Next to a sleek and sexy, toned midsection, high, tight glutes are the focus and desire of many women. They want the hard muscles of a fitness model combined with the round derriere of a pop star. Women like fitness supermodel Jamie Eason and actress/singer Jennifer Lopez have a booty that is the envy of many. Back ends like this motivate women to sculpt shapely glutes that they can be proud to show off in a bikini, lingerie, that ultra-clingy party dress, or even their favorite pair of tight jeans.
Where to start? What to do? How does one go about building up the muscle without it being too much? How do they get the round shape lifted high off the back of the legs? How do they create that sleek and sexy side silhouette?
Physiology of the Glutes
To shape the perfect glutes, you have to target each muscle of the butt. There are three muscles that make up the gluteals:
- Gluteus Maximus - This is the largest and most superficial of the gluteal muscles and forms the bulk of the buttock mass.
- Gluteus Medius - This is largely covered by the gluteus maximus.
- Gluteus Minimus - This is the smallest and deepest of the gluteal muscles.
Many muscles - such as the Iliocostalis Lumborum, Multifidus and Quadratus Lumborum, Iliopsoa - also insert into and around the pelvis and play a role in how the glutes can appear, usually by contributing to the posture through effects on pelvis tilt, etc.
To shape the perfect glutes, you have to target your butt from many angles and there are a variety of exercises and activities that you can do to hit and develop each of the gluteal muscles for that desired perfection.
- Gluteus Maximus - Worked through flexion of the thigh.
- Gluteus Medius - Worked through adduction and lateral rotation of the thigh.
- Gluteus Minimus - Worked the same as the gluteus medius.
Training Exercises and Modes
If you want muscle, then you cannot neglect squats. The biggest exercise one can do, squats naturally release more growth hormone and testosterone than any other resistance exercise. More anabolic hormones released means more potential for muscle growth, and the more muscle in the glutes, the better your butt will look.
Although deadlifts do not target the gluteals specifically, it is a multijoint, compound exercise and therefore works multiple muscles, including the gluteals. More importantly, the deadlift is one of the most important exercises that you can do to improve your posture. Improving your posture can have a dramatic effect on the appearance of your butt.
A unilateral exercise, one-legged deadlifts work the glutes in more planes than the deadlift does, as well as adding variety to a training session. Working the gluteals in more planes means that more muscles are targeted. The more muscles targeted and worked, the better the overall muscular development of the butt, and the better the muscular development, the better its aesthetic appeal.
Lunges can be performed multiple ways to hit each muscle in the glutes, as well as developing and shaping the rest of the lower body. Static lunges are the most common type of lunges done. Walking lunges are a progression from static lunges, incorporating a level of functionality that can be transferred into daily living.
Using another plane, side lunges add more variety into a training program, and not only can you focus more specifically on either the quadriceps or hamstrings - depending on the length of your stance - but it also hits the adductors.
Using only bodyweight or using additional weight, step-ups are an excellent exercise for developing the glutes, as well as working the legs - more quadriceps or hamstrings, depending on how high the step is.
The gluteus maximus is used when climbing stairs and running, and therefore these activities are excellent for developing the muscle. Climbing stairs, either at a steady pace or sprinting will help in attaining firm, round buttocks.
Have you ever seen a sprinter with a square, saggy butt? No, because their training makes for the complete opposite. Power and explosiveness, speed off the blocks, anaerobically exhausting the body with intervals, working the legs and gluteals.
Sprinters are among the leanest individuals on the planet, a product of their training methods and mode, making sprints the perfect cardio for helping you get lean enough to show off your hard earned muscle, shaping your butt as you desire it.
Building and shaping your glutes so that they sit high off your legs, hard and muscular, yet round enough that they give that perfect silhouette to your figure is not impossible, and through incorporating a few different exercises into your training program, you too can have the sexy, shapely butt of a fitness model.
Exercises that develop each of the gluteal muscles and target them from all angles are the best to use, and include squats, deadlifts, one-legged deadlifts, static lunges, walking lunges, side lunges, and step-ups. Stairs and sprinting can also be used as part of a cardio program to shape the glutes into the butt you desire.
- Delavier, F. (2006). Strength training anatomy (2nd ed.). France: Human Kinetics.
- Marieb, E. N. (2004). Human anatomy and physiology (6th ed.). San Francisco: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.