Building that booty
Along with fitness goals of weight loss, muscle gain, and increased athletic performance, there are those that want to build the perfect set of glutes. Indeed, a nice booty is not only aesthetically pleasing, it can make significant differences in strength and performance. Being the biggest set of muscles in the body, the glutes are responsible for proper hip function and power production. As such, it is important to train them the proper way for that perfect booty.
Image: Power athletes, such as baseball players, Olympic weightlifters, require strong and developed gluteus muscles for optimal performance. Likewise, team sports such as soccer and American football require strong gluteus muscles to prevent hamstring and ACL injuries.
What are the Glutes?
The glutes are a set of muscles around the hip region. They are responsible for proper mobility and stability of the hips. The most recognized glute muscles are the Gluteus Maximus and Gluteus Medius. However, deep within the hips, there are smaller muscles that help the larger glute muscles, including the Gluteus Minimus, Obturator internus, Piriformis, and the Gemeli muscles. These muscles together act to help the hips in extension and external rotation. Alternatively, muscles of the inner thigh and hip flexors aid the Gluteus in internal rotation and adduction.
Image: You can see how many muscles are tied to the hips and how complicated it gets!
Does knowing this matters?
I do not want to get caught in the semantics of all the muscles within the hips. The only goal here is to demonstrate the the body has formed a series of muscles to help coordinate the hips. While there are way to best isolate certain areas, there is really no reason to try and isolate any specific gluteus muscles. Instead, what should be focused on is the entirety of the glutes and how to best target them.
What does matter?
There are a few things to note about the glutes that can be beneficial in training them.
1. As with most muscles, it is important to train them in a full range of motion. This implies the ability to allow the adductors (Inner thigh muscles) and hip flexor muscles to be engaged as well. When these muscles contract, internal rotation is established, which thereby primes the gluteus muscles to contract during the contraction phase of a repetition through a bigger range of motion. The bigger the range of motion is used for the glutes, the better for the potential growth.
2. Because the glutes are powerful muscles, it is important to train them relatively heavy. They do not grow to big rep ranges and long distance cardio routines. A growing booty needs to tackle heavy loads.
3. Perhaps most importantly, the gluteus need to be addressed through compound exercises and quality movements. Do not get hung up in perform 20-odd exercises each designed to target a specific glute muscle; less is more. If you are not performing heavy compound exercises like squats and deadlifts, then you are selling yourself short and potentially wasting time. Doing exercises like hip banded shuffles and using abductor machines work fine, but only after the first boxes are check. Even then, they should be trained with a purpose and kept to a quality standard over a quantity standard.
How to address growing glutes!
If growing your glutes is a priority, here is a sample to supplement into your program:
Day 1 (Monday)
Squats: 3x5-10 reps
Hyperextensions: 3x10-15 reps
Banded Shuffles: 3x15-20 reps each side
HIIT Sprints: 6x10"/50" rests
Stiff Leg Deadlifts: 3x5-20 reps
Walking Lunges: 3x10-15 reps
Lying Leg Curls: 3x15-20 reps
HIIT Sprints: 6x10"/50" rests
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