Motivational pictures are the craze since 2013. I think everyone has this friend whose Facebook wall (and your newsfeed until you discover amazing button called ‘Unfollow’)
is daily filled with sweaty people and something along the lines of ‘sweat is fat crying’, or ‘pain is temporary, victory is forever’ and other pictures that show how powerful Photoshop really is. Among those there is a popular genre showing filled backsides of females with a caption ‘She squats’. It is so popular it has its dedicated Page with over 1 million fans.
Going by the evidence of a random picture found online you can assume that squatting is an all round booty builder, but is it? Can you fill out your jeans doing squats and if so, what is the best method? Are there better exercises? What are they? Can pictures found online not be telling the truth?
In this two part blog I will try my best to give you an answer to this burning question and provide compelling videos of exercises to perform and give you a template programme for a booty filler.
Disclaimer: I will be doing the exercises so graphic content of the videos may be disappointing, but it will make you focus on the educational purpose of this blog.
First let’s make clear two things, what is a squat and how muscles function.
Squat can be treated as a skill or exercise; Skill of squatting basically involves taking your hips down and back up. Not worrying about straight back or any other factors.
Exercise, variations that range from goblet squat, back squat, front squat, and other plane predominant variations, involves more focus at least to hold upright posture and relative torso stiffness to counteract forces on your spine. We will not be going on about the skill; this can be improved by performing the exercise.
To explain if the squat exercise is in fact best for your bottom or what are the options let’s look at how muscle works and what are planes of motion.
There are 3 planes of motion: sagittal, frontal and transverse. Muscle moves in every plane, but usually one or two predominates.
For example and clarity let’s use standing human being and explain planes of movement based on movements that start at the hip.
Sagittal is when a person bends forward or back. Frontal plane happens when person bends to the side. Transverse motion is the rotation.
Muscles shorten, and lengthen in one, two, or all three planes. When a muscle is lengthened in one plane, it is more easily activated in other planes. To maintain tension while allowing the movement, muscle can be shortened in one plane, whilst lengthened in others – this may happen when load is too big.
Your tush has three main muscles. For this blog we only need to focus on two, as Gluteus Minimus is a deep-layered muscle.
Gluteus Medius is the muscle you see on the side of your hips. It helps to stabilize them and drives your leg away from your body (this movement is called abduction). This is a shortening motion, to lengthen Gluteus Medius and therefore activate your booty to the fullest you need to perform the opposite; drive leg past midline of your body.
Gluetus Maximus is the big booty muscle; to lengthen it you can perform the same action, but Maximus reacts more to saggital and transverse lengthening.
So now we now basics of functional anatomy can we say that squat is the ultimate booty builder?
The answer is no for the ultimate booty builder but before you throw the baby with the batch water let’s look at the changes that can be made.
You surely lengthen the gluteus in sagittal plane when you go down, but can you affect other planes much? That depends!
Activation of glutes maximus relies on two factors: depth of the squat and width of the stance.[2,3] Why is that? My guess is that the wider you stand at the bottom portion of the squat your thighs will have to turn in a bit
and this will cause extra activation.
So go for a wide stance, but before you will start doing splits make sure that the width of your squat doesn’t impair the depth of it.
So what else can be done to shape up your bottom?
Studies show that step-ups with semi heavy load significantly improve the activation of your backside. Same for deadlifts and single leg deadlifts and squats.[5,6]
Full programme will be available next week so not to spoil it let me move on to gluteus medius.
For fully rounded and shaped booty you cannot forget about the side sister of glute maximus and I said earlier that great way to do so is to cross the midline of your body.
Crossover step-ups, offset single leg deadlifts and off-step curtsey deadlifts (I am not even sure if those names are accurate but the movements fit the description) are all great to hit your side gluteus.[4,7,8]
Next week you will have a full booty-building programme that you can try and get bikini ready for upcoming season.
* To get the freshest updates make sure to sign up and get my FREE video on optimal nutrition and training strategies for a Good Looking Body here
** Make sure to check out my Online Coaching Services. I currently have 4 spaces left for Deluxe programme and 8 spaces left for Tailored programme.
1. Hartmann H, Wirth K, Klusemann M. Analysis of the Load on the Knee Joint and Vertebral Column with Changes in Squatting Depth and Weight Load. Sports Medicine. 2013 [pubmed]
2. Caterisano A, et al. The effect of back squat depth on the EMG activity of 4 superficial hip and thigh muscles. J Strength Cond Res. 2002 [pubmed]
3. Paoli A, Marcolin G, Petrone N. The effect of stance width on the electromyographical activity of eight superficial thigh muscles during back squat with different bar loads. J Strength Cond Res. 2009 [pubmed]
4. Simenz CJ1, Garceau LR, Lutsch BN, Suchomel TJ, Ebben WP. Electromyographical analysis of lower extremity muscle activation during variations of the loaded step-up exercise. J Strength Cond Res. 2012 [pubmed]
5. Webster KA1, Gribble PA. A comparison of electromyography of gluteus medius and maximus in subjects with and without chronic ankle instability during two functional exercises. Phys Ther Sport. 2013 [pubmed]
6. Swinton PA, Stewart A, Agouris I, Keogh JW, Lloyd R. A biomechanical analysis of straight and hexagonal barbell deadlifts using submaximal loads. J Strength Cond Res. 2011 [pubmed]
7. Hamstra-Wright KL, Huxel Bliven K. Effective exercises for targeting the gluteus medius. J Sport Rehabil. 2012 [pubmed]
8. Mercer VS, Gross MT, Sharma S, Weeks E. Comparison of gluteus medius muscle electromyographic activity during forward and lateral step-up exercises in older adults. Phys Ther. 2009 [pubmed]
'Greg Mikolap, BSc in Physiotherapy, and a Personal Trainer based in Maidenhead, England. Greg is also a founder of www.PTFolder.com, training solution for people who want to get fit or for people who help others get fit. With almost 10 years experience in the industry, Greg is also a course director for Faster Health & Fitness and is working on his volleyball performance book.'