There is no better feeling than reaching your weight loss goals. You feel lighter, healthier, younger and more attractive, and have a new lease on life. Losing a significant amount of weight, however, can leave behind the loose tissue that had previously stretched to make room for excess body fat. This can happen anywhere on the body, but the rear end proves problematic for many. Building up the glute muscles of the butt with targeted strength-training exercises can help fill up sagging skin while giving your buns a lifted and toned appearance.
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Whether you love them or love to hate them, squats are the ultimate exercise for developing the glutes. There are a variety of different types of squats, from a basic body weight squat to a weighted single-leg squat. The important thing is to choose the right squat for your experience and fitness level. Refine your technique with the body weight squat, then increase the challenge by adding weight and playing with single-leg variations.
Whichever type of squat you choose, the basic technique is the same.
- Keep your torso erect and your shoulders back and down.
- Send your hips way back and transfer weight into to your heels. Don't let your knees come in front of your toes.
- Squat to at least parallel or a little below.
- Squeeze the glutes as you rise back up to standing.
A note on squat depth and foot stance: One study reports that the deeper you squat the greater the glute activation. According to another study, widening your foot stance in your squat when lifting heavier weights can increase glute activation.
Hip thrusts may be even better than squats for activating the glutes, according to a 2015 study. Specifically, the research found that hip thrusts elicit greater activation of the gluteus maximus -- the largest muscle in your butt and your entire body! Building your glute max is a surefire way to fill up loose skin after weight loss.
You can do hip thrusts without weight to get the technique down. Adding weight with a barbell across the hips will help increase your muscular gains.
- Plant your feet firmly on the floor close to your glutes.
- Lift your hips all the way up, until your body forms one straight line from shoulders to knees.
- Pause at the top and squeeze your glutes.
Glute bridges are a great introductory exercise for hip thrusts. You can't effectively add much weight to them, so you'll eventually want to progress to hip thrusts to build more muscle.
- Keep your feet and knees hip-distance apart.
- Walk your feet in close to your glutes.
- Press through your heels.
- Lift your hips high.
- Pause and squeeze the glutes at the top.
Increase the challenge by doing single-leg glute bridges. Lift one foot, bend at the knee and place the ankle of that leg across the top of the thigh of the other leg. Do a set, then switch sides.
This is one of the only exercises that isolates the glute muscles. You can really feel the glutes working -- and growing bigger -- when you do these correctly. The best way to do . is with a cable machine. Attach an ankle strap to a low pulley and work each glute separately.
- Contract your abs.
- Keep your knees and hips slightly bent.
- Don't use momentum.
- Move in a slow and controlled manner, both as you extend out and as you return to starting position.
- Pause in full extension and squeeze the glute of the extended leg.
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: The effect of stance width on the electromyographical activity of eight superficial thigh muscles during back squat with different bar loads
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: The effect of back squat depth on the EMG activity of 4 superficial hip and thigh muscles.
- Journal of Apllied Biomechanics: A Comparison of Gluteus Maximus, Biceps Femoris, and Vastus Lateralis Electromyographic Activity in the Back Squat and Barbell Hip Thrust Exercises.
- Yuri Elkhaim: Barbell Hip Thrust: How to Do It (The Right Way)
- Yuri Elkhaim: The 19 Best Glute Exercises of All Time (The Definitive Guide)