Booty, Booty, Booty….

My Obsession With Glutes

Before I go ahead with my tips for a bigger, better booty, I should probably explain just why on earth I have this obsession with all things glutes.

My first memory about the awareness of my glutes was when I was about 8 or 9 years old. I recall being behind the other girls at ballet while the teacher was talking and realised that despite being a tiny little thing, I was the only one there with a pronounced bum that didn’t quite fit into my leotard properly.

I became more self-conscious as I headed into my teenage years, which is normal for us girls, but not to the point of it stopping me from wearing a bikini. That all changed after a pool party when I overheard some of the boys giggling and talking about my ‘bubble butt’. Whilst you might think this was a good thing, to me it wasn’t. It wasn’t what I would call perky! And if you are old enough to remember back in the 80’s and even somewhat into the 90’s, Bubble Butts were not the in thing, it was the smaller the better. I was so upset by that comment… no more bikinis for me!

Determined to do something about my bum shape, I would read the latest Cosmo mag with all those fluffy articles on how to make your butt smaller and religiously do my 3 sets of 30 leg lifts every night and wonder why it never looked any different! I joined a gym, trained hard, did some aerobics classes. They didn’t look any different.

Over the next decade and a half, I squatted and lunged and squatted and lunged. I made some small improvements to the shape, but despite some compliments, I was never happy, remaining extremely self-conscious and still avoiding those bikinis like the plague.

When I started thinking about competing on stage a few years back, I read an competition report in a magazine from a well known person in the fitness industry, he was talking about the poor development of the competitors glutes, saying “Some competitors even had crease lines under their butts!”. (Oh the shock of it, not a crease line!). Well I have a little crease under my bum and I thought that was it, so now bums can’t have creases under them. I thought I was destined to never like the shape of my butt, let alone step on stage and show it off.

In 2012, I did make it on stage, but I never really felt confident with my rear view. I came 2nd, but the feedback was that I didn’t show my glutes off enough. Most of my self-consciousness about my glutes was all coming from my head though, and not from external sources. But still, it was hard to break free from my well ingrained hate for my glutes! I just wasn’t happy with how they looked.

The Big Booty Era!

Enter the era of the Hip Thrust and the Big Booty! Bigger suddenly became better. And this is where my obsession for glute training really began.

I tinkered around with the hip thrust and more often, glute bridges prior to my competition in 2013. I put an intense focus on my glutes during all my lower body training and I was rather pleased to have made some improvements (finally!). This only fueled my desire to grow my glutes bigger and rounder!

After my 2013 competition season, it was game on. I devoured every glute training article I could get my hands on, tried every different variation of hip thrust and glute bridge that I could, and experimented in the gym with all the machines every week, trying to find new ways to grow my glutes. I had so many exercises under my belt, and I enjoyed doing every single one of them. It was a challenge to fit them all into a training program. The improvement from 2013 to 2014 was quite evident. My glutes had grown substantially. So much that I had started developing stretch marks on them much to my surprise (bring on the bio-oil!).

You’ve probably heard the saying that a fitness competition is won from behind. Whilst this is not entirely true, it’s right up there in priorities and if you’ve ever watched a show, you will see the girls that have the nice tight round glutes are a real stand out on stage. And for this reason, glutes still remain my biggest priority heading into my 2015 competition season. Training glutes to me is like chest or bicep training is to a man. You can never build them big enough.

Tips and Tricks

So, what are my top tips and tricks to help you really change the shape of your booty?! Well, I’ve realised whilst writing this article, that I’m never going to be able to cover them all here. But I will be covering them all in a comprehensive E-Book in the very near future.

But I really wanted to help you guys get started though, so I’ve put together my following tips to put into your current training, so read on and start today!

• Learn how to activate your glutes. If they are not activated properly, they’re not working to their full potential! You should be doing this on a daily basis with some targeted isolation exercises such as bodyweight glute bridges and hip thrusts, glute kickbacks, side leg raises, fire hydrants, clams etc. This will ensure your glutes are firing for you in your daily activity and importantly, prior to a training session.
• You should make glutes a priority. I would go as far as to say you should think about them on a daily basis. Every movement you make during the day is an opportunity to work your glutes.
• Don’t be afraid to train them hard! Overload is essential. This doesn’t always equate to weight on the bar (although that is always the primary goal). Higher frequency, higher reps, more sets and better activation of the muscle are some ways to overload your glutes. Remember to squeeeeeeze that booty!
• Forget training them once a week. Twice, three times, in some cases, four times per week will do wonders!
• Train them from all angles, using all rep ranges from 5 or 6, right up to 20 or 30 reps. The glutes are made up of both Type 1 and Type 2 muscle fibres, so they will benefit from a wide variety of rep ranges.
• Foam roll and stretch your glutes for better recovery and better flexibility. This will enable you to get deeper into your squats and lunges etc.
• Don’t ignore your hips! Work on hip flexibility to improve your squats, hip thrusts and glute bridges.
• No gym? No problem. Traveling? Not an issue. Think low weight, high rep body weight exercises (push it hard though and make your booty burn!). Lunges of all different types are a fantastic workout for the glutes when done correctly with weight pushed through the heel and glutes tight throughout the whole movement. As are Bulgarian split squats and body weight single leg hip thrusts, high step ups and glute bridges. Glute medius work can also be incorporated easily. Portable bands are a great option to bring with you when you are traveling to increase the intensity of the exercises.

