By Jessica Morris
JLo, Beyonce and Nicki Minaj not only have one, but sing about them. Whole workouts and dance routines are created to help you get one. Kim Kardashian is famous for hers, and many (including Kim, it’s rumoured) are getting surgery to get one. Yep, I’m talking about a round, firm booty.
Vogue Magazine declared “We’re officially in the era of the big booty,” and given that researchers have been highlighting the health benefits of a booty workout, this can only be a good thing. Having strong glutes can help your posture, improve your performance in sports and yoga, and help you lose weight: as muscle is metabolically active, even when you’re not working out, your muscles will burn calories from stored fat. In fact, studies suggest that for every pound of muscle you build, your body will burn an extra 50 calories per day. Since the glutes and hamstrings are two of the largest muscle groups in the body, their potential contribution to fat loss is not to be underestimated.
A strong butt can also work to prevent lower back pain, since strong glutes support the lower back – when the glutes aren’t strong enough to perform their hip extension function, muscles that weren’t designed for the job will take over, and over time, these ‘helper’ muscles may become overstressed, resulting in pain and compression in the lumbar spine, hips and knees.
Because the glutes are also hip stabilizers, weak gluteal muscles can result in poor alignment of the entire lower body, leaving you prone to injuries including Achilles tendonitis, shin splints, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) sprains and tears and iliotibial (IT) band syndrome.
Strengthening your glutes is easy to do at home with classic exercises like donkey kicks, lunges, leg lifts, and squats. Below, fitness model Vicky Justiz shows you how to get a sexy booty and nice thighs with this 10 minute lunge workout you can at home every day. If you do have access to weights though, I highly recommend my 3 move booty workout following the video – it works for me!
1. Barbell Deadlifts
Working your posterior chain, which includes your hamstrings, calves, glutes and back, will give you a heavenly backside that will definitely generate some positive attention. Deadlifts are a great compound exercise that develop a nice bubble butt.
For your starting position, you should place your hands hip-distance apart on the bar, while you keep the bar close to your shins and maintain a tight upper-back and lats. Push through your heels as you lift the bar up your legs towards your hips. Squeeze your glutes and legs at the top of the rep. As you descend, push your glutes and pelvis back, as the bar draws down your legs and back onto the ground, while maintaining a proud chest.
What to avoid: rounding your back, having the weight fall on your toes, having the bar travel far away from your body. Avoid locking out your knees at the top of the deadlift—keep a soft bend at the knee.
Try 3 sets of 10-12 reps at a challenging weight.
2. Hip-Thrusters / Glute Bridges
With your knees bent and your feet placed evenly on the floor, place your upper back on an elevated surface such as a bench or blocks. Roll a weighted barbell with either a folded yoga mat, or a thick attachable sponge to the bar. Place the bar on your hips, hold onto the bar with a wide-grip, and drive the weight through your heels as you push your glutes and hips towards the ceiling, squeezing your glutes at the top of the rep. Repeat 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
What not to do: Avoid placing the bar too low (onto your thighs) or too high (onto your abdomen).
2. Split Squats
If you’re looking for an all-out leg and booty burn, this is the exercise for you. Begin with your feet between hip and shoulder-width apart. The front leg will be approximately 20 inches ahead of your torso, while your back leg will be approximately the same distance, behind your torso. Maintain a posterior or backwards pelvic tilt (tailbone tucked under) as you bend your knees to lower towards the floor. Only go as deep as you can maintain that pelvic position. Drive up to the starting position.
Use both legs to lower and raise in the position, and do 3 sets of 10-12 reps per leg. One leg at a time, then alternate. An easy way to keep the reps consistent is to have your back knee bend straight down to the floor, and raise straight back up.
What to avoid: Letting your pelvis tip forward, resulting in arching, and straining your back. Allowing your knees to cave in towards the mid-line of your body throughout the range of motion.
Try this challenging yet fun workout 3-4 times a week and watch that booty grow!
Jessica Morris is a personal trainer and nutritionist. Visit her site here.