The Ultimate Guide to Booty Workouts

 

This is the ultimate guide to Booty Building.

So if you want to:

  • Lift and Tone Your Booty
  • Melt body fat
  • Enhance your sex life

Then you’ll love this new guide.

I’m a straightforward person, no fluff. As such I aim to keep things as succinct, simple and practical as possible, so ramble will be kept to a minimum in this guide.

With that said, I know some of you will want to see the scientific studies and other proof for this system, which is good! You shouldn’t believe everything someone says on the internet if they don’t have anything to back it up with! For those interested, I’ll leave the reference material at the end for you to check out 😊

Let’s get started.

A Quick Rundown on the Science

Let’s make you an expert exercise physiologist for a second:

In order to understand how to best grow the booty, we need to understand what your butt actually looks like first.

Some short, sharp facts about each part of the bum:

Gluteus Maximus – the BIGGEST muscle in your entire body and the main part of your booty. This muscle helps movement through the hips and thighs. The glute maximus is around a 50/50 split of fast and slow twitch fibers, meaning it responds better to a moderate rep range when lifting weights. More on this later. Being the largest muscle of the three, focusing on training this part of the glutes will get us the most bang for our buck.

Gluteus Medius – Still a surprisingly large part of the booty, with it weighing half as much as the Glute Maximus. This muscle plays a VERY IMPORTANT role in back health. This muscle is surprisingly hard to train without the booty bands because it’s not easily activated. If your body is misaligned, your lower back and glute max will take over when exercising (and in everyday life). If you sit all day for your job, your glute medius will need some serious training because a weak glute medius will often correlate to lower back pain during long seated periods.

Gluteus Minimus – The smallest of the three. The glute minimus sits under the Glute Medius and contributes to hip stability. I don’t want to touch too much on this muscle because we will achieve adequate activation of this when we train the medius.

So what does this all mean?

If you want a big ole’ booty you could rest a glass of water on, you should be most interested in muscle hypertrophy (growth) around the glutes. Being the largest muscle in the glutes, the perfect glute workout will be primarily based around the Glute Maximus muscle.

And in terms of the type of workout, remember the glute max is about an even 50/50 split of fast and slow twitch fibers, and the glute medius is slightly more lower twitch dominant. So, using a slightly higher rep scheme will yield the best results for any glute training focused on hypertrophy.

The glute medius has a major stabilizing role during movement, but the main way to target it directly is through hip abduction. In 2014, study by Lee and colleagues[7] found that internally rotating or pointing your toes in was more effective at activating the glute medius.

And since external rotation activates the glute maximus more, using a toes in position to hit the glute medius and a toes out position to hit the maximus gets the best of both worlds. Including unilateral exercises with a stabilization component, such as single leg hip thrusts, split squats or walking lunges is another way to target the glute medius.

What Do the Studies Say?

Squats are often touted as the best muscle builder for your glutes.

Based on fairly extensive research, this is incorrect.

Squats are actually overrated as a glute builder for a few reasons. The first is biomechanical – with a study from Lynn et. Al. in 2001[1], which showed that the glutes fire the hardest when in or near full hip extension and squats load the glutes largely when they're not here full hip extension. Keep this in mind for later. A ton of studies have shown the squat to be way better at activating the quads and the glutes. In a study by Contreras et. Al. published in 2015[5], showed that the hip thrust resulted in more glute activation than the quad.

And while we're on the topic, I'll quickly comment on squat depth. Contrary to popular belief, deep squats actually don't lead to increased glute activation. A 2002 study by Caterisano et. Al. [6],  did in fact show this to be the case, but there was a methodological flaw. They didn't change the weight on the bar across the varying squat depths. Of course, using the exact same weight for an ass-to-grass squat will yield more glute activation than a half squat, but that's only because it's harder to go all the way down. You simply aren't able to move as much weight when you go twice as deep. But when you account for differences in strength between the varying squat depth by assigning a relative, rather than absolute load, these differences go away as shown by Contreras et. Al. in their 2016 paper [3].

With that in mind, there are three things that you can do to make the squat more glute-focused, point your toes out since external rotation increases glute activation, take a wider stance as demonstrated by Paoli et. Al. in their 2009[4], study and sitting back or keeping the shins more vertical, like you would on a Smith machine squat, which multiple studies have shown to increase glute activation.

Remember from earlier that the glutes fire the most, when in or near full hip extension, since the hip thrust transfers the most force to the glutes when the glutes are near full hip extension, they make a lot of sense bio-mechanically as a glute builder. They're also way better at activating the glutes than squat are, at least according to that Contreras study[5].

A common complaint about the hip thrust is the painful iron on bone contact of the barbell and the pelvis. I found that some thick pads can be of comfort here, but performing them single-legged in for higher reps is a relatively easy workaround. When I do them this way, I just lay a plate on my lap and focus on strict control in a strong glute squeeze at the top of each rep. You also get the advantage of having to stabilize during hip extension, which I imagine might yield more glue medius activity and perhaps engage areas of the glutes that the barbell variation may not. I also find I can get a better mind-muscle connection when I do these unilaterally. Because the glutes also posteriorly tilt the pelvis, I think you should try to maintain a posterior pelvic tilt throughout the entire range of motion.