My favourite glute exercises

I am often asked what my favourite glute exercise is. It’s hard to pick just one, because I love glute training and I love all the exercises. But I think I would have to choose the Glute Bridge. I feel these in my glutes a little more than in the Hip Thrust. I can go heavier on them, and they have really helped build the upper part of my glutes which I was lacking. Second to that is not specifically a glute exercise, but I have found a way to make it one. I love doing Rack Pulls from just below the knees. It allows me to really get a good amount of tension on the glutes (and hamstrings) and drive that bar upwards using my glutes, with a good posterior pelvic tilt at the end for a bonus glute squeeze. This hits the glutes lower down and into the lower part of my glutes (some people might refer to as the glute/ham tie in).

Some Home Grown Aussie Talent

I recently put a call out on my Facebook and Instagram Page for girls that might want to feature in this article and share their photos and glute training tips. I know we all look up to the overseas pro bikini girls who have derrieres to die for! But I think us Aussie girls are really taking our training seriously and embracing the big booty era and I wanted to help share a few photos for some inspiration to all you girls, who just like to train hard, and be the best you can be. Please show your support to these amazing girls kicking ass in the gym and follow their Facebook or Instagram Pages.

Anna McManamey

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Anna’s Facebook

Anna’s Instagram

Anna is a champion fitness model, bikini competitor, coach and TV presenter. After spending 6 years as a television news reporter, Anna made the decision to follow her passion and changed careers into the fitness industry. Anna is an amazing competitor, with a outstanding stage presence. And as you can see, she has made an outstanding glute transformation!

How long have you been weight training for?
I was first introduced to weights training 6 years ago, but was never really that consistent. I didn’t start training seriously until 3 years ago.

What are your favourite glute exercises for building shape and size?
Sumo squats, hip thrusters and lunges.

How many times per week do you train your glutes?
On average, 3 days per week, utilising a variety of exercises and rep ranges to ensure I’m stimulating all of the muscle fibres and constantly keeping my body guessing.

Who is your favourite booty inspiration?
Nathalia Melo, Justine Munro, Paige Hathaway and Michelle Lewin.

Alice Round

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Alice’s Facebook
Alice’s Instagram

Alice runs her own successful online coaching business aliceround.com, runs a mentoring business for other trainers, a protein and macro friendly product line Macrosnackz, runs health and fitness retreats and has just published her first e-book. On the side she now competes in bodybuilding IFBB bikini after running injuries stopped her running career back at 22. She has now represented Australia in the IFBB and place in the top 10 in the world in international events, this year she will be chasing her pro card status. And check out those glutes she has worked so hard for! I’ve followed Alice’s progress for a few years now and she’s made such bit improvements to her glutes.

How long have you been weight training for?
I have been lifting since I was 16 with some form of resistance, I began doing circuit work and light weight training with higher reps and plyometrics for my athletics training as a sprinter. When I was 18 I began lifting more seriously and into the gym but only 2x per week. From 23 I got into bodybuilding and then training more specifically for aesthetics rather than speed/power and increased my weight training to 4-5x a week and decreased cardio.

What are your favorite glute exercises for building shape and size?

Sumo Deadlifts for sure! Since putting these into my program about 12 months ago I have noticed a huge difference. I used to feel a lot more lower back and hamstring the day after deadlifts conventional. I have tight hip flexors so I find when I switched to sumo’s it helped my hip mobility which in turn allowed me to activate my glutes better. I feel now my glute activation is much stronger and I can feel them contract on most movement patterns as I used to never be able to feel them engage. I worked a lot doing single leg work also for activation such as Russian step ups and single leg glute thrusts.

How many times per week do you train your glutes?
3 times a week generally but at the moment I’m doing SMOLOV which is a program where your squat 4 x per week! So I’m hitting the glutes a lot! Normally my split would be on legs quads/glutes, hamstring/glutes and then a day of glute work with some core and accessory work – usually medial delts, plus 2 upper body days

 Maria Stivic

Maria’s Facebook
Maria’s Instagram

I first saw Maria at the 2014 INBA South Coast Classic, her first year competing . You should have heard me going on about “some girl up there with the best glutes I’ve ever seen”. I happened to bump into Maria at the INBA Muscle and Model show a few months later and had a good chat about our glutes!  Maria had great success winning the overall Bikini division, went straight overseas going on to win her show and become a PNBA Bikini Pro. Wasn’t I just saying something about a show being won from behind?

How long have you been weight training for?
Almost my whole life. When I was 18 years old I was too skinny and started to weight lift to put on weight and also shape my body.

What are your favourite glute exercises for building shape and size?
Cable kickback, Walking Lunges , Single-Leg Dead lift and Squats

How many times per week do you train your glutes?
Twice a week

Who is your favourite booty inspiration?
The American Fitness Model and writer Jamie Eason

I know just how many girls are unhappy with the shape of their butt. It’s probably the most commonly hated bodypart on most females. But I hope this article has inspired you, educated you, and has motivated you to get out there, work hard and never give up hope of being happy with your glutes. Your hard work will pay off. Dedication, consistency and a little patience and there will be no stopping you!

Stay tuned for my very comprehensive Glute Training E-Book. I’ll be covering a huge range of topics on glutes and how to make them the best you can. And showing you training techniques you had probably never heard of. I can’t wait to get it happening.

Stay happy…, train hard and keep hip thrusting!

Melissa

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