After I added heavy weightlifting into my training rotation, I became more and more interested in defining specific places on my body. Or, if I were being a wee bit more honest- I would admit that certain soreness (which led to finding alternative ways to sit down on the toilet) made me curious as to whether or not I could tone up, or better yet- create attributes I wish I had.
Okay- I wanted an ass. I have come to accept that I am not genetically predisposed to having a great booty. But wouldn’t be awesome to have some form of a booty? Is that possible? I found that, yes Virginia, it is possible. I also found that my girlfriends (even ones that I thought had nice derrieres) were not so pleased with their backsides after children either. Best Case Scenario: Their ass was completely MIA after children; and Worst Case Scenario: Glacial Shifting of the Booty (in which it slides off your back into your legs). I was the second case- and I regularly referred to my back side as “penguin ass”.
Another thing that was common when talking to friends: our tailbones, and even hip bones were hurting after sitting for too long… meaning there was nothing back there to sit ON.
So I researched exercises to get a nice booty- and while many, many exercises will affect it- there is a trifecta that really zones in on the Gluteus Maximus: Squats, Deadlifts, and Hip Thrusts.
Like everything else regarding exercise- you gotta crawl before you can walk. So when starting out, all of these exercises should be done without weight and with support. Slowly progress from body weight to loading up with barbells, kettlebells, or dumbbells… depending on the exercise. I now try to add at least one of the trifecta every time I work out. And- there are many variations on all three of these exercises that can be done: you can do front squats, back squats, Bulgarian split squats, pistol (one-legged) squats, goblet squats, sumo dead lifts, Russian dead lifts, american dead lifts, and the hip thrusts can modified for increased or decreased intensity as well. So what do these exercises look like and how do you do them? Here are some fabulous links to video tutorials that I think really outline how to perform them well, and how to remind yourself to maintain good form so that your legs don’t steal the workout from your butt. 🙂
Lets just go with the basics for all 3:
Box Squats with the Glute Guy: Bret Contreras : Bret is known as “The Glute Guy“. Sounds like a tough gig, eh? But he is really freaking smart about how to activate your glutes and really get a great workout from them. I also love him for the cues that he gives in his tutorials- like from this video “pretend someone is pulling your hips back with a rope”. Those cues really help me to keep from relaxing out of proper posture in many exercises. And he is pretty. That never hurts.
Deadlifts with Nia Shanks: This tutorial is on the Sumo Deadlift, which I think is the easiest to learn at first. I wasn’t all that flexible through my hips at first, and I was able to get the Sumo. The Sumo Deadlift is a wider stance- so that you can keep that your back flat and neutral, and reach that bar without actually performing a squat instead (something she mentioned in the video too). If you still can’t reach- don’t round your back and shoulders to get it! THAT WILL HURT LIKE A MOFO! Go get something to set the weight up on so that it is at a height that you can reach. (note that she can dead lift 330 pounds and is not big and bulky… It just bears repeating)
Hip Thrusts with Bret Contreras: Yep, Bret again… he is just so pretty. I kid. He just does such a great job at explaining not only how, but why. In addition, he is credited with inventing and popularizing the hip thrust (also known as “air humping”… okay I am the only one that calls it that… but it’s soooo what it looks like) so I figure he is probably the best source to go to. Tip: I think about tucking my tailbone under when I do these- to make sure I keep the flexion out of my back like he talks about. And while I am thinking about it- glute bridges are a great exercise to start with before you get going with the thrusts… and Marianne from myomytv gives a great tutorial on how to progress from bridges to thrusts (another one of those not bulky girls… go figure!)
So get on out there and make Sir-Mix-A-Lot proud! I will be back later to update with what I did for today’s workout. See you then!