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Four steps to get the butt you've always wanted

Wednesday, August 15, 2012 by: Eric Hunter
Tags: fitness, butt, exercises

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(NaturalNews) Besides a flat stomach, a good looking butt is high on the list for most females who want to stay in shape and have an attractive appearance. Strong glutes aren't just aesthetically pleasing, but they also reduce the risk of injury, help maintain good posture and increase strength and power.

The problem is that most people have no idea how to train their glutes and end up using the treadmill, crosstrainer or improper leg exercises without seeing any results. To achieve a nice looking butt, it's vital to understand the mechanisms behind glute training and perform heavy exercises to give it the round and perky appearance.

The buttocks consist of three muscles called the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. Underdeveloped glutes are extremely common and usually results from sitting down for hours each day and engaging in a minimal amount of physical activity.

The body slowly adjusts and we get muscle imbalances, bad posture and potentially back and knee pain. These muscular imbalances usually consist of weak gluteals and abdominals and strong hip flexors and lower back muscles.

Squats and lunges are rarely enough

Weak glutes and abdominals go hand in hand with poor movement patterns. Exercises like squats, lunges and deadlifts are performed the wrong way, and the stronger muscles bear the load, while the glutes end up doing very little work.

While squats and lunges might stimulate the gluteals enough in people who perform the exercises perfectly, the majority will benefit from doing specific glute exercises for optimal results.

Hours on the crosstrainer is not going to give you a nicely shaped butt

Cardio training can be included to reduce excess fat around the hips, but a muscular shape is necessary to get a good-looking appearance. The treadmill and crosstrainer won't engage the glutes enough, and heavy exercises must be included to provide the needed stimuli in the glute region.

Achieving the perfect butt

Whether your goal is to look good, increase your strength, improve bad posture, reduce back pain or sprint faster, the following steps will help you tremendously. This program can easily be done at home or at the gym with a minimal amount of experience and equipment. More experienced individuals can incorporate more dynamic stretching, foam rolling, core training, etc.

1) Nutrition

Getting rid of excessive body fat is the foundation when trying to achieve a good looking butt. It won't matter how much you train your glutes if you have a lot of fat in the hip region.

2) Hip flexor stretching
Static or dynamic stretching of the hip flexors is vital to allow for proper movement during exercises.

3) Glute activation
Glute activation should be performed as warm-up before adding weights or as seperate workouts for beginners. Glute activation is vital to learn to use the gluteal muscles properly and ensure that the glutes are firing during training. Glute Bridge, Quadruped Hip Extension and Lying Abduction are examples of good glute activation exercises. In the beginning, these exercises should be performed with no added weight and the key is to get the proper contraction.

4) Heavy glute training

Bret Contreras, a leading expert on glute training, has studied the electromyography (EMG) activity in the gluteal muscles during different exercises. His and other similar studies show that different exercises stimulate different parts of the muscle group, and a variety of movement patterns and rep ranges (5-20) are necessary to achieve optimal glute training. When you are able to perform glute exercises with no added weight and perfect technique, it's time to slowly progress on exercises such as squat, hip thrust, glute bridge, lunge and uphill sprint.

Sources for this article include

Lee JH, Yoo WG. The mechanical effect of anterior pelvic tilt taping on slump sitting by seated workers.
Ind Health. 2011;49(4):403-9. Epub 2011 Jun 21.


Boren K, Conrey C, Le Coguic J, et al. Electromyographic analysis of gluteus medius and gluteus maximus during rehabilitation exercises.
Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2011 Sep;6(3):206-23.

Krause DA, Jacobs RS, Pilger KE, et al. Electromyographic analysis of the gluteus medius in five weight-bearing exercises.
J Strength Cond Res. 2009 Dec;23(9):2689-94.

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