Get a Firm and Shapely Booty
By Karen Sessions NSCA-CPT
Author of Killer Quads - Advanced Leg Training System
I took a poll on my forum on what members would like to learn about and the number one request was how to get a firm and shapely butt. This article will offer solutions on how to achieve this, but it is up to you to do the work. Nothing comes easy if it did everyone would be walking around with a booty to die for.
Most women are obsessed with building nice solid and shapely buns. The butt muscle is commonly referred to as the glutes. It gets this name from the three muscles that it consists of; the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and the gluteus minimus. Logic will tell you that the gluteus maximus is the largest of the three. It's the one that's most noticeable.
The gluteus medius and minimus are located around the body part of your pelvis, so they are not as apparent. All three glute muscles are involved in rotation and extension of your leg.
There are many exercises that shape and strengthen your glutes. The key is to train them effectively, without overtraining them. Although this key is simple, it is effective and vital. The question now is what exercises can you implement to catapult you to the “nice/firm butt” category?
Traditional Squats for Bun and Thigh Exercises – The squat is a compound exercise (works all the muscles simultaneously in that muscle group), and top class for adding shape to your bottom. Include this exercise first in your bun training to ensure you target the entire glute muscle simultaneously.
Use a variety of rep ranges and sets. It's safest to squat until your upper legs (from knee to hip) are parallel to the floor. However, at times you can squat past parallel, provided the poundage you use is light. Also, with light poundage you can vary foot placement and foot width to further target other areas of the upper legs.
Pile Squats for Bun and Thigh Exercises – To further extend the traditional squats, adding pile squats to your program can add some variety and help target the muscles of the inner and outer thighs to a much greater degree.
If you are unfamiliar with the pile squats it's simply taking a wide stance with your toes pointing outward. Holding a dumbbell in front of you and squat straight down and rise back in a controlled manner.
Reverse Partial Squats for Bun and Thigh Exercises – Training a muscle in its strongest position, which is the contraction point, it a sure fire way to build strength and muscle fast. However, there is another side to training a muscle to its fullest, and that's hitting the weakest part of the lift.
The strongest range of a traditional squat is from the last few inches to contraction point (standing upright). Therefore, if you want to work the weakest range, then that would be from it's stretched position (squatted position) to roughly mid-point.
Simply put, rather than doing the traditional full range squat, you will be squatting from the bottom position to mid point, back down to the squatted position.
To ensure safety on this exercise, you should perform these either with dumbbells or in the squat cage. Set up the safety rails in the squat cage so they are just below the barbell when you are in your full squatted position. You don't want the safety rails to touch your barbell as you squat, but it's there just in case you can't complete your set or you lose your balance.
Lunges for Bun and Thigh Exercises – Lunges are great for working all the muscles in your upper legs and glutes. This is an essential exercise, yet often neglected. Lunges can be performed in a variety of fashions such as walking lunges, reverse lunges, side lunges and so forth.
The Stepper for Bun and Thigh Exercises – The stepper is a great way to get cardio in, as well as build and shape your legs and glutes. The stepper requires you to use your legs, and glutes to move the foot platforms up and down, adding more resistance to those areas.
To build great buns and thighs you need to incorporate exercises that use those muscles to a large degree. Compound exercises should compose the bulk of your training. When you build your buns and thighs to their maximum potential, you wont' think twice when someone calls you a hard ass.
Karen Sessions NSCA-CPT
P.S. Want more advanced information on quality leg training? Check out Killer Quads - Advanced Leg Training System and create a pair of head-turning legs!