|Posted on May 3, 2013 at 12:15 AM|
I love the butt! It's my favorite body part to shape, firm and lift. One of the reasons I love it so much is because it is made up of a group of muscles that are very responsive to training. Of course, as with anything in life, good results rest on a good foundation and good practices. You may already be doing exercises specifically to create or re-shape your backside but you're not seeing results. It's frustrating, I know! Here are the top 5 reasons why your dream booty remains just out of reach and some help to make the most of your training:
1. Your butt is turned off! I'd say 9 out 10 people I screen for glute activation, have lazy butts. If your glutes aren't working, you can squat, lunge and do hip extensions all you want, but you won't be working the booty. Do you generally feel these exercises in your legs (quadriceps and hamstrings) and not your butt? or do you suffer from low back pain (even when not exercising)? If yes, chances are very good that your butt is turned off. Glute activation is achieved through specific stretching and activation exercises, try these:
Hip flexor stretch (pic on the left): kneel on one knee (put a folded towel or yoga mat under your knee for comfort) and keep your kneeling hip over your knee, do not lunge forward. Tuck the toes on the foot of the kneeling leg under and push your hips strongly forward (again, no lunging). You should feel an intense stretch in the front of your hip and possibly in the front of your thigh. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds for each leg. Once you gain some flexibility here, you can increase the stretch by leaning your upper body back, while still keeping your hips directly above your knee and pushing your hips forward. Repeat this stretch 3 times on each leg and do them at least 3 days a week.
Hip lifts (pic on the right): start by lying on your back, feet a little wider than hip width apart. Pressing into the ground through the heels of your feet and contracting your butt (squeeze your butt muscles together) raise your hips high off the floor. Imagine trying to touch the ceiling with your hip bones. The butt remains contracted through the whole lifting phase and give an extra squeeze at the top before lowering the hips back to the floor. You may initially feel this in your hamstrings or low back, if this is the case, practice contracting your butt before lifting your hips off the ground to wake-up the glute muscles. Over time you should feel the work (burning sensation) in your butt, that's good! Do 3 sets of 20 repetitions a minimum of 3 days a week.
2. You sit a lot during the day. This sitting business is actually enemy number one when it comes to glute activation! When you sit, your hip flexor muscles become short and tight and your butt muscles become long and weak. It's a good idea to get up and walk around a bit throughout the day. Better yet, do the stretching and glute activation exercises described above!
3. You're doing it wrong. Learning good form also means learning where your weaknesses lie. If, for example, you have really tight calves (and if you wear high heels regularly, I'm talking to you) getting the necessary bend in your ankles to do a proper squat (a great butt shaper!) will be challenging if not impossible. Aside from that, even with no mobility restrictions, bad form could happen to you because no one ever taught you good form! Get someone qualified to teach you proper technique. Otherwise, you are wasting your precious time and energy in the gym and likely setting yourself up for injury. No bueno.
4. You're not lifting heavy enough weights. Some women are afraid that lifting heavy weights will make them bulky. Let me shut this fear down right now. Women do not naturally produce enough testosterone to produce the kind of muscle you see on female body building competitors. Most men don't have enough naturally occurring testosterone to produce THOSE results! The very heavy volume of training serious body builders do PLUS the steroids they take make a body like that. It's a monumental undertaking. Even to achieve the far more feminine, yet very well-toned physiques of bikini and figure competitors takes a lot of heavy weight training, time and very careful nutritional planning. You will not hulk out! The only bulkiness you need to be concerned about is the bulk that comes from excess body fat. Excessive body fat will make any body bulkier. Smart nutrition and the right resistance program will make a lean, toned, tight figure. I promise!
5. You're doing too little or too much. Knowing how many sets of how many repetitions and how much weight make all the difference in the results you get. Putting these variables together in a way that helps you achieve your specific goals is called program design. If you're trying to build a butt, for example, your program design should include lifting moderately heavy weights (enough weight to make the last couple of repetitions really difficult to perform, but still using good form) for 8-12 repetitions and performing 3-5 sets at least 3 days a week. There are different variables for leaning out/improving muscle endurance and different variables if you want to build more strength and power for athletic performance. Do you know what your training program is designed for? If you're just winging it, you may be moving around and getting some physical activity, but it's a gamble as to whether or not you will get the results you want. My strong recommendation here is don't just work out randomly, train for a specific result! If you are in the San Diego area and would like a program designed just for you, check out my Best Beach Booty training programs here.
I am happy to answer any questions you have about this article, just leave a comment below!
Happy booty training!