Kim Kardashian. Jennifer Lopez. Pretty much any fitness account on Instagram……
They’re everywhere. Girls with lifted, toned, shapely, larger than life butts. We see them and we wonder, “How can I get one?” Is it surgery? Is it genetics? Is it squats?
Well, the answer is most likely all of the above… yes, some girls do have butt implants. And yes, some are just born with alot more to work with than others. But you CAN build a booty from scratch. Squats will help, but there’s so much more to it than that.
Your booty is made up of 3 major muscles: the Gluteus Maximus, Minimus and Medius. In order to achieve those #GluteGains, you’ve got to work all three. This means performing exercises that hit the butt from every angle, using variations of lunges, deadlifts, lateral squats, single leg movements, presses, kicks, hip thrusts, etc etc.
I give you all the right exercises in the Build a Booty Workshop that will make your booty pop. But to get the most bang for your butt… err, I mean buck… you must know the secrets and apply them accordingly.
Follow these 5 rules to watch your booty grow to diva proportions:
1. In every exercise, keep the weight in your HEELS.
I can’t stress this enough! This doesn’t just apply to squats. In EVERY single booty exercise, you MUST push through your heels. Anytime your weight starts shifting to your entire foot or toward your toes, your quads will take over and your butt won’t be doing any of the work.
Most women are “quad dominant” which means they have a tendency to use the front of their legs when doing everything from walking, bending over to pick up the laundry basket or the baby, and when they are doing lower body exercises. Time and time again I see women in the gym working so hard to sculpt a booty, but completely wasting their efforts as I watch their weight shift to the front of their body.
Lift your toes up inside your shoes. This will force all the weight into your heels. When you are lunging to the front, side or back, when you are performing hip thrusts, deadlifts, pistol squats, jumps squats and everything in between… keep your toes lifted inside your shoes and push through your heels in every single exercise.
2. Flex Your Feet
This tip is to be applied when you are performing exercises like cable kickbacks, lateral leg raises, donkey kicks, and anything with a resistance band. For example, when that band or cable is wrapped around your ankles and you are lifting your leg straight out to the side or behind you (lateral raises or kickbacks) keep that foot flexed and LEAD the movement with your heel.
This will force the muscles up the back of the leg and into your booty to take over most of the work. Anytime your foot comes off the ground, raise your leg, squeeze your glutes, flex your foot and lead the movement with your heel.
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3. Establish a Strong Mind Muscle Connection
Movement is controlled by the brain. The more you can improve this communication, the more muscle fibers you will recruit. Try doing a few warm-up sets (high reps of 15-20) with a very low weight. Close your eyes and concentrate on your target muscles. (Hamstrings and Butt) Concentrate on “squeezing” the weight and pause for a moment at the point of maximum contraction. Close your eyes and imagine relaxing the rest of your body and ONLY using your booty to perform the movement.
When you’re not concentrating on using ONLY the muscles you wish to target, but instead just focusing on getting through the reps and sets, other muscles take over. This is especially true if you are weak in your glutes.
Your hamstrings and quads will compensate, and unless you are fully aware of the mind muscle connection, you won’t even realize it. Practice your mind muscle connection by performing warm up sets, using a lighter weight and performing the exercise every slowly. Close your eyes and really feel your glutes pushing through the movement. Concentrate on every rep.
4. Maintain Tension Throughout the Exercise
You never want to lock out your legs during your glute training. Keeping tension on the muscle is a quick way to get it to grow!
For example, as you squat down, stand up and squeeze your glutes but keep your knees soft. Or during a leg press, push the platform out with your heels but don’t let your legs completely straighten out. Same thing with lunges or step ups… as you come up to a standing position, keep a slight bend in your knee.
The minute you straighten your legs and lock your knees out, you’ve taken the weight off your muscles. Keep your knees soft, you can rest between sets.
5. Go Low and Wide
This applies to so many great booty exercises. Keeping your feet wide (hip width apart or wider) will target your butt best, and going low will force the booty muscles to be recruited for the heavy lifting.
How low should you go? That depends a lot on your levels of hip and lower-back stability and mobility. But your glutes will definitely benefit from going down to a point where your knees are bent at least 90 degrees, or what is usually called “parallel.” If you can get that low without rounding your back, that’s probably low enough.
Now go, my diva booty brigade, and put these principles into practice. The glutes are sure to grow before your very eyes!