This article will take you 9 minutes to read. Feel free to leave your questions in the comment section, they will be answered!
While this article might interest men to grow their booty, I know for sure this is a top of great interest for a lot of women! Indeed, when getting into the gym, one of the muscle groups which many women want to build are the glutes to get a bigger, rounder butt. This article will go straight to the point. In another article entitled “Women in Bodybuilding”, I talk about how it can be hard for women to start lifting weights.
Not because training is hard, but because it can lead to thinking that lifting weights as a woman will make you look too manly, bulky, too strong, not feminine… Therefore, holding you back in the process of starting getting in your best shape. Today, for the women out there who are still hesitating to lift weights… this article might indeed sound a bit daunting…but don’t worry! These pieces of advice will lead you to have the perfect booty, if there is such a thing!
Table of Contents
What is YOUR definition of a nice butt?
Different standards for different people. Your ideal type of booty might not be another woman’s wish. Define where you want to get to. Basically, the bigger butt you want, the more likely you are going to want to improve on your lifts and overall performance. Does that mean you can’t look good without lifting a lot of weight? No, it’s just that your glutes won’t be as big and muscly.
It’s just like comparing these two pictures of men.
They’re both shredded and both look great in bodybuilding standards! Just that one is much smaller than the other. I know many people who will like the athletic picture number one better and would be happy to stop there and maintain.
Well, same goes for the buttocks! Comparing these two women, they both look great, just that one has bigger glutes than the other.
Set your goals and define what type of booty you’d like to have!
What is the philosophy behind getting big glutes?
We are not going to go into detail in this article about genetics. They matter for sure and we try to cover that in the article “How to look like Rachel Mclish”. Instead, we will just state that the bigger butt you want, the more you’ll have to improve in your glute training routine. Genetics aside, that is a true statement and there are no excuses. To build a big, strong butt you’ll have to choose the best exercises for yourself and scale them up.
I would not advise to stick to exercises which feel good to you. You can refer to the article about pump where I state that the pump is not something to rely on. The pump is something you have got to forget about to build great buttocks. You want exercises that offer a good stretch, that are physiologically diverse and scalable in terms of weight. That pump and burning feeling will come with it anyway, but don’t let it be your focus point.
This means throwing your resistance bands away. You don’t need them! If you want to use bands, you can use them for glute activation as a part of your warm up. Even then, your warm up should still include practicing the main exercises of your session from lightweight to heavier weight, building towards your working sets.
Activating your glutes through bands is not enough. The key points here really are to focus on improving and specialising on the exercises which really matter.
Should you try and isolate the different parts of your glutes?
Here are the three parts of your glute muscles:
The biggest part of the butt is the gluteus Maximus. This part is powerful, it helps us lift our body weight for example when we get up. You’ll use it a lot when running, going up the stairs, sprinting, squatting etc.
The gluteus minibus is a powerful abductor of the thigh at the hip joint. The gluteus minimus are under the gluteus medius.
The gluteus medius helps you abduct and internally rotate the thigh in collaboration with the gluteus minimus.
You can decide to isolate your gluteus medius and minimus if you are someone who likes to go into detail. For example, when it comes to competition or if this has a physiological purpose such as reinforcing and stabilising the overall glutean functions, go for it. Truth is, you indirectly work on the medius and minimus part when working on the maximus glutean area.
We often talk about the gluteus maximus because it is simply the most relevant and biggest part of your bum. When performing squats, all parts are highly involved. We could compare this to when working on biceps and your forearms are involved in the movements. Your forearms will be used a lot in bicep and back training movements, which is sometimes enough to develop them. But sometimes it is not and people want to spend time working on them. Same goes for this situation.
What are the best exercises to get a bigger rounder butt?
Here are the best exercises to work on your glutes.
1. Hip Thrusts
If you have heard of glute bridges, well the hip thrust is an even better version. Hip thrusts have become the go-to exercise when it comes to your glutes. They target your glutes like no other exercise! Hip thrusts are basically a loaded version of the glute bridge. The difference is that your back is resting on the bench which increases the range of motion.
2- Squats to your maximum range of motion
Squats are a very basic yet incredible exercise to build glutes. However, my advice would be, don’t do half squats. Go as far as your range of motion allows you to and don’t squeeze your bum at the top (this last little move is very popular yet rather inefficient). This video will explain very well what you should and should not do.
3- Split Squats with elevated leg
Bulgarian split squats can be a great exercise if you make sure you are doing the movement correctly and make sure to stretch your glutes and hamstrings like you never have before. I believe it is possible to emphasise work on the glutes. This video explains it well. Try and have your pushing leg as far forward as possible, pretty much aligned with your face as shown below. It will lessen the work on the quads.
4- Hip machine (but not side leg raises!!)
This exercise can be decent. It offers a good stretch for the medius and minimus part of your glutes. Although the resistance this exercise offers can be hard on your hips.
