fitness in a flash

Shape Up: We Want Big Butts And We Cannot Lie, Part Two

20150719_PhoenixEffect_BM-243 Part 2 of 3

Congratulations, athletes of Queerty!  If you’ve been following the BUTTS acronym in last week’s installation, you’re feeling nice and loose in your hip joints and T-spine, and are ready for Phase II: Glute Activation and Posterior-Chain Domination. 

As a reminder, glute activation — like torso mobility in general — is critical for a bigger, better butt—not only for functional purposes (e.g., your deadlift 1-rep max will go up…WITHOUT a lower-back injury!) but for aesthetic ones as well: the glute max (as opposed to the glues med and min) is the most superficial (interpret that any way you want) musculature of the “butt,” and provides the round (or not) shape we’re all after. 

Without further ado, I’m going to introduce Phase II’s acronym (you probably didn’t see this coming): A-S-S: Always Start Sassily. And here are your sassy-ass exercises:

_D4Q2591_V1Mini-band work:

“Mall Walkers”

Place a mini band (green if you’re just getting into this, blue if you’ve been doing this for a few weeks or months, and black if you’re a pro) around both legs, right above the knees.  Place a looser band (yellow or green) around both ankles.  Try your best not to fall over. Then, with your feet directly underneath your hips, hinge at the knee and hip (so much so that you get a lovely view of your own feet, and should feel like a tracksuit-laden senior citizen walking around the mall) and take 10 very small steps on each foot, ensuring that your feet are not turning out. Without turning around, take 10 steps on each foot backwards. Repeat 2-3 times, even after it feels like your butt is on fire. Your glute max will now be firing and ready. 

“Lateral Mall Walkers”: Using the same band placement and degree of resistance above, resume crouched position, ensuring feet are still not pointing out (you’d be surprised!). Take 10 steps on each foot to the right, making sure that your knees — not your feet — are leading, and that there are no fewer than 6-12 inches between your legs at all time (heyo!). Your glutes med and min are now ready!

No band? No problem. The following body-weight exercises can achieve the same effect and can even be done at home, if activated glutes will help you to Netflix and chill.

Glute Bridges, +/- Single-Leg: Lie on your back. Relax your upper body, including your neck and arms—in fact, turn your palms face-up. Contract hamstrings, glutes, and lower abdominals while bridging hips up until there is no crease between your quads and the front of your pelvis. Staying contracted, lower, tapping your butt on the ground. Repeat 10-20 times. This can also be done with one leg at a time, in which case the not-bridging leg will remain straight up in the air for the duration of said reps. Your glute max is ready to go!

Bird Dog: Get on all fours (there is truly no other way to phrase this, I swear). Keeping your shoelaces pointed toward the ground, extend your right leg until your (pointed) toe is thhe same height as your hips; simultaneously raise your left (contralateral) arm to shoulder height. Be sure to engage your abdomen. Repeat in an alternating fashion 15-20 times per side. For optimal results, execute a giant exhale at the top of each rep. As with glute bridges, your glute max is ready to go!

Side-Lying Clam: Assume a Suzanne-Somers-like position on your right side. Make sure upper body is relaxed—in fact, let your head rest on your arm, which should be extended on the ground by your head. Bring your feet to your butt. Open your legs while using your knees to control the motion; close. Repeat 15-20 times per side. Your glute med (and maybe some on-lookers) are ready to go!

As with any exercise, listen to your body: If you aren’t feeling activation after a few rounds of these drills, revisit the mobility movements in Phase I and try the exercises again. These extra 10-20 minutes are worth it. Let me know how it goes in the comments, and see you next week for the pinnacle of strength-training bad-assery! 


For more information or to book a class, visit

The Phoenix Effect, a metabolic bootcamp that gets you in shape fast, is offered exclusively at 7264 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA.

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