Take note! If the above studies sound too confusing, just make a mental note that the hip thrust is the absolute queen exercise for the glutes compared to ALL other glute exercises (if you had to choose one).

Having said that, here are a few ways to make hip thrusts even better.

First doing some kind of pre-activation movement with booty bands beforehand is a good idea. A 2016 [9] study by Fisher and colleagues found that targeted glute training, enhanced glute recruitment during more integrative exercises because of the changes in corticomotor excitability. In other words, doing glute activation drills to isolate the glutes will have activation carry over to heavier compound exercises such as the hip thrust.

The Perfect Workout

Alright we’ve covered a lot so far!

Hopefully you’ve followed along and you’re ready to bring it altogether into one perfect workout.

Too Long, Didn’t Read?

For all you turbo scrollers, here’s a quick rundown on the research and what it means for your booty:

The glutes have a bunch of different origins including the pelvis, sacrum, coccyx, and some fascia around the lumbar spine. They insert on the upper femur and IT band. And because the glutes have so many different attachment points, they can perform a lot of different functions with the main ones being hip extension, hip external rotation, hip transverse abduction, and posterior pelvic tilt.

Because the glutes can do so much different stuff, it's important to train them with a variety of different movements to maximally stimulate them for growth.

So here’s what you’ve been waiting for - the perfect glute workout:

Warm Up – Pre-Activation

You should ALWAYS start with some kind of pre-activation movement. And I think this is a good idea for any muscle you're trying to focus on, but particularly important for the glutes, because in my experience, people can oftentimes have a difficult time finding the mind-muscle connection with them.

Using a booty band is my favourite way to open up the hips and get the glutes firing through active hip abduction with a few lying clamshells (with booty bands).

I recommend 4 sets of 20 reps as your warm up. If you don’t feel warm after this, try a few sets of bodyweight squats (with booty bands) to get you there.

The Main Workout

If you remember from the research, the barbell hip thrust resulted in the greatest upper glute activity. However, there was no difference between the three for lower glutes. And since most women want to build the upper glute shelf the most, other data has suggested that in addition to the hip thrust, hip abduction exercises, such as banded clams are great for selectively targeting the upper glutes as well.

I recommend 3 sets of 15 reps for this exercise.

Next cab off the rank are barbell squats. Even though they’re not as proficient in targeting the booty as hip thrusts, they’re still staple to be included in any program, if you can safely perform them.

I recommend 3 sets of 8 reps for this exercise.

Onto the next exercise in our arsenal, the walking lunge.

Glute activation can be maximized in the walking lunge by doing a few things. First, doing forward, walking lunges, instead of reverse. Taking larger or longer strides. Minimizing the contribution of your back leg by driving your front heel into the floor.

I recommend 3 sets of 30 Strides for this exercise.

Now, onto our second last exercise, the lower back hyperextension.

While a lot of people think of this movement as a lower back exercise, and it can be, it's also very effective glute builder. There are a few things that you can do to make it more glute-focused, slightly bend your knees, slightly flare your feet out, slightly round your lower back, and squeeze your glutes hard at the top of each rep.

I recommend 3 sets of 20 for this exercise.

Finally, you made it! Onto the last exercise.

I like to finish where I start, which is with hip abduction. And I like to include this as more of a so-called burnout exercise at the end of a session to assist with any extra little bit of metabolic stress. And these can also be done for high, say 20 or 30-rep-sets on the abduction machine with your butt elevated or using a cable or using a plate.

I recommend 3 sets of 30 for this exercise.

So to pull it altogether:

  • Lying Clamshells (Booty Bands) 3 sets | 25-30 reps
  • Barbell Hip Thrust 3 sets | 12-15 reps per leg
  • Barbell Back Squat 3 sets | 8 reps
  • Walking Barbell Lunge 3 sets | 30 total strides
  • Lower Back (Hip) Extension 3 sets | 15-20 reps
  • Lying Clamshells (Booty Bands) 3 sets | 25-30 reps

No Access to a Gym? Here's the at-home alternative:

  • Lying Clamshells (Booty Bands) 3 sets | 25-30 reps
  • Bodyweight Hip Thrust (Booty Bands) 3 sets | 12-15 reps per leg (hint: you can fill up a backpack with canned food or use any weight you have to make this more challenging)
  • Bodyweight Squat (Booty Bands) 3 sets | 8 reps
  • Walking Barbell Lunge 3 sets | 30 total strides
  • Lower Back (Hip) Extension 3 sets | 15-20 reps
  • Lying Clamshells (Booty Bands) 3 sets | 25-30 reps

 

My Favourite Tip

One of the main reasons why people fail to follow through on their workout program and nutrition plan is because of a lack of accountability. They make it extremely easy for themselves to miss workouts, half ass it in the gym and not follow their diet regime. This is simply unacceptable!

