Beyonce invented a special term for it, Shakira shakes it like nobody else can, Jennifer Lopez got it insured, Kim Kardashian literally makes money off it and Nicki Minaj loves to sing songs about it. Having a perky, well-rounded, muscular booty is considered the ultimate benchmark of sex appeal.
A highly competitive beauty pageant is held every year in Brazil just to spot the woman with the best posterior in the country. The one who wins is given the title of Miss Bum Bum and hauled overnight into the world of fame and money. Suzy Cortez, Miss BumBum winner 2015 attributes her win to rigorous dieting, daily three hour workouts which included 300 weighted squats in each session and several cosmetic nips and tucks to get herself in the best form possible.
While punishing exercise regimes or surgery to get an ogle-worthy butt may not be on your priority list, here are a few legit reasons why you DO need to invest in training your derriere at least a couple of times every week.
- Adds power to your posture
Too much sitting is ruining everybody’s backside. More and more people are developing the inability to engage or contract the largest muscle group of their body during any physical movement. Weak glutes and tight hip flexors ruin postural alignment as one tends to either walk with a swayed back or forward hunch, developing the appearance of a pot belly even in the absence of any excess belly fat.
That barely sounds like the compelling gait of a body confident person!
- Protects your joints from unnecessary wear and tear
Weak gluteal muscles directly put greater pressure on your knees. Whether jumping, running or even walking, your knees will tend to cave inwards in the absence of strong posterior muscles to counterbalance the overactive and overcompensating quadriceps. This is likely to lead to knee pain, hip pain, lower back pain and decreased mobility much sooner over time.
- Boosts athleticism
A powerful body that runs like a well-oiled machine has the bullet proof foundation of balanced symmetry. The maximum power is generated in the body by gluteus maximus contraction. So whether you want to sprint faster, jump higher, squat more weight, improve climbing skills, swing your body with greater momentum or quickly cut sideways to dodge a speeding object, you better have powerful glutes!
Glute training for both aesthetics and performance
Those who think that regular running will help correct imbalances by themselves could not be more misguided. Cardio in the absence of resistance training is likely to bring you closer to having a flat or worse a saggy butt.
While the squat is often attributed as the best exercise to build a strong posterior chain, people who tend to sit a lot and are not very active may face difficulty in engaging their glutes and hamstrings properly while performing this popular exercise. The following exercises will directly hit your rear to gain much needed lean muscle for a gravity defying booty while also improving your ability to squat with perfect form.
- Weighted Hip Thrust – This is probably the only exercise that directly isolates the glutes. It also aids in correcting imbalances for those who might find themselves quad-dominant yet weak in engaging their posterior chain.
If you suffer from tight, inflexible hips, this exercise is best served as a part of a mobility drill performed without the use of any additional weight.
Those who are not yet comfortable with the use of a barbell may simply use a weight plate placed on their thighs.
Exercise tutorial is provided below.
- Sumo Squat – This is a great squat variation which not only activates the glutes but also tones the inner thighs and strengthens the lower back while improving the body’s overall range of motion.
This exercise is best performed in a deliberate, controlled motion. Keep your chest up as you descend down and push from your heels as you stand back up without letting your shoulders slouch forward.
- Walking Lunges – Bodyweight lunges are multipurpose dynamic stretches that prepare your lower body for just about any kind of physical activity and are considered an essential element of functional training.
Adding resistance will improve your balance; help you strengthen your core along with the ligaments around your joints apart from setting you up to look fabulous in skinny jeans!
- Romanian Deadlift – People with a weak posterior chain often struggle to keep their knees steady and prevent them from buckling inwards while performing different variations of the squat or the lunge.
The Romanian deadlift is a great exercise because it takes the knees out of the equation by using the hip hinge to work the glutes and hamstrings and makes it possible to train with much heavier loads to build muscle.
However, one needs to be very careful of not losing the natural curvature of the spine as you hinge forward. Consciously work on keeping your spine neutral.
- Cable Kickbacks – This is another great glute isolation exercise to not only firm up a flabby bum fast, but also enables serious runners to run with greater speed and power.
Putting your foot inside an ankle cuff attached to a cable machine, kick back while keeping the rest of your body as steady as possible. You should primarily feel this exercise in your glutes.
If you feel a considerable strain in your lower back or feel it more in your abs, then your core is not strong enough to perform this exercise with resistance.
Go back to performing this exercise on the floor without the use of any additional weights.
- Bulgarian Split Squat – This exercise is brutal enough when performed without any weights. Upon adding resistance, you make this compound exercise even harder but on the upside while working the glutes, it will also help with gaining better balance and stability that correlates to ankle, knee and hip mobility.
Apart from the freedom to train your legs unilaterally to ensure that both legs develop equal strength and one does not activate in bilateral movements more than the other, this exercise will also get you closer to getting washboard abs.