In decades past - not all that long ago - before Sir Mix-A-Lot, before Crossfit and long before the Kardashians, there was a period dominated by supermodel body ideals when it wasn’t cool to have a big ol butt. Fortunately, times have changed and society is again embracing the beauty of a healthy backside. I’m a big believer in NEVER skipping glute workouts for 3 main reasons:
Gluteus Maximus is the biggest muscle in the body, by volume. When you look at the combined area of the three muscles in the gluteal muscle group, you can transform a good percentage of your body. By working the biggest muscles you can have the biggest impact on metabolism — a pound of muscle burns six calories a day at rest and a pound of fat burns about two calories a day. So, that muscle is three times more metabolically active at rest than fat. Since it’s the biggest muscle in the body it will work the hardest for you even when you’re resting. Purely for the sake of efficiency I prefer glute focused workouts. We all have busy lives. If I have a limited amount of time to spend in the gym I want to get the biggest impact out of my workout.
Glutes are where it ALL comes together, literally and figuratively. When you work the glutes you’re focused on the center of the posterior chain. Glutes connect the legs, back, and abs and as the body’s largest and most powerful muscle group they play the biggest role in the movement of the body. Your butt stands you up, sits you down, and moves you around. If you have to move, you’re using the butt to do it. Strong glutes and hips are the foundation for good functional movement in everything you do, and even more important to maintain as you age. Everything benefits from a glute day.
It’s HOT! It’s OK to be a little bit vain about motivation. You work hard in the gym, and the body confidence that comes with big, beautiful glutes is one of the best and most visible rewards. There’s a reason social media is booming with belfies, but did you know there’s also science behind it? The University of Texas conducted a study of men’s preference for certain body types and determined that the current obsession with a curvy backside actually has evolutionary, prehistoric influences. "What's fascinating about this research is that it is yet another scientific illustration of a close fit between a sex-differentiated feature of human morphology—in this case lumbar curvature—and an evolved standard of attractiveness," said the study's co-author David Buss, a UT Austin psychology professor. "This adds to a growing body of evidence that beauty is not entirely arbitrary, or 'in the eyes of the beholder' as many in mainstream social science believed, but rather has a coherent adaptive logic." Who knew? And the best thing to take away from these study results is that unlike other body parts that have been idealized (and that are often limited by your genetic code), you CAN build a better butt. A little time in the gym can restore those gluteal muscles from dormant, flat, and flabby.
So the next time you walk into the gym with no clear plan on what you want to work, or even at home if you want to squeeze in a few extra reps, remember it all starts at the bottom. You can create an entirely effective booty workout using no equipment with some basic movements like lunges, speed skaters, donkey kicks, glute bridges, warrior poses and air squats, even by adding hills or sprints to a running day you can super-activate the glutes. But if you want to get serious about building a better butt, the ideal booty workout includes some isolated targeting, weights and explosive plyometric movement, so get friendly with the GHD, move fast, lift heavy, rest and repeat.