Things have changed in recent years thanks to a new breed of curvy super-influencers in the form of J.Lo, Beyonce and, of course [rolls eyes], Kim Kardashian – all packing plenty of junk in their trunks. Almost overnight, booty workouts aimed at increasing the size of your glutes became a thing: the new definition of the most desirable female body shape was born.
So much so, that the number of Brazilian Butt Lifts performed across the globe has risen by 77.6 per cent since 2015, making the BBL the fastest growing cosmetic surgery in the world, despite it also being one of the costliest and most dangerous procedures around.
But for those who don’t quite fancy risking their life on the surgeon’s table or forking out up to $10,000/£8,000 in their quest for beach-ball buttocks, there is a safer, cheaper solution that can also have a positive impact on your quality of life. And that’s doing lots of good old fashioned glute exercises.
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Recruit your glutes
According to Katy Anderson, Head of Training at immersive flow and low impact training studio FLY LDN, there are many benefits to be had from toning up your tush, aside from having a shapely behind that always looks good in jeans.
‘It's very apparent in today's media that a round, strong and well-shaped butt is all the craze,’ she says. ‘However, our glutes have become very lazy and tired over the last year and a half thanks to many of us spending more time sitting down, and this can lead to issues in other areas of the body further down the line. Particularly for those still WFH, setting aside some dedicated time to train your glutes and switch on your legs is the best thing you could do.’
Why, you ask? Well, as the body’s biggest single muscle group (comprising of the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus), Anderson says a strong set of glutes can help protect against the back, hip and knee pain; increase your balance and stability through the entire leg to boost multi-directional movement; allow you to power through compound moves like squats and lunges so you can efficiently work multiple muscles at the same time; and improve your posture, functional movement and sporting performance.
And if you’re female, it turns out you’re at even greater risk of having lazy glutes because women tend to be stronger in their anterior chain (as opposed to the posterior chain) and therefore much more quad dominant in comparison to men. Throw lots of sitting down into the mix, and it all adds up to weak glutes, tight hip flexors and poor posture, which can be a major cause of lower back pain.
It’s your booty call
It’s for this reason – and the huge demand for butt-enhancing workouts – that FLY LDN created Bootycamp: a series of glute-focused workouts on their virtual fitness platform FLY LDN Online that promises an unbeatable booty burn on the mat using only resistance bands and light weights. Unsurprisingly, demand for the virtual classes has been so high that several super sweaty 45-minute Bootycamp classes have now been added to the timetable at the FLY LDN studio in Aldgate, London.
But if you can’t get to London, fear not! FLY LDN have created a special Bootycamp Express workout for T3 that promises an unbeatable booty burn to help you get the delectable derriere of your dreams.
To perform the workout below, as demonstrated by Chiara Becuti, Head of Pilates and Barre at FLY LDN, the only equipment you’ll need is a mat, a thigh band or resistance band, and possibly some light weights, such as a dumbbell or weight plate to add extra resistance and increase the intensity.
Make sure you warm up with some mobility and stretching exercises before you start the workout, and repeat afterwards to cool down, focusing particularly on your glutes and legs.
If you want an intense glute workout, Anderson recommends that you perform the four exercises shown in order, and then repeat the cycle two to four times to exhaust every muscle in your butt.
And if you want to activate your glutes before a run, cardio or weights session, Anderson suggests doing one round of the below moves pre-workout to get your glutes firing on all cylinders and maximise the glute benefits of your training.
Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet hip-distance apart and flat to the floor. For extra resistance, place a thigh band several inches above your knees (a). Slowly peel the tailbone off the floor to ignite the back of your legs and glutes, then lift your pelvis to the sky while keeping your hips open and the ribs heavy – your knees, hips and shoulders should form a straight line.
Squeeze your glutes hard at the top of the movement and keep your abs drawn in to avoid overextending your back (b), then slowly lower back down to the mat. Find it easy? Hold a light weight across your pelvis. You should feel the burn in your glutes and hamstrings if you’re doing it right.
At the top of your glute bridge as described above (a), lift your heels off the floor, putting pressure into the balls of the feet (b). Lower your heels to the ground and then repeat. Can’t feel the burn? One top tip is to pull your feet a little closer to your glutes.
At the top of your glute bridge, lift your heels off the floor again (a), then lower the hips an inch or two to the floor (b). Slowly raise the hips back up and squeeze the glutes at the top of the movement (a). Repeat.
Single leg bridge
20 reps each leg
This glute bridge variation removes one of your grounding legs to double the difficulty. Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet hip-distance apart and flat to the floor. Then raise one leg to the sky until it is stretched straight out or bent into a tabletop leg (pictured).
As you exhale, slowly peel the tailbone off the floor and drive the heel of your grounding leg into the floor, lifting your hips to the sky, keeping ribs heavy and hips level at the top (a). Slowly lower back down (b), then repeat on the same leg before switching to the other side.