If your anything like me, you have not been blessed with a J’Lo bum! For many years, I accepted that I had a flat bottom and didn’t believe it could be anything other than what I had. As I got into body building, I realised that your bottom is made up of muscle and not just one muscle. This means that with the right exercises, you can stimulate growth in your glutes and build yourself a peachy behind! No good genetics needed, just hard work, smart training, patience and correct nutrition. I would recommend training glutes 2 twice per week. Your glutes need ample time to rest, recover, and grow. I would recommend aiming for anything between 6-15 reps and always focus on correct form. In terms of rest any where in between 30seconds to 1 minute and 3 or 4 sets through.
Find a stable surface which is just above knee height. Place one foot on the surface and push up so your standing, hover the other foot and tap your toe on the end of the box before returning back to the floor. Avoid standing on the surface with the other foot. Engage your glute by pushing through your heel on the stationary leg.
Attempt to build up to 15 per leg. You could add weight once familiar with the exercise (dumbbells or kettlebells at either side)
Glute Bridge / Hip Thrusts
There are many variations to hip thrusts, two of my favourites are the single leg glute bridge and barbell bridge. For the single leg place you midback on a bench and ensure to keep your chin is slightly tucked, place your feet hip distance and extend one leg out. Keep this leg locked out and lower than your knee on the other side. Lower your bottom towards the floor, ensuring that your bent leg your shins are vertical to the floor. From the bottom position, hover an inch above the floor and thrust using hips towards the sky.
Barbell Glute Bridge will include the same set up as above, ensure padding is over the barbell to protect hips. Push barbell away so it sits just below pelvis (upper thighs) and avoid shrugging shoulders so keep them relaxed. With both feet placed, lower hips and bar towards the floor then drive up through your heels towards the sky.
Romanian Deadlifts & Sumo Deadlifts
I would recommend barbell for both exercises. Form is crucial to avoid any strain to the back/ neck. For the Romanian deadlift, ensure that you keep the bar close to your body, bend at the hips rather than the knee. Place your hands just outside of your shins (feet hip distance). Engage your lats by pulling up on the bar (almost get a feeling like your trying to break the bar off the floor) before lifting. Once in this position, ensure that your gaze is towards the floor and not looking up towards the sky. Avoid bending like an angry cat before the lift, so chest should be up and spine should be long and flat.
Sumo Deadlifts require you to turn your feet out and stance wider than hip distance. I always say toes at 10oclock and 2oclock and drive your knees out so shins are vertical to the floor. Narrower grip than Romanian so your hands are closer together with an overhand grip. Keep your back straight, chest up and drive those knees out. Engage lats (as above) and ensure to keep barbell very c lose to your shins on the way up and back down.
If your familiar with this piece of equipment, you know that giving eye contact whilst on it is a no no J Abduct- means taking away. So your parting your legs away from each other whilst under a load of the weight which you chose on the machine. This will really fire the glute muscle in a variety of different areas.
A variety of different stances can be used to target the glutes on the leg press machine. I usually find supersetting (2 exercises back to back) hip distance stance with narrow stance the most effective.
Banded Lateral Walks
This is a great activation exercise to do prior to other glute exercises. Ensure you have a resistance band which is thick enough to feel challenged when placed mid thigh and driving your knees out. I recommend a partial squat (so not quite 90degrees) and walk from side to side in this stance. Avoid standing up during, Attempt 20 side steps in one direction then the other. Small controlled steps is best, avoid knocking knees in (even though the band wants you to do that)
With a barbell place it on the top of your shoulders and squeeze your core. Send your hips back and lean forward with the barbell. Avoid too much bend to the knee. Once you feel a pull in your hamstrings and glutes push through your heels and bring chest back to starting position. Avoid keeping your neck up as you bring your chest towards the floor. Keep a neutral spine.
Imagine your sitting bones have eyes and they are wanting to look directly behind you as you push your glutes out.
Cable Pull Through
Find a cable machine which will allow you to move the runner to the bottom. Find a rope handle which you can place onto clip. Stand facing away from the machine and pick up the handle in between your legs. Step out until you feel tension on the cable. Allow your arms to go through your legs holding the handle and lower your chest. Bend through at your hips and avoid too much bend to the knee. Once you feel tension in your glutes/ hamstrings, thrust hips towards and bring weight back through your legs into a standing position.
Place your back leg up onto a raised surface (no higher than knee height) either with a barbell on your back or holding dumbbells, place your front foot a good distance that when you lunge down your knee isn’t protruding past your toe. Once lowered down towards the floor, drive through the front heel and squeeze glute.
I purposely left this to last, as many people feel that squats are the only exercise you do to get a good bottom. I personally feel that all the exercises above, are better than squats, as our quads can be more dominant during the squat and take the focus from the glute. However, depending on the variation of the squat, use of bands around thighs can be just as effective.
Variations such as landmine squats, hip distance barbell squats and sumo squats are all good variations to try.