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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Glute Day: Booty Gains Are Not Made On Leg Day

Let’s be real: big butts are trending. Everyone wants a big butt right now. That didn’t used to be the case, but thanks to rap music and Instagram, #bootygains is a thing.

Sarah Laundrus | www.thefittestblogger.com

I recall the first time I realized big butts were a “thing.”

I’m from Washington state and was visiting Hollywood, California when I was 17 years old (2004, when women were still desperate to get rid of “saddle bags” and extra fat on their lower body). I was walking with some friends, doing touristy things around the Grauman’s Chinese Theater (The one with celebrities handprints and stars embedded in the sidewalk), when I had two guys stop me.

Now, I need to back up a second to give some context: while I don’t like to bring race into things when it’s not necessary, in this story it does play a role. I am white (Of European descent), and white girls (Especially before Instagram) do not typically have big cabooses. 

These two guys were Latino, and I’ll never forget the question they asked, me, and my response.

“Hey! Are you mixed??”

I whip my long blonde hair around to look behind me.

“Me? Are you talking to ME??” I said, confused.

“Yeah! Are you like part black, or Hispanic?” they reply.

I respond, completely dumbfounded “No….?” 

As these two guys walked away, I heard them mutter something about my ass. 

It was like a lightbulb went off.

“They thought I was a different race because…I have a big butt…”

And that moment made me very aware of what my body looked like to other people.

Fast forward 10 years to my most recent bodybuilding competition, more specifically; Figure.

It was my first time competing after a baby and subsequent 4 year hiatus. I was feeling really good. The leanest I’d ever been at 7% body fat. I placed top two in my class, and qualified for nationals.

I was so happy! The happiest I’d ever been with my body, minus one thing: my ass was GONE!!! I looked in the mirror at my vascular abs, then down at a butt that looked like it belonged to a 5 year old.

At that point I realized a very valuable thing: my genetically round butt had been mostly body fat, and I had never really learned to train my glutes. Despite doing leg day twice a week, and hitting all the basics: free weight squats, dead lifts, hamstring curls, leg extensions, leg press, and lunges. I was lifting pretty heavy, but still my glutes were embarrassing. Still round as ever, but T- I-N-Y.

That was when I decided to drastically change my workout structure AND relax my diet to embrace some of that blessed body fat.

I was on a mission to build an unforgettable ass!

Your butt deserves its own day

Part of building your body aesthetically is focusing on proportions, meaning it’s all about ratios. If your upper body is huge, with bulging biceps, thick forearms, and those boulder shoulders, but you still want an ass that is big enough to leave an impression on your ex and make him question why he ever left you in the first place. Then you’re going to have to work twice as hard on that booty to look like it even MATCHES your upper body, let alone stand out in the midst of it. 

So if building a booty is important to you, your lifting days need to reflect that. Once I realized this I stopped including glutes in leg day. This booty was worthy of its own day: Glute day. 

Day 1: Glutes
Day 2: Quads, Hamstrings, Calves
Day 3: Compound exercises, Glute isolation, and functional training (plyometrics etc.)

Notice glutes also make a second appearance. If you are really serious about stepping up your butt game, you could even devote a third day for glutes: as long as you allow recovery in between.

Now, before you go hop on Instagram and get inspired to start doing hip thrusts with an Olympic bar and a couple 45’s, we need to talk about one more thing. This is probably the most important thing you’ll read here: muscle engagement. 

I’m not talking about picking out a ring and popping the question to your derriere. The kind of engagement I’m talking about is actually USING your glutes to lift the weight. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? 

Yet this is the thing that keeps most people from actually seeing los #bootygains. If your ass cheeks do not feel like they are on FIRE when you leave the gym, then honey you just had a regular day at the gym. You might feel accomplished, but if that feeling isn’t the swelling of your gluteus Maximus/medius/minimus, then you’re gonna have to continue to work on those angles for your Hump-day posts and hope nobody sees you from behind in public.

If you have never had the pleasure of feeling a true-blue “glute pump” let me help you with a few tips to get you going:

1.) Visualize
Whether it’s pinching a penny, or crushing a beer can between your butt cheeks, visualization can greatly help with the mind-muscle connection. Personally, when I am doing an exercise like glute bridges, I am pretending my ass is the claw in one of those toy vending machines, where you pay $10 in quarters to finally grab a stuffed Pikachu that’s sold at the Dollar Store. 
Visualize. Create a mental picture of whatever you’ve got to envision to get that nice, solid glute squeeze, getting that blood flowing to the tissue and breaking that muscle down, fiber by fiber.

2.) Decrease your weight
That’s right, you heard me. Stop trying to impress people with how much weight your booty can do. No one is paying attention and no one cares. “But Sarah, if I’m trying to have a big ass, I need to lift big weight!” Yes and no. Obviously the stronger you are, the more weight you want to put on to keep challenging the muscles, but that’s something you gradually work up to. If you don’t feel that squeeze in the glute with every rep, you are almost definitely using other muscles such as hamstrings, quads, or your lower back. Not what you’re trying to accomplish on booty day. My rule of thumb is this: if other muscle groups are starting to feel tired, the weight is too high.

3.) Short Rests
Your glutes are working all day long, when you’re walking, standing up, sitting down, and walking stairs. They are used to working non-stop, so don’t wait too long between sets. You want to fatigue those things as much as possible. So keep the breaks short, especially if you’re doing high reps.
This is the most important step to building glutes. Once you’ve got this down, you’re well on your way to having progress photos worth posting. While I could write a whole book on glutes, for the sake of this article, we’ll keep the emphasis on muscle engagement. However, I will give you a few great glute isolation lifts to get you started building that booty.

Glute bridges/ Good Mornings (super set)- 3x20
Donkey Kickbacks with Exercise Band- 4x15
Leg Press with feet and knees together- 4x8-10
Straight Leg-Standing Kickbacks with Cables- 3x20 (drop set)

Happy Booty-Building!!!

Did I miss any crucial steps? If so, then comment below. If not, then hit that SHARE button and get working on the booty today!

Sarah Laundrus and the jug club | www.thefittestblogger.com
I picked up my first weight in a women’s weight lifting class my junior year of high school, and haven’t ever looked back. I began bodybuilding in my early twenties, and competed in my first competition in 2009, where I placed 1st in the Figure division. Throughout my twenties I developed an obsession with nutrition and physical fitness, scouring the internet, magazines and books for any information I could find. While mostly self-taught, I did gain much technical information during college, and the courses I took in chemistry, biochemistry, nutrition, biology, and anatomy-physiology. Sarah Landrus is the owner/founder www.Thejugclub.com and www.bonitasaritafitness.com

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