The Booty: It’s Not Just Great to Look At
By: Daniel C. Shipman
If you don’t know that having a large butt is the trend these days, then I don’t know what rock you just crawled out from under butt get with the times.
The gluteus maximus (your butt) is the largest muscle in the body and it has a very important job. It keeps us upright!
The main actions the gluteus maximus perform is hip extension and to a lesser extent is also externally rotates the hips.
You also have a gluteus medius and a gluteus minimus. These assist in a lot of the actions that your gluteus maximus performs, but their main action is abduction of the leg.
How does having a strong gluteus help you?
Having a strong glute also makes you stronger in everything you do.
The actions of the glute are directly tied into your core. When your core is at its best and working its hardest the glutes are always involved. The two exercises that activate your core the most are the squat and the deadlift. There are many forces acting on your body during these moves. Forces like gravity and torque can put a lot of strain on your lumbar spine (low back) if your core isn’t stabilizing your lumbar spine. During these exercises the gluteus is there to extend the hip and stand your body back upright.
In fact, I cue my clients to squeeze their glutes as they are standing up to reinforce the action of the glutes during a deadlift.
The gluteus is also important in fighting sitting at a desk all day. Tight hip flexors from sitting all day cause your upper torso to be pulled down in front of you. Having a strong gluteus counteracts this. As mentioned earlier the main action of the gluteus is hip extension, which fights hip flexion.
This is where the biggest problem comes in, most of the new clients I take on, have no gluteus strength. They have relied on other muscles, like the muscles of the lumbar spine to perform the actions that the gluteus should be handling. The greatest thing that has come out of the “big booty” trend is people are learning to fight the “I sit at a desk all day” issue.
Now you may be asking yourself how do I get a big booty too?
Well, here are two exercises that with assist you in having greater gluteus strength and size.
Barbell Hip Bridge
Lay on your back, I use a BOSU in the video to increase the range of motion, but that is not necessary. Grab a mat or pad of some sort to put between your hips and the bar for protection. As you notice in the video the bar is over my legs and I roll it up onto my waist, this is the easiest way to get it into position. Once the bar is in position keep your hands on it to stabilize the bar from side to side. You will push through your heels and squeeze your glutes to get the bar up as high as you can off the ground, then lower back down under control. Once you have control of the bar on the hips and get used to that feeling you will be able to add a lot of weight to this, the amount may even surprise you.
Resisted Lateral Walk
This exercise is made to target the gluteus medius. Use a band like the one in the video or if you don’t have one of those, use a normal band under your feet and hold the handles in front of your legs. All you have to do is keep your knees slightly bent and walk sideways. Try to also make sure your feet stay facing forward. You should feel a burn up the sides of the legs.
Author: Personal Trainer and Owner of Fitness Reimagined
Daniel C. Shipman, BS, CSCS, ACSM-HFS