By reading this, you made the decision right then and there that you no longer wanted to settle for a mediocre booty. You wanted to rise above and beyond and achieve an awe-inspiring body you can be proud of.

I want you to commit to following this workout program with absolute consistency and dedication. That you will do whatever it takes to workout three times per week with extraordinary effort and drive. No matter what, you will not sabotage your efforts by rationalizing skipping the gym or screwing up your diet. The reason most people have so much difficulty following through on a workout plan is because they make up excuses for why they can’t hit the gym.

They lie to themselves that it will just be this one time and that the following weeks will be perfect. The truth is that if you are going to skip a workout now then you will do so again in the future. You need to hold yourself accountable and do whatever it takes to drag yourself to the gym. I have never met anyone in my life that couldn’t find one hour to workout three times per week.

If something comes up then shift things around and make it work. There is simply no excuse for not being able to workout three times per week. End of story.

To really maximize your results on this program it is essential that you track your strength and booty progress. By doing so you will improve your results dramatically. When you are tracking your progress then missing a workout or just going through the motions in the gym has real, substantial consequences. Tracking progress is the most effective way to keep yourself disciplined and accountable for your actions.

Progress Tracking #1: Lifts Every workout you should be recording and tracking your main lifts. Your main core lifts are the barbell hip thrust and barbell back squat. If you are increasing the weight each time you lift, you should be adding around 5kg per month to each of these lifts. If you’re a beginner you will be adding 7.5kg per month and if you’re advanced you will be adding 5kg per month.

So that’s my ultimate guide to booty building.

Now I want to turn it over to you: what did you think about this guide? Or maybe there’s something I missed.

Let me know by leaving a comment below!

 

References

[1] Lynn SK, Noffal GJ. Lower extremity biomechanics during a regular and counterbalanced squat. J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Sep;26(9):2417-25. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31823f8c2d. PMID: 22076098. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22076098/

[2] Kang MH, Jang JH, Kim TH, Oh JS. Effects of Shoulder Flexion Loaded by an Elastic Tubing Band on EMG Activity of the Gluteal Muscles during Squat Exercises. J Phys Ther Sci. 2014;26(11):1787-1789. doi:10.1589/jpts.26.1787 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4242956/

[3] Contreras B, Vigotsky AD, Schoenfeld BJ, Beardsley C, Cronin J. A Comparison of Gluteus Maximus, Biceps Femoris, and Vastus Lateralis Electromyography Amplitude in the Parallel, Full, and Front Squat Variations in Resistance-Trained Females. J Appl Biomech. 2016 Feb;32(1):16-22. doi: 10.1123/jab.2015-0113. Epub 2015 Aug 6. PMID: 26252837. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26252837/

[4] Paoli A, Marcolin G, Petrone N. The effect of stance width on the electromyographical activity of eight superficial thigh muscles during back squat with different bar loads. J Strength Cond Res. 2009 Jan;23(1):246-50. doi: 10.1519/jsc.0b013e3181876811. PMID: 19130646

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19130646/

[5] Contreras B, Vigotsky AD, Schoenfeld BJ, Beardsley C, Cronin J. A Comparison of Gluteus Maximus, Biceps Femoris, and Vastus Lateralis Electromyographic Activity in the Back Squat and Barbell Hip Thrust Exercises. J Appl Biomech. 2015 Dec;31(6):452-8. doi: 10.1123/jab.2014-0301. Epub 2015 Jul 24. PMID: 26214739. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26214739/

[6] Caterisano A, Moss RF, Pellinger TK, Woodruff K, Lewis VC, Booth W, Khadra T. The effect of back squat depth on the EMG activity of 4 superficial hip and thigh muscles. J Strength Cond Res. 2002 Aug;16(3):428-32. PMID: 12173958. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12173958/

[7] Kang MH, Jang JH, Kim TH, Oh JS. Effects of Shoulder Flexion Loaded by an Elastic Tubing Band on EMG Activity of the Gluteal Muscles during Squat Exercises. J Phys Ther Sci. 2014 Nov;26(11):1787-9. doi: 10.1589/jpts.26.1787. Epub 2014 Nov 13. PMID: 25435701; PMCID: PMC4242956. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25435701/

[8] Isear JA Jr, Erickson JC, Worrell TW. EMG analysis of lower extremity muscle recruitment patterns during an unloaded squat. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1997 Apr;29(4):532-9. doi: 10.1097/00005768-199704000-00016. PMID: 9107637. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9107637/

[9] Worrell TW, Karst G, Adamczyk D, Moore R, Stanley C, Steimel B, Steimel S. Influence of joint position on electromyographic and torque generation during maximal voluntary isometric contractions of the hamstrings and gluteus maximus muscles. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2001 Dec;31(12):730-40. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2001.31.12.730. PMID: 11767248.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11767248/