Love her or hate her, It’s no secret that Kim Kardashian has brought back the booty. Yes, the big butt is back. So, how do you get yours?
Well there is obviously a genetic component, so if your parents are 100-metre sprint champions, top racehorses, or you just happen to be the child of Beyoncé (hi Blue if you’re reading), it’s going to come easily to you. If you don’t happen to have a rich, big-butted heritage then the next best thing is to do some butt-biased exercises.
Believe it or not, a review paper of multiple scientific studies has listed some of the most common lower limb exercises and how much each exercise activates the gluteus maximus muscle. The gluteus maximus muscle makes up the vast, vast majority of the buttocks, so if you train this muscle, it and your butt should increase in size. Therefore, this study tells us how much bang your getting for you butt (zing) with each of these exercises.
So, without further ado, here are the top five behind burning, posterior pleasing, derrière dominating exercises based on said scientific review:
Number five – the 4-point arm and leg raise:
A surprise inclusion I know! This exercise involves straightening the opposite arm and leg while in four point kneeling and let’s be honest, it looks pretty basic. However, by holding a band between the opposite arm and leg, significant resistance can be added to make this exercise more challenging. Much more challenging.
It’s likely that the arm being placed forward requires the glutes to activate in order to counteract this movement. Furthermore, there is a sling of muscles that run from one glute to the opposite arm via the back further causing those glutes to burn, baby burn. Just because you aren’t throwing around a load of weight with this one doesn’t mean you aren’t working those glutes hard (1)!
Number four – step-ups in reverse:
Imagine step-ups, only done backwards. You’ve just imagined step-ups in reverse – well done. This is the fourth best glute activator and once again, by adding dumbbells or a barbell to increase resistance it can be a really difficulty exercise(1).
Number three – squats or single leg squats:
We all thought this would be number one, didn’t we? Squats are probably the most popular exercise for increasing glute mass and they’re not bad, but they’re apparently not the best (1). Additionally, traditional barbell squats aren’t the best sort of squats. Yes, glute activation is greater when squats or single leg squats are performed against a wall, with a swiss ball behind the back, or on a supported barbell like a smith machine. This is likely since you are more able to sit back into the squat and move deeper (7), which more favourably activates the glutes. Again, you can add weights to make this as challenging as a barbell squat (6). Bloody ripper, bloody unreal!
Number two – deadlifts and single leg deadlifts:
Deadlifts are an awesome exercise and this is particularly true when it comes to activating the glutes (1). If you want a more challenging exercise, why not try deadlifts on a single leg? Single leg deadlifts are hard, but the video below describes how to progress into them easily.
Number one – front step-ups:
And coming in at number one is…………. believe it or not, the humble step-up (1). Yep, once again if you up the weight and push through the heel the tried and true step-up is the best exercise to fire up those glutes.
Ways to blast those glutes even more:
If you’re ass ain’t grass yet, then here are some scientifically proven ways to activate those glutes even more when performing the above exercises:
1. Add a theraband (rubber band) around the thighs so you have to actively keep the hips apart (2).
2. Perform the above exercises with a wide stance (feet slightly wider than hip width apart) and feet slightly turned out (3).
3. Draw in your belly button. A study has found this to activate the glutes more than when the tummy is relaxed (4).
4. Performing any of the above glute exercises while performing a front (anterior) raise with the arms increases glute activation. This is likely since placing the arms out in front requires the glutes to activate more in order to counteract this movement (5).
While the study I predominately based this article on hasn’t examined every single glute exercise that exists, it examines most and can give you a pretty good idea of what’s going to work. So good luck and remember to credit me when you’re bootylicious.
I hope this has been healthful.