Oh-my-gawd, Becky, look at her butt. It is so big. She looks like one of those…rap guys’ girlfriends. Who understands those rap guys? They only talk to her because she looks like a total prostitute. I mean, her butt, it’s just so big. I can’t believe it’s so round, it’s like, out there, I mean gross!
“Does this make my butt look big?” Who hasn’t asked the question, thought about asking it, or been forced to respond to someone else asking it? We all want to look good and unfortunately it is often hard to see our own behind…hence the question. If asked to respond, the answer (whether it’s the truth or not) is always “NO, of course not!” But what if the answer was “YES, it does look big…so big, and round and out there…it looks, well, awesome!”
Obviously a “big” butt can have different meanings. For example, there is big=wide (not awesome):
Then there is big=fat (also not awesome).
But what about big= strong (now that’s awesome!)?
Too often the butt women aspire to looks more like this ~ sure, Cameron Diaz may be beautiful, but she has NO butt:
Why are we so afraid to actually have a butt? Quite frankly, there are a lot of flat butts out there, symptomatic of our culture of sitting on them far too much ~ here is Ke$ha ~ now that is an absent butt (and what’s with that suit?)!
If you don’t have a flat butt, there’s a simple solution. Further reinforcement that we don’t want a “big” butt.
Why do we want small butts? Flat butt= no muscle. And muscle is important when it comes to your butt. Your glute muscles are instrumental in your movement…running and walking, getting up out of a chair, etc. Most people think of legs being the prime mover in running and walking, but you cannot move without your glutes ~ they are a big player in hip extension, which is when your leg moves back away from your body ~ weak glutes overtax the hamstring and is the culprit in many hamstring issues. Not enough attention is paid to glutes. Squats and lunges work the glutes, but there are more ways to hit them that are even more effective. Want a nice bum (and guys, this applies to you too…no one likes a guy with a flat ass)? Then keep reading.
The other day I talked about squats and squat depth. You are going to feel those glute muscles work if you get enough depth in your squat. But how many of you are doing bridges or hip thrusts? Bridges are a good place to start for beginners. Here is your basic floor glute bridge:
For most people, this exercise isn’t going to be difficult for very long (but is still great for your warm-up). The next progression is a single-leg glute bridge. NOW you’re going to feel that butt working. Note in this video how the guy’s heel is driving into the floor ~ this is good. When doing any kind of bridge or hip thrust, you never want your heel to leave the floor ~ instead it should drive into the floor and if anything comes up it should be your toes. Here’s the single-leg bridge:
The next progression I would recommend is the hip thrust. Again, you can start with a two leg hip thrust, and move to a single-leg one when you feel ready. The single-leg ones are killer, but one of the best glute exercises you can do. Finding a “comfortable” position on the bench can take some time, but your glutes will thank you for your efforts. Here is the two-footed version (notice how his hips come all the way up ~ tight glutes at the top, body looks flat):
Obviously the single-leg version involves picking one foot up off the floor and doing all the work with one glute. You can progress these even more by elevating your plant foot ~ this is an advanced version ~ this is harder because you are increasing your range of motion ~ notice how Bret drops his hips all the way to the floor and then pushes them all the way up…this is a killer version:
There are more versions of both bridges and hip thrusts that involve external load that I won’t go into today ~ if you’re ready for these and want more information, please feel free to send me a message. 🙂
Another great group of exercises that target the glutes (and the hamstrings!) are deadlifts. Conventional deadlifts are tricky ~ form is super important so as not to hurt yourself. Trap-bar deadlifts are much better for beginners, much easier to learn…but most people do not have access to a trap-bar. So my recommendation is straight leg deadlifts ~ I particularly like the single leg version. In this clip notice how her back stays flat, not rounded. I don’t like that her head stays looking forward (I would prefer for it to be aligned with her spine) but that’s maybe a bit picky ~ and I certainly wish she had more than 5 lb dumbbells in her hands…but we’ve already discussed that ~ these are your legs, they can handle more than 5 lbs.
These can be done with dumbbells or kettlebells. After you get the form down with one dumbbell (or kettlebell) in each hand you can progress to holding one (heavier) weight in the hand opposite to the working leg (i.e. the leg you are standing on). This will throw your balance off and will force you to stabilize even more than you already are from working on a single leg.
Give some of these exercises a try. They will all work that butt and keep you from flat butt syndrome. Let me know what you think!