The Anatomy of a Perfect Booty

When it comes to butt-building, we often think that by doing a few squats here or there, our butts will magically lift and tone itself. But, to build a nice and toned booty, you must first understand the anatomy of one.

The buttocks are composed of three different muscles that do different things:

  1. The Gluteus medius: this muscle is located on the outer surface of your pelvic region. This muscle comprises part of your “hips” and is partially covered by the gluteus maximus muscle. This muscle works to provide rotation of the thigh outward from the center of the body to help you walk.
  2. The Gluteus maximus: the largest and the most superficial muscle of the bunch. This is the muscle that you can really see in nice, toned butts. The gluteus maximus muscle is responsible for movement of the hip and thigh.
  3. The Gluteus minimus: this muscle is the smallest of the bunch, located beneath the Gluteus medius. Just like the Gluteus medius, this muscle is also known as part of your “hip.” The minimus stabilizes our hips, rotates our thigh inward, and also abducts the hips.

By doing these glute isolation exercises and working each muscle, you can really get the definition that you have been dying for!

Gluteus medius Exercises

  • Donkey Kicks :
    1. Start on all fours, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips.
    2. Keep your right knee at a 90-degree angle as you slowly raise your leg behind you until your thigh is almost parallel to the floor. Pulse your flexed foot toward the ceiling by squeezing your glutes. Your back should remain perfectly still in a neutral spine. The motion should be small and controlled with the muscle doing the work and not momentum.
    3. Return to start position to complete one rep.
    4. Do 20 on each side, three times.
  • Step Ups :
    1. Stand with dumbbells grasped to sides facing side of bench.
    2. Place foot of first leg on bench. Stand on bench by extending hip and knee of first leg and place foot of second leg on bench.
    3. Step down with second leg by flexing hip and knee of first leg.
    4. Return to original standing position by placing foot of first leg to floor.
    5. Repeat first step with opposite leg alternating first steps between legs
  • Side Lunges :
    1. Stand with your feet and knees together.
    2. Take a large step with your right foot to the right side and lunge toward the floor.
    3. Make sure your right knee does not extend past your toes and keep your left leg relatively straight.
    4. Push off through your right foot to return to the start to complete one.
    5. Repeat with other leg.

Gluteus maximus Exercises

  • Sumo Squats :
    1. Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart, toes slightly turned out, holding a medicine ball in front of your chest.
    2. Squat down as low as you can, keeping your heels on the ground and your back straight.
    3. Press back up to standing. That's one rep.
  • Deadlifts :
    1. Stand upright and hold a barbell in front of your body at thigh height.
    2. Place a slight bend in your knees, maintain a flat back, bend at the waist, and slowly slide the weight along the front of your legs until it reaches your shins.
    3. Hold the stretch for 1s, powerfully contract your butt, and accelerate back up to starting position.
  • Single Legged Glute Bridges:
    1. Lie on your back with your knees bent so that your feet are flat on the ground.
    2. Press up through the feet to go into a “bridge” so that your bodyweight rests in your feet and shoulders.
    3. While in this position, extend one leg completely before placing it back down on the floor while lowering your body from the bridge.
    4. Alternate which leg extends each time you go up into the bridge.
    5. The backs of thighs (hamstrings) and glutes are the main targets during the bridge, while you will feel the leg extension in your quadriceps.
  • Fire Hydrants:
    1. Place your body on an all-fours position. Elbows should be slightly bent.
    2. Back should be parallel to the ground, not arched or swayed downward.
    3. Keeping the kneeling position raise left leg out to the side, parallel to the ground. Maintain for a second and slowly return to the initial position.
    4. Repeat movement with same leg until set is finished. Repeat the exercise using the right leg.

Gluteus minimus Exercises

  • Crossover Lunges :
    1. Stand with your hands by your sides.
    2. Step forward and cross over the stationary leg.
    3. Perform a lunge. You should feel the stretch in the hips.
  • Side Lying Clam :
    1. While lying on your side, keep both knees bent and flex the hips to 30 degrees.
    2. While keeping your heels touching and pelvis still, open your knees by contracting your glute medius. This is a very slow, small and targeted movement.
    3. Place your hand on your gluteus medius (just below and behind your hip) to ensure that it is firing during the movement.
  • Side Plank :
    1. Lie on your left side with your knees straight.
    2. Prop your upper body up on your left elbow and forearm. Position your elbow under your shoulder.
    3. Brace your core by contracting your abs forcefully as if you were about to be punched in the gut.
    4. Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders. Your head should stay in line with your body.
    5. Hold this position for the prescribed amount of time while breathing deeply. That's one set.
    6. Turn around so that you're lying on your right side and repeat

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