Booty building has become a popular style of training for women in fitness. Many women want the desired hourglass body shape, and in recent years, it has become apparent that you can get this body through exercise. Specifically, through lifting weights. If you want to build the perfect peach, this post is for you. We’re going to give you the 411 on some of the most effective ways to grow your booty, according to science. Let’s get started.
Bret ‘The Glute Guy’ Contreras is at the forefront of the conversation of how you can grow your dream booty. He’s so obsessed with booty building that he actually has a PhD in it - his thesis was about the kinetics of electromyography of vertical and horizontal hip extension. So it’s safe to say he’s an expert.
Contreras believes that growing your glutes effectively comes down to science. They’re the largest muscle in the body, with a tendency to be stubborn and underdeveloped, leading to postural issues, low back pain and tight hip flexors.
Optimized glute training, combined with the right diet, effective recovery, sleep, and genetics, can help you increase the size of your glutes.
Before anything, it is essential to pre-activate your glutes using resistance bands. The glutes are referred to as ‘dormant muscles’ because they struggle to activate as easily as other muscles. Perform 25 reps of each of these exercises with a Peachy Bay resistance band before you attempt to start a booty workout:
- Donkey kicks
- Standing banded kickbacks
- Fire hydrants
- Side lying clams
- Hip thrusts
- Glute bridges
- Seated banded abduction
- Lateral banded walks
Once you can feel your glutes fired up, you’re ready to move onto the next stage.
Growing muscle is referred to in exercise science as the process of hypertrophy. You can do this by resistance training, which causes a change in your muscle cell tissue.
When a muscle is properly worked, micro-tears and muscle damage occurs. Muscle damage requires repair, which stimulates growth, so it can be stronger and not be damaged by the same stimulus the next time it’s worked. This is the process of hypertrophy.
Understanding the mechanisms of hypertrophy
This was explored in a study published by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, that concluded there were three main mechanisms needed in training to provide a sufficient stimulus for hypertrophy: mechanical tension, metabolic stress and muscle damage.
Mechanical tension refers to how much time under tension your muscles receive during an exercise. Remember that your muscles do not know the size of weights you use, they only know how much tension is being created.
Metabolic stress is when there is a buildup of blood and oxygen deprivation (hypoxia) in the muscle, making it look ‘pumped’. This is achieved by working at a high rep range (15 to 20 plus reps) to pump blood into the muscle making your cardiovascular system work harder, creating metabolic stress.
Muscle damage is achieved by constantly using progressive overload of weights i.e. increasing the weight in increments as you get stronger. This makes sure that your muscles are still getting damaged causing micro-tears in each session to begin the cycle of tear, repair, grow.
What are the most effective glute exercises?
So we now understand the process of hypertrophy, what exercises are best? Bret Contreras found in his research that three types of exercises target each hypertrophy mechanism:
- Stretchers = deadlifts, squats, bulgarian split squats, lunges
- Activators = cable kick backs, hip thrusts, standing hip abduction, hyperextensions
- Pumpers = squat bounces, side lying clam, banded hip abduction, banded lateral walk
Stretcher exercises bring the glutes through a big range of motion (ROM) with an emphasis on the eccentric phase, with peak tension when the glutes are lengthened. This causes muscle breakdown (muscle damage).
Activator exercises have a smaller ROM with peak tension when the glutes are maximally shortened and cause the highest EMG glute activity according to this study. This exercise is optimized with a heavy loaded eccentric phase i.e. when you slowly control the weight going downwards like the lowering in a hip thrust. This causes mechanical tension and muscle damage.
Pumper exercises have a very small ROM with pretty low glute activity, with peak tension when the muscle is shortened. Nonetheless, due to the constant tension, these exercises are very effective at creating metabolic stress. These exercises make the muscles look pumped due to the occlusion of veins and the build up of metabolites. They are typically performed with resistance bands.
Each glute workout should contain a combination of stretchers, activator and pumper exercises.
Intensify your hypertrophy workout
It’s important to use a resistance band in glute training - not just for pre-activation - resistance bands are also an effective intensity strategy. They add additional resistance throughout the range of motion to maximize muscle fiber recruitment for optimal gains.
A study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine that looked at using resistance bands in lower body hypertrophy training found that they increased electromyographic (EMG) activity, particularly in the gluteus maximus, regardless of gender, training experience or muscle mass. This helps to strengthen the mind to muscle connection and increase muscle fiber recruitment.
The Peachy Bay resistance bands come in either material or rubber, both providing a variety of resistance levels. Click here to purchase.
How often should you train glutes?
A heavy glute training day requires recovery, particularly if you’re doing more than one stretcher exercise - the type that causes the highest muscle damage and needs the longest recovery. Your muscles actually grow during the rest and recovery period, so it is very important to not overtrain.
This is referred to as the SRA curve: stimulus, recovery and adaptation. If there is not sufficient time between training sessions, proper recovery can not take place and the muscle does not grow and in fact can decrease in size as explored in a study published by Sports Medicine.
When it comes to knowing the optimal training frequency for muscle growth, there isn’t one conclusive answer.
Some recent exercise scientists like Bret Contreras claim training multiple times per week (up to six times!) at a lesser intensity can yield maximal hypertrophy gains. A recent study published this year compared low or high frequency training in a group of participants for 8 weeks that involved the same training volume, but with altered frequencies.
The low training group performed a split body routine similar to typical bodybuilder style while the high frequency group trained full body every session. Despite both groups doing the exact same volume of reps and sets for each body part, the high frequency training group saw significantly greater strength gains and muscle growth.
So training the glutes multiple times a week is the most effective for muscle growth based on the SRA curve.
Here’s what you need to focus on for effective booty building:
- Pre-activating your glutes with a Peachy Bay resistance band
- Programming your glute workout to cover the three mechanisms of hypertrophy
- Ensure you are doing a combination of stretcher, pumper, and activator exercises during each glute workout
- Allow for proper recovery - enough food, water, sleep, and time between sessions
- Doing shorter workouts more frequently yields better results.