If you thought a big butt meant a strong butt--there IS a difference. You can get a big butt from simply over eating...well, a lot. But I have a feeling that's not the type of butt you want.
Let me break this other thing down real quick: a heavy "leg day" doesn't equate to a bigger or stronger butt.
A strong butt is muscular--no, not in a "bulky" or manly way. It's used for a purpose, not for the viewing pleasure of men or to fill out your yoga pants better. Having a strong butt will literally make you better in all aspects of training. You'll be able to do more challenging moves, lift heavier weights and move more efficiently through each movement.
Have You Found Your Butt?
I can speak from some seriously sad personal experience, for YEARS I was squatting and deadlifting and never once did I feel anything in my butt. No soreness, no muscle activation--nada. Effing zilch. I thought my ass was broken, it was dead..someone call the coroner and get my butt to it's funeral.
Have you ever been training and can't feel your butt? No soreness, no sensation back there? (maybe that isn't the most appropriate word but you get it)
Our glutes--as in everyone in the world, are pretty much
dead asleep & need to be woken up a bit so you get the most out of your training. When you aren't actively using a muscle, it will inevitably stop working to it's full capacity.
Rachel, How Can I Find My Butt?
I'm so glad you asked. There are specific glute activation exercises you can do to, well, wake your ass up. Here are my favorite:
You don't have to do all of these before each workout, pick 2 or 3 that work best for you after you've tried them all!
- Half Kneeling Holds (my FAVE to really find my butt!!) 2-3 sets of a 15-30 second hold on each side
- Side lying Clamshell 10-15x each side
- Lateral Band Walk 10-20x each way
- Frog Pumps 1-2 sets of 20-30x
- Glute Bridges (feet on floor) 2-3 sets of 15-25x
- Glute Bridges (feet on box) --could use a higher box as well! 2-3 sets of 15-25
Okay, now you know how to wake up your sleepy glutes. Even if you can feel your butt when you're working out--still spend 5-10 min warming up before your workout by choosing 2-3 of these movements so you get the most out of each training session!
Build Your Strong Butt
While things like deadlifts and squats will most definitely make you sore, I don't feel as though they are the best at necessarily building a strong butt. Don't get me wrong, they will aid for sure in the progression of building your butt, but I feel like my favorites below are missed out on and if you don't have access to a barbell to squat/deadlift with these are great options!
- This can be done with a barbell, kettlebell, dumbbell or sandbag (even a small child--make sure it's yours). Before you load this up though make sure you've mastered doing a glute bridge on the ground, then progress to elevating your feet, finally you can move yourself to a small box or chair and start with your back elevated and feet on the ground. You can make this move challenging no matter what level you're at! If you're still working on getting the basic movement pattern down, I'd suggest staying with your feet on the floor, once that becomes easy elevate your feet and add a band around your knees--think about driving your knees out to further activate your glutes and focus on higher reps here. Once you've mastered that--then it's time to load weight onto your hips (you can use a soft padding here to protect from bruising) and elevate your back as shown in the video below.
When adding this move into your workout, I would do:
- Floor: 2-3 sets of 15-25
- Feet elevated: 2-3 sets of 15-25
- With weight: 2-4 sets of 10-15
- This move is not only phenomenal for your butt, but your whole entire body! Click HERE to see a demonstration. A few things to note:
- This is a hip hinging movement, NOT a squat.
- Before you try this move, it's ideal to be able to first properly RDL (Romanian deadlift)--as this teaches the essential hip hinge movement.
- This is a ballistic and powerful movement, it is NOT slow--use your hip thrust to power through the movement quickly.
- Keep your core braced and squeeze your glutes at the top like you're trying to keep diamonds in there.
Cable Pull Through
If you are still trying to master the KB swing, this is a similar movement but easier to learn, while still providing you with strong glutes! Click HERE to see it done.
- Don't squat. Think about pushing your butt back towards the wall. Imagine you have glue on your butt and you're reaching back to grab $100 bills.
- Keep a wider stance than squat position.
- Your head goes with your body. Try to not to bob your head like a chicken but keep your neck in line with your spine through the whole movement!
- Squeeze your glutes when you get to the top of the movement, making sure that you don't hyper extend and create an arch in your low back though!
When adding this move to your workout I would do: 2-4 sets of 10-15 reps.
Finally, a sample workout of how I would incorporate one of these moves into a training day for myself or a clent.
Warm up with some foam rolling + lax ball if needed and pick 2-3 glute activation exercises.
- 2x10 lateral band walk
- 2x20 glute bridge (feet on ground)
- 2x30 seconds half kneeling hold R/L
- 4x10 push ups (modify if needed)
- 4x12 goblet squat
- 4x10 single arm cable row R/L
- 4x12 hip thrust
- 3x20 seconds side plank R/L
- 3x10 pallof press R/L
30 seconds on//15 seconds rest-- after first round of exercise is completed, rest 2 min and repeat for a total of 3-4 times through.
- Wall ball
- Jump squats
- Mountain climbers
Do you feel a little more confident in the process of building yourself a strong butt now?
What questions do you have about creating strong glutes?