How to build a booty
Let’s talk about your bum. Your booty. Your butt.
Whether you’re looking to gain a bit more shape, build more size or increase the strength in your glutes, everyone could benefit from a strong derrière.
The glutes are the largest muscle group in the lower body and are made up of the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus. They play an important role in simple activities such as standing, walking, running and jumping and more complex moves such as sprinting, climbing and lifting.
Whether you’re looking to build your booty for a sporting goal, practical reasons or aesthetically, I’ve got some top tips to get you there.
#1 – Make sure you’re engaging the right muscles
If you’re doing a lower body exercise with your glutes in mind but are only feeling it through your quads or hamstrings, check your technique.
For example, you might have mastered a squat and be quite happy doing them over and over but let’s make sure that you are activating your glutes as well as your quads while you’re squatting.
Try these few technique tips to activate the glutes while squatting: take your feet slightly wider than your shoulders – a wider stance will activate your posterior chain a little more, meaning hamstrings and glutes. Make sure you’re sitting your bum back and down (as if you’re sitting down onto a chair) and your heels are grounded while you do. Aim to get your thighs parallel to the ground or deeper if you can – squatting below a 90 degree angle will work your glutes harder on the upwards phase of the squat.
#2 – Lift heavy
If you’re really serious about sculpting your booty, a big muscle (ie your glutes) will need some big weights to make a difference. It’s time to lift heavy.
Exercise physiologist Janet Hamilton says, “Women are sometimes a little hesitant to lift heavy weights because they fear they’ll get ‘bigger. But in order to challenge a large muscle like the glutes, you should lift to the point of fatigue. That usually means heavier weights.”
Heavy weight shouldn’t come at the detriment of good technique. Yes, the last few reps of a set of heavy exercises should be challenging, muscles should be heated and you should be fatiguing but as soon as you start to lose your form, please stop there.
#3 – Keep the high rep and low weight exercises too
Without wanting to confuse you (because I’ve just said you need to lift heavy to shape your booty) I’m going to recommend that you also keep the high repetitions of low weight or body weight exercises in there too for maximum booty building!
Why both? I hear you ask. It all comes down to slow twitch and fast twitch muscle fibres. Without getting too scientific, your body is made up of two types of muscle – those with slow twitch (or type I) fibres or those with fast twitch (or type II) fibres. Each muscle type responds better to a different training style.
Slow twitch muscles respond best to sets of high repetitions and long endurance – think running and cycling style exercises. Fast twitch muscles fatigue faster but respond best to high load, low repetitions of exercises – think the heavy lifting I just spoke about above and power sprinting.
Research has shown that the glutes are made up of a fairly even balance of both slow twitch and fast twitch muscle fibres, so it makes sense that to build them to their maximum potential you should be doing both low repetitions with high weight and high repetitions with low weight.
#4 – Don’t forget to rest
Rest is super important in order for muscles to recover and gain strength as they do. Heavy lifting and a high volume of strength exercises leads to muscle breakdown and then muscle growth, but the muscle growth part will only happen if you allow the muscles the recovery time they need.
Try leaving a day or two between booty training sessions rather than trying to training them every day. Over training can lead to injury and that’s the last thing we want when the booty is involved.
If you’re looking for some glute specific exercises, give the below a go:
Weighted step ups (using a knee-high step)
Lunges with your back foot elevated
Hip thrusts using the Smith machine
Glute bridge holds
Long step walk lunges holding a weight
Split stance squat
Single leg squats