You don't have to look through many Instagram accounts or listen to more than a couple songs to realize that for women, the booty is in. The trend may have started with JLo, but Kim Kardashian and Nicki Minaj have somehow managed to make the big butt even bigger. Like an overheated investment craze, we're now in the midst of a full-on Butt Bubble when it comes to owning a bubble butt.
Not all women, however, are naturally blessed with an on-trend ass. Not to worry, ladies: If your cross to bear is a flat bum, you can always spend your hard-earned money on some butt-lifting underwear, padded jeans, or silicone implants. Round and rounder they go, one silly gluteal gimmick after another. Rest assured the beauty industry is very happy to use your insecurity to rake in the cash.
Funnily enough, the fitness industry has been enthusiastically pro-booty since before pop-culture icons
The benefits of having big, strong glutes—improved posture, better overall strength and power, decreased back pain—aren't a secret. They've been all but shouted from the rooftops for years.
It's a wonder, then, why some women spend money on foam-filled jeans when they could spend less on a gym membership for a longer-lasting effect.
SQUAT AND DEADLIFT, BITCHES
You want a round, shapely butt that defies gravity? Lift. You want to get rid of saddlebags and make your legs more defined? Lift. You want to rock a pair of leggings so hard your ex's eyes will bulge out of their sockets? Lift.
And by lift, I mean put weight on an actual barbell and move it. Your glutes are muscles just like any other on your body. If you want them to grow and thus make your butt rounder, you need to challenge them with weight.
Here are five lifts that can improve the way you look in jeans, a thong, or, well, nothing, naturally. You don't need to spend a dime more than your usual monthly gym membership fee to enjoy a better-looking butt.
BETTER BUTT LIFTS
Personally, I favor exercises that train the body as a whole and improve athleticism and strength. My choices for butt-building moves may differ from what you've read in many women's health-and-fitness magazines.
Exercise 1 Squat
The back squat is the king of butt exercises. You don't have to load the bar with as much weight as possible in order to feel them working.
The trick to doing a squat so it improves your butt is doing it correctly. Place a barbell on your traps (don't use the Smith machine) and stand with your feet a little farther than shoulder-width apart. Push your butt back like you're sitting in a chair.
Using your hips rather than your knees to drive the movement will activate your glutes, hamstrings, adductors, and lower back. Push up through your heels on the way up.
Exercise 2 Hip Thrust
Hip thrusts are a great movement if you're in the market for a firmer behind. Sure it's a little awkward doing these in the gym, but the burn you'll feel in your glutes will make you forget everyone else.
Sit on the floor with your feet on the ground and a barbell across your hips. Lean your upper back against a bench. Drive through your feet, extending your hips upward as far as possible. Slowly lower your hips back down until your butt is on the ground. Increase the weight as necessary.
Exercise 3 Deadlift
You don't have to be a powerlifter to employ heavy deadlifts in your training. Remember, the back side of your body should work as a chain. You want your legs and butt to work together. The deadlift is the perfect exercise to train your posterior chain to work seamlessly.
The glutes, hamstrings, and lower back are responsible for hip extension. In reality, a deadlift is just a really heavy extension. Keep your core tight and pull the bar straight up your legs. Don't let it drift forward.
Exercise 4 Glute-Ham Raise
Glute Ham Raise
The glute-ham raise is one of my all-time favorite exercises. You don't need to do more than 5-8 reps to feel them working. Once again, though, the trick to activating the right muscles is doing the movement correctly.
You're not doing a back extension; once you're in the machine, try to keep your back in the same flat position throughout the movement. You'll generate the movement with your hamstrings and your glutes.
Lower yourself slowly. You may need a box in front of you so you can push off with your hands if you need assistance. To move back up, pull with your hamstrings until your hips are in full extension.
If you don't have a glute-ham machine available to you, use a lat pulldown machine. Put your knees on the pad where your butt usually is, and your feet where your knees would usually go.
Exercise 5 Lying Side Clam Shell and Lying Side Hip Abduction
Although I'm not a huge fan of isolation exercises, these are great movements for strengthening the medial glute. The medial glute lies on the upper, outer portion of your rump. It's an essential for performing full-body exercises with sound technique, so it's a good idea to spend some time strengthening them.
To perform the clam shell, lie on your side with your knees bent and your feet together. Open your top knee away from your bottom knee. Try your best to focus on using those glute muscles to move your leg.
Hip abductions are similar except your legs will be extended. Lift your top leg as high as you can. Like the clam shell, try not to move any other part of your body or shift position. Focus solely on using your glute to move your leg.