Anatomy of the Glutes
Arguably the strongest muscle in the body, the
Whether you want it to be larger, smaller or rounder, the overall shape of your butt depends on three primary factors:
- The size of our
gluteus maximusmuscle. Remember that muscle mass is lean and doesn't take up a lot of space. Strengthening your glutescan improve muscle tone and result in a tighter, firmer appearance.
- How much fat lies on top of that muscle. As with any muscle group, it is not possible to selectively "spot reduce" this layer of fat from the buttocks, which means all the donkey kicks in the world won't burn away butt fat. However, all types of cardio exercise will help reduce your overall body fat.
- Genetic factors. Individuals are genetically predisposed to store fat in specific regions of their body—one of these regions is the buttocks. This is especially true for women, which is why women tend to have larger and rounder rear ends (often associated with femininity) than men. Genes also play a role in the shape of your butt. Genetics mostly determine whether your rear is heart-shaped, bubble, pear-shaped or flat. While you can slightly change your overall composition of body fat and muscle mass, you'll probably always have the same shape, just larger or smaller depending on changes in your body fat and muscle tone
Contrary to popular opinion, weight training is unlikely to make a woman's butt bigger. The average woman doesn’t "bulk up" from strength training because she lacks a significant amount of the hormone testosterone, which is essential to developing large amounts of muscle. It would take hours of time in the gym on a daily basis, strict eating habits, and use of steroids for most women (and men) to achieve a bodybuilder physique. Due to these facts, I recommend women use heavier weights with fewer repetitions when training their
Six Butt-Blasting Moves to Try
For a shoestring budget, you can't go wrong with these efficient moves. Remember that form and technique are critical for optimal results and for minimizing the risk of injury. Maintain slow, controlled movements instead of using momentum, and focus on the quality of each repetition over the quantity of reps. Unless otherwise specified, do two to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions for each exercise, three times a week (resting at least one day between workouts).
Step-Ups: Stairs are found everywhere—work, college campuses, homes—and they're like free exercise equipment. To target your glutes while going up stairs, remember to push down with your heel while straightening your leg. Alternate legs or do all your reps on one leg, then switch.
- Lunges: For added effectiveness, lift your front toes off the floor, which shifts your weight onto the heel, thereby increasing the work of the
glutes. This quick fix prevents pressing down on your toes, which targets the quads.
- Squats: You can’t beat this classic butt-strengthening exercise. Try single-leg squats
to increasethe challenge or hold onto dumbbells for added resistance.
Glutebridges: Challenge yourself by performing the bridge with one foot as you get stronger, or add a stability ball for variety.
- Quadruped leg lifts: On your hands and knees, tuck your belly button to your spine to stabilize your torso and spine. Lift one leg up, keeping the knee bent at 90 degrees, until the upper leg is parallel to the ground. For greater effectiveness, straighten the leg. This creates more resistance and prevents the hamstrings from taking over the work
fromthe butt muscles.
- Stair climbing: Like the strengthening step-ups above, climbing stairs as a means of cardio also targets the butt. In fact, any incline (such as a hill or an inclined treadmill) works the
glutesmore than walking or running on a flat road. Since cardio is important for helping reduce body fat, get more out of your booty-shaping plan by adding some inclines or stairs to your cardio plan.