In my opinion, bodybuilding is the most rewarding of all fitness endeavors in which a person could engage. What other physical activity could so dramatically change the shape and performance of the body? We could lose fat partaking in cardiovascular-demanding sports; we could even build some targeted strength in doing so. But in what other fitness activity can we so strikingly change shape by maximally gaining muscle while also losing unsightly body fat? In what other physical undertaking could you realistically connect “building bigger glutes” to “getting a smaller waistline?” You could think it will happen playing a sport – by walking on a treadmill – or in sweating through morning calisthenics. But only bodybuilding can provide such a tangible transformation.
Admittedly, making the connection between ‘building bigger glutes’ and getting a smaller waistline is not intuitive. Many people only see a correspondence in the opposite direction – a bigger butt occurs in conjunction with a bigger gut. And this is usually an accurate association as it relates to gains and losses of body fat. But muscle gains are a different story: More skeletal muscle equals a faster basal metabolic rate. So the premise behind ‘building bigger glutes’ to get a smaller waistline is that more muscle tissue in the gluteus region will result in a better BMR and a smaller midsection.
If Muscle Burns Calories – ‘Building Bigger Glutes’ is Akin to Constructing a Mega Fat-Burning Furnace
‘Building bigger glutes’ in order to help get and remain in better shape becomes an obvious strategy to implement when one considers how potentially big the gluteus muscles can become. Notice I say “potentially”; that’s because many individuals are in possession of underdeveloped glutes. Some people actually have thigh mass that appears to be greater in overall volume than their glutes mass. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. From a BMR maximizing standpoint, it just means their thighs are presently a better “fat burning furnace” than their glutes. And if they’d like to change this – either for a better metabolism or improved aesthetics – they need an effective strategy for making it happen.
It’s easy to figure out why the glutes can potentially create so much solid lower body mass. They’re right in the middle of the body, accounting for the movements of hip extension, hip flexion, and hip lateral rotation. When you squat all the way down to the floor in a flat-footed stance, your ascension back upward is heavily reliant on glutes strength – especially from the bottom position to about halfway back to standing. Unsurprisingly, full squats with weight are one of the best butt-building exercises around.
When the glutes are effectively targeted and sincerely worked with progressive resistance, the benefit is two-fold. First, working such a large muscle group burns heaps of calories and raises the metabolic rate for hours after the workout; it’s a big demand on the body. Second, adding muscle to this area of the body contributes significant biologically-active tissue to the skeletal frame. It’s a muscle group – along with thighs, chest, and lats – that’s actually big enough to make a metabolic difference when augmented. In this sense, building bigger glutes contributes to having a smaller waistline.
There’s also the often left-unsaid benefit: Many people of both sexes are attracted to well-developed glutes. And don’t worry – bigger “muscular glutes” bear little resemblance to those that have gained in size from accumulated fat.
The big caveat: Many people desiring bigger glutes don’t know how to effectively get them.
‘Building Bigger Glutes': Focus, Progressive Resistance, and Recuperation
I’ve found that one of the best methods for building bigger glutes is to perform at least one exercise in a lower body routine in which half reps are used in the “glutes dominated” portion of the range-of-motion.
What do I mean by that?
If you take any squat or leg pressing movement and “go deep” (to full flexion position), you’ll be REALLY working the glutes from the “bottom position” to the point where you’re halfway back to having your knees locked (never fully lock your knees, BTW). The glutes will be even more directly targeted if the feet are positioned in a wide stance and higher up on the platform (on presses), and flat/slightly behind shoulders (on machine squats).
Once you feel comfortable and safe doing presses or machine squats in this manner (keeping your back straight), try doing sets and reps in only the bottom portion of the movement. This will provide nearly continuous concentrated tension on the glutes – unlike the rest/pause-type tension that comes with full squats or lunges.
Building bigger glutes won’t happen unless you go from moving specific volumes of weight to moving higher volumes of weight. I can’t emphasize this enough. Thousands of beginners in bodybuilding apparently think that simply working with weights will bring desired results. Not true; the resistance needs to be progressively greater in order for muscle mass to be gained.
And don’t mistake muscle soreness/tightness for actual mass gains. Muscles can get sore and tight from workouts without any progressive resistance; it doesn’t mean they’re making progress. Only when weight volumes can be moved that weren’t previously capable of being moved has actual mass been added to the body.
In order for the above-mentioned progressive resistance to occur, adequate recuperation needs to be as much of the equation as effective workouts. If you don’t fully recuperate the muscles of your glutes between workouts, they’ll never be capable of lifting more volume. If they never become capable of lifting more volume, they won’t gain any mass and all your efforts will be for naught.
So important are ‘progressive resistance’ and ‘recuperation’ to building bigger glutes that they outweigh in necessity the first recommendation – glutes focus. In other words, you can build bigger glutes with lunges and full squats instead of the half reps I’ve recommended for optimal targeting. However, you won’t build bigger glutes (or bigger muscles anywhere) without progressive resistance nurtured by adequate recuperation.
But when you combine all three of these principles, and add in the workout formula I describe in HardBody Success, ‘building bigger glutes’ – the kind with enough muscle to speed your metabolism and add contour to your body – will become an ongoing reality for you.