Are you doing set after set of squats hoping to build up your butt? Let me tell you straight — you’re wasting your time!
Squats have become hugely overrated when it comes to building a booty!
Please don’t feel foolish though. It’s easy to have been bullied into believing squats are the be-all and end-all of booty building.
The championing of squats by certain Facebook groups — those that post picture after picture of bubble butt-bestowed babes with captions like ‘squat like your ass depends on it’ — has created an aura around this particular exercise that I don’t believe it deserves.
First of all, for any girl to make it onto a page like this you need to realise she is almost certainly a genetic freak.
Just think about this for a second. I bet you have a friend who has a large shapely behind, yet they’ve never set foot in a gym. Now just imagine what would happen if that friend spent a few years in the gym training their butt. Voila!
If, however, you’re not so genetically gifted in this area, do not despair! There are a number really effective exercises to build a rotund rear.
But before we get onto those, let’s first understand why squats aren’t all you should be doing if you weren’t born with a bubble butt.
Why squats aren’t the best exercise for building a booty
Sure, squats are an excellent exercise — i’m not denying that!
Squats are a compound movement making them a go-to exercise for building good legs. Plus, a full squat makes use of loads of big muscles, making it a great fat-burning exercise.
However, when performing a regular back squat, your glutes (the muscles that make up your bum) are barely used at all!
Your glutes might come into play at the bottom of the movement if you squat really deep with perfect technique (we’re talking hips below your knees at the bottom), but let’s face it, a lot of people can’t squat really deep or get the technique bang on, especially when just starting out.
You might also be thinking that you can activate your glutes by squeezing them near the top of the squat — you’re totally right in thinking that! But at this point there is very little load on them, which is not ideal for building a bubble butt (we’ll get onto that later).
In fact squats are much more effective at building your quads (the muscles on the front of your thighs) than your butt. So if you’re after bigger legs then go and squat, otherwise read on…
How your butt works
If you really want to train your butt properly you really need to understand how the muscles that make it up work.
What you need to understand when trying to build up your buttocks is that your glutes have not one, but three key functions:
- Hip extension – moving your leg forwards and back.
- Hip external rotation – rotating your leg and foot out to the side.
- Hip abduction – raising your leg out to the side.
The regular back squat (and popular isolation exercises such as the glute kickback) is mainly a hip extension movement — yet another reason why squats aren’t the awesome ass-assimilator they’re made out to be.
So unless you’re a genetic freak, you’ll need to factor in all these movements into your workouts to build that butt.
Those might seem like a foreign language to you, so let’s move on to some real-world exercises so that you can start making those elusive glute gains you’ve always wanted.
The REAL way to build a booty
Building a booty really isn’t that complicated. It all comes down to breaking down the muscle in the gym and fuelling it for growth in the kitchen.
We’ve broken it down into 5 simple steps to get you started on your mission to put mass on that ass.
Step 1: Wake the sleeping giant
Most of us spend most of our day sitting down: commuting to work by car, bus or train, sitting at our desks in the office or when studying for school, college or University, sitting down to eat dinner and sitting to watch TV.
If that’s not you then count yourself lucky!
For the rest of us who sit down most of the day, our glutes are “switched off” most of the time. They get used to not having to do anything — they get lazy!
This means that when you start training in the gym your butt muscles will be very reluctant to do anything.
If you want to build your butt you got to practice activating those muscles. Otherwise, when you do our big lifts such as squats, deadlifts and hip thrusts, your glutes won’t wok like they should and the rest of your muscles will have to take up the slack — this is a very common cause of lower back pain.
Luckily glute activation is pretty quick and easy. Check out our 5 Best Glute Activation Exercises and start doing them before moving on to the following butt-building exercises.
Step 2: Pick better exercises
Now that you’ve got your glutes firing it’s time to put them to work!
Not all exercises were created equal when it comes to butt-building, so it’s important you focus on those which are best. Take note of our 6 Essential Exercises for a Bigger Butt and incorporate these into your workout programme.
But if you’re not sure how to get started with your workout programme to build a booty, then we’re here to help!
Sign up for your free 14-day Bikini Body plan to get two weeks of butt-building workouts and to try them out for yourself.
Step 3: Turn up the volume
Training your butt once a week simply isn’t going to cut it!
Your glutes require volume and intensity to grow. That simply means you need to train them hard and often.
Here’s some simple recommendations for how often you should be training your glutes if you want them to grow:
- Beginner (< 1 year in the gym): 2 times per week
- Intermediate (1-2 years in the gym): 3 times per week
- Advanced (2+ years in the gym): 4 times per week
You might think you don’t have time to hit glutes this often, but if that is the case you might need to cut down your cardio.
Step 4: Cut out the cardio
Long duration cardio such as jogging, cross-training or cycling for 30 minutes or more is a great way to lose muscle!
That’s right, long duration cardio is catabolic, meaning it breaks down muscle. That’s exactly the opposite of what you want to be doing if you want to build a booty.
Have you seen those ladies who are in the gym on the treadmill running for an hour every night. Take a closer look at them. They have NO butt!
If you want to build a butt you really need to focus all your efforts on building muscle. Ideally this means no cardio. Contrary to popular belief cardio is NOT needed to burn fat and it is NOT essential to stay in shape.
If you really must do cardio, stick to short duration high intensity interval training (HIIT).
Step 5: Fuel your body for success
The final piece of the puzzle is your nutrition. You can’t build a butt through weight training alone.
By training in the gym you create the demand for the muscle to grow, but only with proper rest and nutrition can the muscle recover, rebuild and grow.
Here’s the basics that you need to adhere to:
- Eat enough: If you’re you’re not eating enough your body cannot and will not grow!
- Protein: Eat 2.2g of protein per kg of lean body weight. Protein is essential for recovery and growth.
- Carbs: Eat plenty of healthy carbs, especially post-workout (sweet potatoes, potatoes, oats etc).
- Fats: Eat enough healthy fats (essential for healthy skin, nails, hair and hormones).
- Veggies: Eat at least a fist-sized portion of colourful veg with every meal to stay healthy, lean and detoxify your body.
- Water: Drink at least 2-3 litres per day to flush out harmful toxins and stay hydrated.
Hit these basics and you’ll be fuel your body for success!
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If you want to learn how to turn that pancake-butt into a round peachy posterior, download our free 14-day Bikini Body plan and get started today.