"Shake that healthy butt!" Sir Mixalot famously hollered in his 1992 hit song, ‘Baby Got Back’.
Toning and building the perfect glutes is a common goal for most people in the gym and personal training sessions. So, to help you kick off the New Year, here are the tips you need to know so you can ensure that you too have little in the middle but you got much back.
- Squatting is the key
To unlock the perfect backside, you will need to embrace the squat.
No other exercise will boost your butt quite like the good old squat, and it comes with the added benefit of improving your athleticism, flexibility and cardiovascular system.
Squats will also assist in helping you lose weight, tone your body, build your muscle and craft an improved, stronger overall physique.
As with all exercises, technique is all important to extract the most out of each squat. Thankfully, this is one of the easiest exercises to do correctly, as well as one of the most effective.
Start in a standing position with your feet set slightly wider than your hips, and your toes pointed slightly outwards. Focus on a spot on the wall in front of you to prevent your head from straying and looking at the floor or ceiling, this will help you maintain your position through the whole exercise.
Extend your arms out in front of you, parallel to the floor and keep your back in a neutral position – don't try and straighten up, relax and keep your spine in its natural position.
Breathe in as you push your butt back while bending your knees and keep going until your backside dips below your knees. Breathe out and drive through your heels and squeeze your butt at the top of the exercise to give it that extra bit of attention.
How many you can do will depend on your level of fitness, but four sets of 25 reps of bodyweight squats done daily will reap the rewards. If this is too much to begin with, drop the reps in each set and build up daily.
- Introduce weights
Once the drill of squats each day becomes easier (you will know when it is no longer testing you), it is time to bring weights into the your personal training equation.
By holding dumbbells, you will increase the difficulty, work your glutes harder and accelerate the calorie burning. You can also try holding the squat at the lowest position for 30 seconds to put some strain on your glutes and get the most out of the workout.
- Make walking a butt-busting exercise
Outside of the gym, there is a simple technique you can introduce to walking to really focus on your glutes.
When your leg is at full extension behind you, keep your heel planted to the ground as long as you can. Roll through the foot as you bring the foot forward and repeat with each step. This little hack will put more attention onto your backside and allow you to exercise it while you are out for a simple stroll.
- The bridge
Another popular and proven exercise for your butt is the bridge.
Lie on the ground, on your back with your arms by your sides, your knees bent (like a bridge) and your feet planted on the floor.
Tighten your glutes and pull upwards from your navel, creating a straight line from your sternum to your knees. Make sure you keep your eyes focused on a point on the ceiling to help keep your position stable. Hold this position for a few moments and then bring yourself back down. Repeat for as many as you can do across four sets.
- Watch your diet
Like all fitness goals, your exercise needs to meet a healthy diet and controlled portion sizes to be successful.
While everyone's dietary requirements are different (consult your GP or nutritionist for the best advice tailored to you), there are some foods known to assist in building butt mass (in a good way).
Try introducing quinoa, nuts, eggs, fish, chicken, oatmeal, avocados, brown rice, steak, sweet potatoes, green vegetables, beans and legumes into each meal. Not only are they healthy options, but they will also help you target those glutes of yours.