With this exercise, you are digging into detail, like we mentioned earlier, and working on putting tension in those medius and minimus areas which might help you recruiting these parts better when performing your main exercises. You can practice it at the end of your session.
Glutes exercises that are popular but that you should probably avoid
If you are tired of seeing girls doing silly exercises yet getting perfect bums… then you knocked on the right door. Some people are certainly more blessed with genetics and they will perform exercises which aren’t that efficient but which will still make gains from them. It is more due to genetics than the actual efficiency of these exercises. Don’t despair and don’t be fooled, we’re telling you what not to do.
1- Side lying leg raises
Abductor raises are a bad exercise. Why? Because you can’t really scale the weights towards heavier loads and there is no real resistance offering you a good stretch. The only effective use of them is for glute activation, but not to specifically build muscle!
2- Half Squats
Stopping in the middle of the movement is not going to optimise squats into making your bum work more. Go as low as you can within the correct range of motion, parallel to the ground at least (and imagine you want to sit down/touch a chair placed 50cm behind you).
3- Box Jumps and its variations
Sure, it’s decent cardio and you will feel your bum burning, but you won’t achieve anything with these if you don’t scale the weights up. You want to be under tension but with enough load. Maybe you can add this exercise in to your cardio routine at the end of your bodybuilding sessions.
4- Side Steps with Bands
Another movement which could be used as a warm-up if you wish. Too many women rely on this exercise and if you’re looking to stay active and engage your muscles then why not! If you want to build muscle, however, you can stop this exercise right now. It’s impossible to scale the weights to heavier loads.
5- Glute cable Kickbacks
Glute cable kickbacks are like triceps kickbacks, they’re pretty pointless, the resistance which allows stretching is pretty poor. Although, you can perform the exercise and benefit from it by putting yourself in the right position. This is explained in the video below. It’s just that this should not be your go-to exercise like we see it so often. If you have to start with something, go for some good old squats or split squats and do kickbacks towards the end of your session.
How badly do you want that bigger, rounder butt?
If this is your number one priority, you can train glutes twice a week. It’s just that there are other important muscles like your hamstrings, quads or calves which you might not want to neglect.
So if the butt is your number one priority, you can simply have an exercise which will work on everything, like squats. Do enough sets of squats so you’re really giving it enough work for your hams and quads, too. Then you can add two glute exercises for the rest of your session, as shown above in the best exercises section. Repeat twice a week and you will be sure to not only highly focus on your glutes but also keep improving on your quads and hams.
Example of a work out to build your glutes!
How to get a bigger butt in a month, you ask?
While natural bodybuilding takes a long time, if you start focusing on what matters, let me tell you that you can start seeing yourself get a bigger butt in only a month.
Here is what you could do, twice a week.
As we said, the goal here is to do legs twice a week with an emphasis on the glutes.
Squats: 5×5 (feel free to read the article on 5×5 and why this method can be useful)
Hip thrust: 5×8-12
Hip abductor machine: 5×12-15
Bulgarian split squats: 5×12-15
Is it that simple?
Why bother about doing all these “pump” and “technique” exercises as mentioned above?
Focus on what matters: good old basic exercises and go hard! That’s it.
Write down your results and improve.
What if it gets too easy?
Scale the weight up, do more volume, seek progression on these exercises. I’d recommend reading the article “How many repetitions to build muscle naturally”. It might help you really understand what I mean by scaling and progressing.
Making sure to warm up is essential, this is why there is an article on it which I invite you to read too!
Also, calves were not mentioned as part of this leg workout, because the article is about glutes, but of course, you might want to include calves at the end of your session.
Any nutritional guidelines?
We have a full guide on nutrition in natural bodybuilding. It explains how things work depending on your level and what you are aiming for. Although, in this specific case, we can make a quick recap.
If you are a complete beginner, stay at maintenance level and improve as much as you can. You have a lot of potential to build muscle when going through the “beginner gains phase” as explained in this article. Once you have made decent progress, you can then start slowly bulking and be in a small to moderate calorie surplus.
As explained in the guide, this will allow you to feed your body and muscles to grow bigger. It will allow you to have more energy, get stronger, do more volume of work and, therefore, build more muscle.
Short article but straight to the point.
Follow those guidelines and you’ll be sure to build a great bubble butt.
And you know what’s pretty cool? Any questions, I can answer them in the comments.
So, key points to remember?
- Pump is not something to aim for. Forget about fancy exercises, the burning feeling does not equal muscle gains.
- Focus on the basic exercises which allow you to scale and go heavier over time.
- If you want to use resistance bands, they should only be used to warm-up and activate your muscles.
- Reach your maximum beginner gains phase potential, then slightly bulk up.
- Make sure you get at least one major exercise targeting your quads and hamstrings too in your two glute-focused sessions a week.
- Don’t think that you will instantly look like a huge male bodybuilder if you start lifting heavy!