All Your Booties are My Children

I’ve said this to my classes before. All their booties are my children and I care deeply about raising them right.

To this end, I can usually tell how serious of an athlete someone is by their posterior chain development. They could have delts and abs for days, but if their back creates a straight line down to their achilles, then they’re not going to be much competition on any field, platform, or stage.

We’re talking about butts, guys! And if you don’t have one, you’re doing yourself a disservice to both your overall well being (back and knee pain down the road), and to your clothes (cause pants look better when they’re filled out).

LOAD IT UP!

If you want those muscles to grow, you have to give them a reason! If you’re doing the same thing over and over again, and I’m looking at the people toiling away on the stair climber, you’re not going to make any changes significantly from where you are now.

You can fake it for a while, but you’ll pay for it later. Ouch!

You don’t HAVE to use a barbell! You can use whatever you have available. Lunges and squats with your cat. Then over feed your cat and do it again! Or borrow the neighbor’s dog. Animals LOVE forced cuddles and you get to work your glutes!

But seriously, you want to add a weight so that whatever rep range you chose i leaves a burn and ideally some grunting towards the end of your set. That could be a moderate weight that you do upwards of 20 reps for. Or a heavier weight that you only do 8 reps for. Change it up, the more variety you give your body, the better your muscle will respond.

FULL RANGE OF MOTION

Your glutes cross the pelvis from your sacrum around to the outside of your femur, so the greater change you make int he angle of your femur to your pelvis, the more work (read: more growth) you ask of your glutes. Based on this, you could say there is a basic hierarchy of movements to enhance your backside.

Blah blah blah oblique angle of muscle fibers blah blah more force production blah blah

The greatest range of motion will obviously come with deep squats. Front squats, back squats, with kettle bells or barbells. Doesn’t matter. Use the load guide from above and mix it up. But either way, you have to squat and you have to squat deep! (Here is where I highly suggest getting a coach or trainer to watch your early squat workouts to make sure you’re not doing anything goofy with your back, knees, or ankles.)

He didn’t get that caboose on a stairmaster. #stopmanthighshaming

After that would be the partial range of motion movements: lunges and split squats. These usually only take your hip to about parallel, but because these are unilateral work, you can really focus on making sure strength and muscle development is even on both sides. You’ll find that early on, one side is stronger than another, which is just a side effect of being human. But this is also why doing one-sided movements are important.

And a smaller range of motion, but with high impact due it it’s explosiveness, is the kettle bell swing. A proper kettle bell swing, with emphasis on glue development, means you’re going to make this a true hip hinge. Keep your shins vertical, keep the bell swinging near your bits, and really pop that sucker forward. Go heavy and only swing as high as necessary. This is for higher reps, think 15-30 swings at a time.

Then you have your isolation work which also generally has the least range of motion. These are the mini-band glue walks and glue bridges. Singe these are isolations, I would recommend putting them at the end of your workout to “top off” your session in much the way ab work is often used as a finisher.

Pad that barbell, for real.

For the glue bridge, load up a barbell, use some bands, or whatever you can use for weight (your significant other?). Make sure you keep a hollow position in your trunk, if you arch your back out of it, you won’t be able to get a good glue squeeze. I like to do 10-15 reps with a 10 count hold on the last one.

Build up the butt shelf. Have a place to rest your beer.

Put a theraband around your ankles and/or around your knees. Do a side step walk, making sure not the drag your feet or let your knees collapse. I’ll usually ask for 15 steps in each direction as a warm up, and will have my powerlifters do 2-4 mins as a finisher.

FREQUENCY

All of these moves are tiring. And all of these moves will leave you breathing harder and probably a little (or very) sore the next day. At least if you’re doing them in a way that’s going to help, you’ll be out of breath and sore! But that’s why there is such a dearth of really great asses out there: this stuff is a lot of work! And if you can commit to high frequency early on to jump start it all, you can dial it back later for maintenance.

I would suggest starting with some combination of these movements three times a week. Give it at least 5 weeks of solid effort before you worry about not seeing anything. For whatever reason, in my experience, it takes about 4-5 weeks for me to see a return on my effort. And then week 6, watch out! You’ll have people looking at you differently for sure!