Ever aspired for that Beyoncé like booty? Or maybe you just want a little more tone or a bit more lift? Or maybe you’re one of thousands of women who just can't feel your butt working when you train?
Well keep reading...
In this day and age we sit on our butts a lot! It's the information era, so a lot of people spend hours and hours sitting down.
And over time our butts have got lazy! Some a little rounder, some a little soft and jiggly. What actually happens is our gluteal muscles get tight, but they're an interesting muscle because not only can they be tight, they can be weak at the same time.
When you sit down a lot, (or don't use your muscles often enough or effectively) the muscle fibers in your glutes lock up, they become hypertonic (tight). Your glutes, hamstrings and hip flexors are common areas for this to happen.
And when your muscles are hypertonic they don't actually work efficiently they become dysfunctional hence the term weak. So what happens when you try and use them in an exercise like a deadlift, squat or a lunge they just don't work very well. Sound familiar?
Our bodies are fantastic at adapting, so instead you begin to incorporate your quad muscles, hips and sometimes even your lower back. Which isn't great, as these muscles are usually over active and/or tight already for many women.
But (excuse the pun) it's not all bad news, I’m going to share with you the most effective ways to get your Glutes firing! And ensure they are working most efficiently when you're training.
Because if they're working efficiently, you're going to be able to strengthen, tighten and lift that booty so much sooner!
1. Loosen up!
The very first step is to loosen or 'release' your tight spots, now in this article I'm taking more specifically about your glutes, however you can follow this protocol for other areas of your body as well.
So grab yourself a foam roller, or in the absence of one of those, a tennis ball, massage ball, someone's elbow or similar will work just fine.
You want to sit on the roller to one side, then lift the foot on that side to sit on top of the opposite knee. What this does is allows you to get right the tightest area (Gluteus maximus).
You want to roll back and forth for anywhere between 1-2min. If it hurts or feels tight, it's likely a sign that the muscle is in fact tight, and you should benefit for a slightly longer release.
If 10 out of 10 is unbearable go for about an 8 to get the most benefit.
Another great tip is to release your quads as well. If you're someone who's not using their glutes efficiently it's likely your quads are over active and dominant, so spending some time releasing these will allow your body to align and give your glutes the best possible chance to work better.
This step is not imperative before you train, in fact often I will skip it, however if you feel the need, ensure you have released first, then you can spend some time stretching, just keep the stretches short (say 5-10sec).
3. Time to active that booty
Once you've released the muscles it's now time to activate them.
The purpose of activating prior to a training session is to get the muscles firing and recruiting as many muscle fibers as possible, so that when you go to perform the main exercises of your workout (e.g. squats) you’re going to recruit more of your glute muscles rather than your quads or lower back.
Which is what we want, because if you’re recruiting your glutes more, you will strengthen and tone them far more efficiently. Less time spent training for a far better booty lift, it’s a win win I say.
You can do some simple things like Glute brides (also known as hip extensions). Especially if you don't have any equipment handy. But if you want a powerful glute activation drill. grab yourself a theraband. Place it around both your legs, just under your knees.
Whilst down in a squat, side step your way across for 5 - 10min doing little steps with your feet.
What’s happening is the band is forcing your knees into internal rotation, and by working hard to keep your knees inline with your big toes, your glutes have to work hard against the band as they’re external rotating muscles. In other words, your butt should be burning like crazy!
Once you have gone across and back, you can super set with a set of 10 - 20 squats or glute bridges with the bad still on (keeping knees inline with your big toes throughout).
Complete 2 - 3 sets of each in total as part of your warm up.
Guaranteed if you implement this little warm up drill into all your lower body days you will see some massive improvements in the efficiency and strength of your glute muscles in your workouts, but also you will begin to see some huge improvements in the lift of your booty.
To take things another level, you can complete your workouts the same way. Doing this when you’re fatigued is going to force your glutes into adaptation and therefore enhance results further.
Just ensure you stretch well after your workout.