Over the past several years the beauty standard for body types has shifted to include a curvier frame complete with a rounder butt, leaving many wondering what actually needs to be done in the gym to achieve this look. Contrary to diet culture, building up your backside actually requires you to eat more food so you’re not in a deficit, and weight train in order to feed and fuel your muscles for growth. The first strength move that comes to mind might be squats, but if you’ve been practicing this exercise over and over with minimal results, it could be time to switch up your workout routine in favor of some other booty building moves which may do a better job of helping you achieve the peachy figure you’re in search of.
We spoke with Tonal Coach & Certified Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Allison Tibbs, and Christa Dellebovi, Director of Training & Development at CLMBR to determine a routine which can actually help you achieve some real growth in your glutes–this is what they suggested.
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A great place to start for building up your booty, glute bridges increase hip and core strength which is essential for creating a strong base. If you’re a beginner at working out, you can start this move with just a resistance band before moving up to dumbbells with increasing weight.
As for how to complete a glute bridge, Tibbs breaks it down, explaining, “Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor a foot or so away from your hips. Driving through heels, as if you are pressing the floor away from you, lift your hips towards the sky and squeeze your glutes at the top. Once at the top, hold for a second then lower your hips back down towards the ground to starting position.”
Deadlifts are another great move to integrate as you begin to build your glutes and can be done with lighter dumbbells until you feel more comfortable eventually moving up to a barbell when you have a better base to your strength. This move helps to target the backs of your legs and hamstrings as well, creating the round shape to your booty that is so sought after. It also requires you to brace your core in order to do this move correctly, engaging your abs in the process.
“Start with your feet hips width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms in front of your thighs. Your palms will face your thighs. Stand tall and squeeze your shoulders blades towards your spine,” explains Tibbs. “Start to hinge your hips back and slowly lower the dumbbells along the front of your legs, with a slight bend in your knees. Lower down until your torso is parallel to the floor and you feel tension in your hamstrings. Drive through your feet, as if pushing the floor away from you and push your hips forward to bring you back to standing position. Squeeze your glutes at the top. Repeat.”
Bulgarian Split Squats
Bulgarian split squats are an iteration of the classic squat that challenges one leg at a time and helps to improve any muscular imbalances you may be struggling with. Just like regular squats they challenge your glutes as you power up from the bottom, but isolating each leg can help to create added growth to the muscles.
“Stand a couple of feet away from a bench with your back towards the bench. Reach one leg back and place the top of the foot on the bench. Keeping the front foot heel rooted into the ground, bend both knees to lower down until the front thigh is parallel to the ground and drop your back knee close to the ground. Drive through your front foot to stand. Repeat as many reps on the same leg, then switch sides,” explains Tibbs.
Another great glute builder, curtsy lunges are ideal for working the side of your booty to create a more rounded form. While a traditional lunge works the back of your glute, this variation targets the hips which are essential for building a balanced body. “Curtsy lunges do a great job of activating the gluteus medius which is often underworked and can create a nice shape on the outer side of the glutes,” says Dellebovi.
The form of this move is simple: “Start by standing with your feet hips width apart and arms by your side. Keep most of your weight in your right foot and step your left foot back and over to the right side of the body. Lower down into a lunge while keeping your chest up and core engaged to bend your knees to 90 degrees, trying to get your left knee as close to the ground as possible. Press through your right foot to come back to a standing position. Repeat as many reps on the same leg, then switch sides,” explains Tibbs.
Ultimately in order to see real growth in your glutes you will have to practice a leg focused workout between two to three times each week, making sure to prioritize rest in between your gym sessions for proper recovery so as not to exhaust your muscles. “You are working big muscle groups, so giving them ample recovery time will help you see results faster,” says Dellebovi. Make sure to eat nutrient dense foods and plenty of protein to build your muscles, and with consistency you can expect to see results within 4-6 weeks of your new workout routine. However, instead of focusing on aesthetics it can also be encouraging to be aware of how you’re feeling in your body as you continue to improve your wellbeing.