE Personal Trainer Manual: The Ultimate Resource for Fitness Professionals, 3rd Edition by Cedric X. Bryant and Daniel J. Green
- Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning - 3rd Edition; National Strength and Conditioning Association