Large, round buttocks are now super hot, thanks to celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Beyoncé, Shakira, Jennifer Lopez and other ‘curvy women’; so much so that when fashion bible Vogue (better known for its skinny, angular models) published an article announcing the arrival of the ‘Era of Big Booty’ in 2014, it officially became the ‘Year of the Butt.’ Judging by the compliments I have received for my ‘great ass’ (thank you very much), I can only say this mirrors my experience. I count myself lucky for having this great asset, a wonderful genetic gift from my mum. But while genes do have a lot to do with it, there are things you can do to improve your rear if you haven’t been quite so lucky. And don’t forget, even us ‘naturals’ still have to work hard to keep it all in shape, you know!
‘How can I get nice round buttocks and keep my legs from getting bigger as well?’ That is a question I often get asked and the answer is that you need to do exercises that activate the glutes but don’t work the legs so hard, like hip thrusts, cable pull-throughs and American deadlifts (ask about these at the gym). It is important to keep increasing the weights rather than doing lots of repetitions with these exercises, because that will really help build your glutes and make them bigger.
The exercises people often do to build nice firm buttocks are squats, lunges and Romanian deadlifts, much of which involves stretching and rotating the hip, and moving the leg out sideways or forward. But while such exercises do activate the glutes, they also work the quadriceps (front of thigh muscle) and hamstrings (back of thigh muscle), and that means your legs will also become more sturdy. Probably not the result you are aiming for if you are a woman.
If your sole aim is to build firm, round buttocks, you need to make sure you keep exercising those glutes and make your workout increasingly demanding. You can’t get nice round buttocks without increasing training intensity, so keep adding more weight and don’t stop until your muscles almost give out and you are barely able to finish the exercise. As I said before: it is hard work!
So if you want to go easy on your legs, ask a personal trainer to show you how to do the following exercises, which are specifi cally for working on the buttocks:
BARBELL GLUTE BRIDGES
You can intensify this exercise by putting your feet on a bench (though this will activate the hamstrings a little more as well) or by also using a barbell, dumbbell or resistance band. Tense your glutes at the most intense part of the movement.
This exercise is better for your glutes than the Romanian deadlift. You can make this as tough as you can bear.
PULL-THROUGHS & KETTLEBELL SWINGS
Make sure you really feel those glutes working during this exercise, and keep tensing them.
SINGLE LEG FOOT ELEVATED HIP THRUST
This one is definitely not for the faint-hearted, but it’s very eff ective. You are bound to see results.
HIP ABDUCTION MOVEMENTS
For example, resistance band seated or standing abduction.