Building A Shapely​ Booty
Oxygen Magazine Australia|Issue 99

Are We Doing It All Wrong?!

Amelia Ricci
Did you know that one of the most commonly searched fitness questions is ‘how to build a bigger, rounder booty?’ It’s also interesting to learn that the glute muscles are not just for aesthetics. Physiotherapists and Pilates instructors emphasise glute exercises because these muscles are a key stabiliser for your spine. And, in more recent years, bikini/ fitness competitors have also embraced this style of exercise. So, if you’re trying to get a rounder, more shapely booty it’s important to understand the muscles and which exercises are most effective. GLUTE WORKOUTS AND HOW WE GOT IT WRONG

You might remember Jane Fonda – she wore a leotard and leg warmers, and was famous for her glute-burning leg routines, with women across the world copying her style! Fast forward a few decades and every fitness guru has moved on from these lighter routines to favour heavy squats, lunges and deadlifts for their booty-sculpting routine.

As a personal trainer and bikini competitor who loves lifting heavy, I’ve always found best results from a combination of Pilates and heavy weights, but it wasn’t until recent years that using both styles of exercises became popular.

We now have proof that heavy leg work does not necessarily build the glutes. Bret Contreras measured muscle activation during maximal lifts, for example squats, in his PhD research and showed that whilst the glutes are involved there are many alternative exercises that primarily target the glutes.

Reading this made me excited as it proves to sceptics that much of the Pilates leg work, that is either unweighted or a lighter resistance, does help us to build a shapely booty! The glute exercises pioneered by Joseph Pilates will burn even the most seasoned powerlifter or bodybuilder. The beauty of these exercises is that resistance can be added with either an ankle weight, band or on the Pilates reformer.

I don’t suggest you eliminate heavy lifting – but make this part of your weekly routine and include some specific exercises that target your booty for faster results!

The glute muscles

We’ve all heard about the importance of mind-to-muscle connection, however, it can be difficult to master this in practice. During a workout, you might start with good technique but as you get tired your form starts to slip. Understanding the function and movements of the glutes will make it much easier to really think about what you are doing in the gym and ‘feel’ the exercise more… and get results faster!

THE LARGEST AND MOST SUPERFICIAL MUSCLE, THE GLUTEUS MAXIMUS, IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THREE MAIN FUNCTIONS:

1. Hip extension

This occurs when you increase the angle between the thigh and the front of the pelvis. Exercises include the kneeling donkey kick, cable or machine glute kickback, glute bridge and reverse hyper extension.

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