By Corey Lewis, CPT, CSCS
Judging by all the squat challenges on YouTube and #fitspiration from celebs like Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce, it’s safe to say that bigger butts are in these days. The good thing about this is that it encourages people to eat healthy and do plenty of beneficial strength training exercises like deadlifts and squats. Unfortunately, some of these exercises require gym equipment. However, there are still plenty of butt workouts at home you can try with minimal equipment.
You’ve most likely heard of the gluteus maximus, which makes up most of the muscle mass in the butt. However, there are three glute muscles in total—gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, and gluteus maximus. Working the gluteus maximus is great, but if you want to really tone and shape the butt as well as put on muscle mass in the area, focus needs to be extended to all three glute muscles.
The gluteus maximus is the largest of the three. It is the topmost layer of all the muscles and is mainly used for extending the upper leg. The gluteus medius lies under the gluteus maximus and is smaller than the maximus. The gluteus minimus is the smallest glute muscle and lies under the gluteus medius. The main function of these other two glute muscles is to stabilize the legs during running and walking. They are also used for the internal and external rotation of the thighs.
There is a lot of misinformation spread online about glute exercises and what to do to get a bigger and more toned butt. For example, some people swear by squats, while others don’t find them to be the most effective.
It’s important to note that butt shape is primarily determined by genetics, so it is also important to be realistic about your goals. What glute exercises can do, however, is enable you to make the most of your genetics.
To get good results from glute exercises, it’s important to carry out glute activation. This doesn’t have to be limited to when you’re doing the exercises, but also when you do normal things like running, walking, or climbing stairs. Doing mindful contractions of your glutes during these actions will help you get better results from glute exercises.
A lot of people don’t just want bigger butts; they also want slimmer thighs. In this case, it is important to note that different glute exercises have differing glute activation levels. For example, squats have a relatively lower glute activation percentage compared to quad activation.
So, while squats are great for growing glutes, they will also grow your quads just as much. If you want to know how to get a bigger butt without growing your legs, the first thing to do is research how much glute activation there is for each exercise.
While you may see people posing with heavy weights at the gym on “glute day,” you don’t need heavy or expensive gym equipment to get good glutes. Exercises for the butt are simpler than you’d think.
It’s perfectly possible to perform deadlifts, squats, and lunges with dumbbells to get good results. For example, here’s a tough butt and thigh workout that uses dumbbells:
Other great equipment to invest in includes ankle weights and resistance bands. Resistance bands are super simple and affordable, yet so effective. They are great for things like clamshells and glute kickbacks. Ankle weights are perfect for adding extra challenge to fire hydrants and glute kickbacks. Of course, you also shouldn’t underestimate the power of at-home kettlebell workouts for a bigger butt.
Deadlifts are amazing exercises that target glutes, core muscles, and other leg muscles.
To do this, balance on your left foot, making sure you’re standing on a stiff left leg. Keep your right foot off the ground with the right leg bent slightly. Place your dumbbell close to your standing leg.
Of course, there are plenty more great exercises you can incorporate into your booty building workout.
Growing a bigger butt is more about working smart than working hard. You can do all the possible squat challenges on the internet, but your body needs variation and progressive challenges to build muscle as you do your butt workouts at home.
Overall, the key to a great body is to lead an active and healthy lifestyle, with particular attention to protein and mineral intake. Most importantly, don’t forget to give your body a break with enough time to recuperate.