The glutes are one of the most important muscle groups that a person can train.  They are essential for protecting the lower back and developing force in most athletic motions.  They are under developed and under used by a lot of people in our society where we spend a lot of the day just sitting on them.  If your glutes are not firing properly or too weak to handle a load, then the stress goes to your lower back and then you have a problem.  As you know, lower back pain can be pretty crappy.

The muscles gluteus maximus, minimus, and medius make up the muscles collectively called “glutes”.   They are very large and powerful muscles that most people don’t develop to their potential.  They can produce large amounts of force and help the hips extend which is an essential motion in many sports and activities.  Visually, the impact on a female is quite obvious as Freddy Mercury said “Fat bottom girls make the rocking world go round” and he wasn’t even into girls.  When it comes to males, most women don’t complain about a well developed backside.  Nor do men, ask Freddy Mercury.

This is an example of a routine given to me from a new female client who was complaining that she lifted very hard but had no butt.

Smith machine squats 3×12

Leg Curl 3×15

Leg Ext 3×15

Leg Press 4×10

Jogging or Biking 3x per week.

Although many people would consider this a complete lower body routine it is actually stinks.  No exercise on this routine would adequately stimulate the glutes.  Instead it develops the quadriceps and hamstrings (only the bicep femoris , but that is a discussion for another time.)  With the smith machine people tend to stay too upright and not drive with the hips.  On the leg press people tend to push off their toes with a narrow stance, and neither jogging nor biking works the glutes to any significant extent.  The result of this is strong legs and injury potential due to under developed glutes and hamstrings leaving a dark streak in her pants of performance.

A better choice would be exercises such as..

Full barbell squats, Low bar squats, Box Squats, walking lunges, deadlifts, sumo deadlifts, barbell glute bridge/hip thrust, sprints, hill running, single split squats, harness sled pulls, step ups and other fun things.

As you can see, some of the most effective exercises are some of the most difficult.  That is why people avoid them.  In addition, just doing the exercises doesn’t mean you will grow a bountiful booty.  You must perform them correctly.  You should be very anal about your form.  This is especially difficult if you are coming from dysfunction as your body will try to fake its way through exercises.

Some signs that you have weak or dysfunctional glutes can be seen when you squat with a barbell…

-Can’t go below parallel without shifting weight to toes

– EXCESSIVLY lean forward when tired

-Knees buckle in

-low back tightens up quickly

-back of legs look flat from the side

-You have no ass

These are not guarantees by any means but should get you thinking at least.  Once you have control of your butt, don’t be scared to put some weight on the bar.  You can’t get a powerful behind without making the muscle work hard.   Women need to remember that this is part of the body that you can actually change.  That is why butt implants are so funny to me.   Why go through that when you can grow a real one?  It just takes work.  Real work.  Not easy cardio or squatting on a bosu ball (if this is you, fire your trainer).

Weak glutes are one of the most common problems I see.  That is why I studied for 6 years at Sir Mix-A-Lots Center for Booty science.  (Accreditation pending)  Remember that just because you have a fat butt doesn’t mean you have a functional butt.  You can’t contract fat.  Don’t get the two confused.   Please don’t be scared of getting away from machines in your workout.  The body is designed to move freely.  You are setting yourself up for disaster by trying to train it to do otherwise.  If you are VERY dysfunctional, you may need to train things such as bird dogs, bodyweight step ups, bodyweight glute bridges, and other basic movement patterns under the watchful eye of a qualified trainer before you attempt basic exercises like the squat.  Build good habits early so you don’t have to step backwards later.

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