6 Moves for a Perky Booty

Let’s talk backsides. You know, your booty, butt, ass…that big mass of muscle that drives every step, squat and stride you take. Most of us want a firm, plump, perky one, but do you know how exactly what those muscles are and how to activate that derriere? To perform “power” moves that feature in many a workout, you really want to make sure you can activate these muscles so as to get the most out of your workout. Instead of moving mindlessly through squats, deadlifts, cleans etc, the more you can access and activate this group, the more results and success you will see!

an anatomy lesson

Anatomically your rump is made up of three muscles, your Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Minimus. You may have guessed it already, but the names reference the size of each muscle that forms each butt cheek.

Gluteus Maximus

Lets start with the juiciest. Your Glute Max/G-Max is the largest powerhouse, it forms the major portion and shape of your booty. Working G-Max will typically present in your body as a rounded, firm backside. Its primary function is hip extension, that is specifically extending the thigh. You perform that move in exercises such as the recovery out of a squat, within a deadlift or a leg extension in swimming prep.

Gluteus Medius

Glute Medius/G-Med sits across the top of the back of the ilium and down to the outer sides of the hip, it’s a radiating muscle, broadening out towards the sides of the hip. Glute Min/G-Min is your smallest glute muscle remains largely lateral to the outside of your hip towards your thigh. These bad boys absolutely BURN when you access and activate them.

Gluteus Minimus

Being the smallest, G-Min is often is overlooked in workouts, with G-Max and G-Med trying to take the brunt of the load placed onto the region. However it is exceptionally important for pelvis stabilization to strengthen both of these muscles as much, if not more than G-Max in order to balance the control of the pelvis and lower body.

G-Med and G-Max perform similar actions dependant on the position of the knee and thigh. With the knee extended, therefore a straight leg, they abduct the thigh, that is moving the leg away from the midline of the body. With the hips flexed, the internally rotate the thigh and with the hips extended they externally rotate the thigh. Quite crucially, when performing a running action, they also stabilize the pelvis and stop the hips from dropping or popping to the striding leg side, causing displacement of the pelvis, which often leading to pain and postural problems.

the perky booty series

Hip Rolls with abducted resistance

A fundamental Pilates exercise used to mobilise the spine, this one is great for activating G-Max as it lifts your hips off the ground, thus taking you into hip extension. Adding the abduction simply allows G-Min and G-Med to join into the party!

Lying on your back with a neutral spine and pelvis, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, hip distance apart with either a band or fitness circle around the outside of the legs above the knee. As you exhale, slowly sequence through the spine to lift the hips up, pressing heels flat into the floor, raising up until the weight is resting in the space between the shoulder blades – not into the neck. Pause at the top, press the thighs out into the band/circle until you feel a bit of bite into the sides of the hips. Slowly roll through the spine to come back to the start.

Reps: 10-15 on each side

Side lying lateral leg raise (resistance optional)

Lying or your side, either with both legs extended or bottom leg bent for support. Top leg is long and in line with the hips and spine, you are looking for neutral spine and pelvis. As you exhale, simply lift the top leg up towards hip height, keeping the leg completely extended. The option here is to have a band or circle around the ankles to add resistance as you aim to press to hip height only! Additionally, you can internally rotate the leg, so the toes are pointing towards the floor to target G-Med and G-Min!

Reps: 10-15 on each side

Side lying flexed hip lower and lift

Side lying set up with both legs in tabletop position, however the top leg is is extended forward so it is lying straight on top of the bottom knees, with the knees touching. The leg will lift straight up to hip height, then straight back down the floor. Additionally, you can turn the leg in so it is internally rotated for a little extra burn.

Reps: 10-15 on each side

Prone leg extension

Lying face down, hands resting next to shoulders, nose resting gently onto the floor or mat. Legs are long and extended, with pubic bone and hip bones gently pressing into mat and abdominal bridge trying to lift up to support lumbar spine.

Pelvis stays completely balanced and still, aim to fully extend and lift one leg away from the head and off the floor, so as to extend the hip. Try to not bend the knee, the feeling is of lifting the thigh and shin off the ground and pulling away from the crown of the head.

Reps: 10 on each side.

Swimming Prep Leg extension

You are in 4 point kneeling, hands directly under the shoulders, knees aligned under the hips, spine/pelvis/head in neutral. Slowly extend one leg away from the floor and lift in line with the hip, so the thigh, knee and shin are fully extended in a long line with the pelvis. Your challenge is to not rotate the pelvis, drop down in the shoulders or lumbar spine or displace the hips off to the supporting side. Try to stay very square with the shoulders and hips towards the floor. This should engage your core as well as glute max as you move into hip extension.

Reps: 10 on each side.

Dirty Dog

A little bit of imagery here and a progression from number 5, however you move into knee flexion! You are in 4 point kneeling, hands directly under the shoulders, knees aligned under the hips, spine/pelvis/head in neutral. Extend the hip of one leg, with the knee flexed, so the thigh bone is long and heel is drawing slightly towards the glutes. Now, imagine you are a dog on a fire hydrant, turn the knee out to one side so it is “cocked”. Return back to start. Your aim is to not rotate the pelvis, but access your external rotation with a flexed knee. This is a challenge for the core, shoulders and glutes!

Reps: 10 on each side.

Performing these 6 in sequence will give you some serious Booty Burn! Otherwise select a few, perform them as part of your warm up and see how much it assists in your power strength and conditioning phase of a workout.

Good luck in your rear endeavours!

FitnessRosie Gregory