5 Moves to a Better Butt

Everyone wants a better butt, no buts about it! These five exercises will help you build a pro-level posterior.


    by
Chady Dunmore

 
Dec 10, 2013                                                    


Let’s get one thing clear: It’s all about the bum. Sure, built biceps fill out a shirt and six-pack abs are the prize of every beachgoer, but the back is where it’s at. A bodacious booty is essential to a good physique and not just for stage-bound fitness contestants. Everyone seems to want a great bum. Photos of posteriors flood the Internet and are often the most viewed and “liked” body part on social media. There’s just something magical about a beautiful butt!

“How do you get your butt like that?” is the fitness question I hear the most. And before you say it, yes, genetics play a part. Just like a pretty smile or clear skin, there are people born with a genetic booty advantage, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to improve your glutes. Women often turn to cardio to “get a butt,” but the clear path to a better booty doesn’t go through the treadmill or the elliptical. Instead, start with weights.

Fun Friday: Fanny Lifters!

Laugh all you want, but (or should I say BUTT?), the fanny you sit on as you read has more to do with your health than you may realize.

Your Glutes (butt, hide, junk in the trunk, money maker, whatever you wish to call them) play a LARGE role in the health of your lower back, hips, knees, ankles and feet.

A lazy butt, which can be a misfiring muscle or one that refuses to fire altogether, is quickly becoming the cause of many physiological disorders AND the reason work days are missed.

Why?

Well, your butt is designed for a purpose and it’s not just to keep your pants from falling down. Side note: your pants really are supposed to stay up. Nobody cares to see your underwear….

You have 3 muscles that make up your rear view: Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Minimus and Gluteus Medius. Now, we know the MAX right? It is pretty much the size of your butt and resides beneath the other 2. The MAX “ties in” to the top of the hamstrings (there is no anatomical chart for glute-ham tie in by the way. It’s just a way to point out that your glute should not sag over your hamstring). The MINIMUS lies at the very top and ties into the smaller lower back muscles. The MEDIUS creeps around the side and is responsible for the shape (insert shameless booty pic here):

booty pic

So, now that we know the basic anatomy, it’s important to realize what can go wrong. The main culprit in our hurry-up-and-sit society is the MEDIUS. Your medius is not just a pretty muscle, it is responsible for the power in your steps as well as the functionality in your hips. Your medius has been proven to be the cause of many below-the-hip issues such as plantar fasciatis, runners knee, IT Band syndrome, plus a variety of other joint problems. There’s even a medical diagnosis for an underactive medius: Lazy Butt Syndrome. I kid you not….

The issue lies in the fact that we sit so much our butt has literally forgotten how to work properly. Take a simple movement for example: the squat. Do me a favor and stand up…..suck it up and do it, it will serve a purpose. Now, sit back down and stand back up 15-20 times. Who cares who’s watching???! You can help them fix their lazy butts later, right now I’m more concerned with yours. Now, after your reps sit and relax. Where do you feel it most? Chances are the quads (front of the thighs) and possibly low back just got a workout right? BINGO! You have a lazy butt. Don’t feel bad, you’re in excellent company. Doctors are finding that those from truck drivers to marathon runners are popping up with lazy butts. Lazy Butt Syndrome isn’t selective and it certainly does not always mean you are a lazy person….just your butt.

As we have sat on it for so long, our medius has simply become accustomed to not firing. When we squat and stand it simply goes along for the ride. Our already over active quads and low back (both of which are overactive due to sitting and keeping them in a contracted state) just take over. That way the medius can go on being a freeloader. The problem is that if the medius does not fire properly, we are overusing and misusing muscles and their surrounding tendons and ligaments. Over time, this creates a strain on the kinetic chain and the body’s efforts to align start to create movement patterns that can be quite harmful. If the medius isn’t firing when we run, for example, the IT Band (outside of the thigh) will tighten in order to hold the femur in place and power the leg. As the ITB gets tighter, it begins to pull the knee out of alignment. If you’re like me and ignore this thinking exercise should be painful, then one day while running sprints your ITB will pull your knee out, you’ll hit the ground and shred your hamstring which hasn’t been properly utilized in the kinetic chain. True story, happened years ago, and is why I know first hand that your butt is important.

How do we strengthen and fire up the medius then? It’s a mind/body connection issue. When you squat or lunge, make sure your form is on point and you are literally squeezing your glutes inward. This action calls on the medius to fire and support the femur in the hip socket. Great exercises for medius activation are:

  • Floor Bridge
  • Sumo Squat
  • Side lying bent leg abduction (old school leg lift)
  • Bowlers or Curtsy Lunge
  • Single leg step up with glute squeeze at the top

Now, your MINIMUS can cause problems as well, but is seemingly not as rebellious as the medius. The minimus can actually cause more problems due to inactivation of the medius. The minimus will tighten and place pressure on the low back and sciatic nerve pathway if the medius is not firing OR (and a highly likely cause) if the abs are not supporting the movement. The minimus can be a quite pretty muscle if developed properly. It plays a large role in spinal stability and core strength.

As its name suggests, the minimus is the smallest of your 3 glute muscles. It really doesn’t need to be overworked, as that can cause more strain. The key to a beautiful and functional minimus is ensuring core activation prior to glute training. Moves that will help to build strength and functionality in the minimus are:

  • Stiff leg dead lift
  • Bird Dog (opposite arm/leg reach on all 4′s)
  • Supermans (either alternating opposite arm/leg or lifting all 4 limbs off the ground from prone position, neck stays neutral)
  • Leg lift to the rear from standing

Your glutes can become the biggest stability partners in your quest for health. By learning how to properly activate your glutes and then integrate them into functional movements, you can ensure power in your workouts and joint health for years to come.

Until next time, keep squeezing and have a healthy day!

Michelle

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