Are boring old squats and lunges the extent of your butt workout? Do you even have an organized plan to attack your drooping bottom line?
While there’s nothing wrong with these staples, you could be getting a lot more bang for your butt by using a more effective set of exercises.
It’s time to turn the other cheek and put your trust in the able hands of an in-demand personal trainer and best-selling author of The MAX Muscle Plan.
Although they’re super popular, basic squats and lunges do not earn top spots on my list of the 10 best butt exercises. I suggest alternative versions of these movements combined with targeted single-joint exercises.
Squats and lunges are excellent lower body exercises, but modifying these exercises can produce superior activation of the glutes (a more scientific name for your bottom).
A well-formed derriere mandates more isolated exercises as well. The quadriceps take over a much greater amount of stress multi-joint movements. When one muscle takes away a lot of stress, it’s not going to maximally fatigue the other muscles like the glutes. This will reduce development of the muscle. In most cases, the quads fatigue before the glutes.
This is where the single-joint movements come into play. They specifically target the glutes without much if any quadriceps activation. Thus, the glutes can be maximally fatigued, thereby enhancing development. What’s more, if you just perform squats and lunges you’ll ultimately shortchange the all-important gluteus medius and minimus muscles.
Remember, the gluteals are comprised of three distinct muscles. For a well-formed posterior, you need to work them all.
You should have a variety of exercises that work the butt from various angles and planes of movement. And forget about doing endless repetitions. If you can do more than 15 reps without muscle fatigue, it’s time to add more weight or resistance to the exercise.
Incorporate my picks for the best butt exercises, put in the requisite effort, and in a few short months you’ll be ready to unveil a tighter, shapelier backside. Better yet, you may lose a few pounds in the process! Be sure to always rest 48 hours between workouts.
- Romanian Deadlift: Grasp a straight bar and let it hang in front of your body. Assume a shoulder-width stance and brace your core so that your lower back is maintained in neutral position. Keeping your knees bent at about a 20-degree angle, bend forward at the hips and lower the barbell down as far as comfortably possible without rounding your back. Reverse direction, contracting your glutes as you rise upward to the start position.
- Lateral Band Walk: Secure a resistance band around your ankles and assume a shoulder-width stance. Keep your posture erect, bend your knees slightly and while maintaining tension on the band, lift your right foot and step laterally to the right. Lift the left foot and bring it towards the first so that you return to a shoulder-width stance. Continue stepping laterally for the prescribed number of repetitions, then repeat the process on the opposite side.
- Deficit Reverse Lunge: Grasp two dumbbells and allow them to hang down by your sides, palms facing your body. Assume a shoulder-width stance on a small step or box, shoulders back and chin up. Take a long step backward with your right leg and lower your body by flexing your right knee and hip. Continue your descent until your right knee is almost in contact with the floor. Reverse direction by forcibly extending the right hip and knee, bringing the leg forward until you return to the start position. Perform the move the same way on your left, then alternate between legs until the desired number of repetitions is reached.
- Good Morning: Begin by resting a barbell across your shoulders. Assume a shoulder-width stance and keep your lower back taut throughout the movement. Slowly bend forward at the hips until your body is roughly parallel with the floor. In a controlled fashion, slowly reverse direction, contracting your glutes as you raise your body up along the same path back to the start position.
- Hip Thrust: Sit on the floor with a barbell positioned over your shins and align your upper back across a secure padded bench or step, feet approximately shoulder-width apart. Roll the barbell over your thighs so it rests at your hips (if the bar causes discomfort, consider using a pad or towel around the bar). Brace your core and forcefully extend the hips until the torso is parallel with the ground and a hip-neutral position is reached. Hold the contracted position for a moment then return to the start position.
- Bulgarian Split Squat:Grasp two dumbbells and allow your arms to hang down by your sides, palms facing your hips. Stand approximately two feet in front of a raised object (such as a bench or chair) and place your right instep on top of the object. Your back should be straight, head up, chest out. Keeping your front foot flat on the floor, slowly lower your body until your left thigh is approximately parallel to the ground. Your lower back should be slightly arched and your left heel should stay in contact with the floor at all times. When you reach a “seated” position, reverse direction by straightening your left leg and return to the start position. After performing the desired number of repetitions, repeat on the opposite side.
- Lateral Lunge: Assume a wide stance, approximately a foot or more past shoulder width. Grasp two dumbbells and hold one in front and one in back of your body. Keeping your left leg straight, slowly bend your right knee out to the side until your right thigh is parallel with the floor. Forcefully rise back up and repeat this process immediately on your left, then alternate between legs until the desired number of repetitions is reached.
- Dumbbell Step Up: Grasp a pair of dumbbells and allow them to hang at your sides. Stand facing the side of a flat bench with your feet shoulder-width apart. Pushing off your right leg, step up with your left foot and follow with your right foot so that both feet are flat on the bench. Step back down in the same order, first with your left foot and then with your right, returning to the start position. Continue alternate stepping for the desired number of repetitions.
- Glute Bridge: Lie face up on the floor, knees bent at a 90-degree angle, hands palms-down at your sides. Keeping your back straight, lift your hips off the floor. Contract your glutes and then return along the same path back to the start position. For a more challenging version, modify the movement to a single-leg bridge where you keep your right leg straight and left leg bent. Push off your left leg to lift your hips and perform the move as previously described. After completing the desired number of reps, repeat on the opposite side.
- Side Lying Hip Raise: Lie on your left side. Bend your left leg at a 90-degree angle and bring your left foot to rest underneath your right knee. Keeping your right leg straight, slowly raise it as high as comfortably possible while simultaneously lifting your left hip off the ground as far as comfortably possible. Contract your glutes and return to the start position. After finishing the desired number of repetitions, turn over and repeat the process on your left.
Brad Schoenfeld, MSc, CSCS, CSPS, is widely regarded as one of America’s leading fitness experts. Brad has appeared on hundreds of television programs and has been featured in virtually every major fitness magazine. His new book, The M.A.X. Muscle Plan, has received wide acclaim as the definitive guide to muscle building.
Click here (http://www.lookgreatnaked.com/ ) to check out his website.