No ifs, ands, or butts ! It’s important to understand why you need stronger butt. Joking aside, not only could weak gluteus muscles be holding you back from attaining your fitness goals, but they could actually lead to injury.
Your butt and the surrounding muscles are vital structures in your anatomy. By developing your butt muscles, you can gain benefits far beyond a better physique. Here, I’ll offer an introduction to these incredible muscles and how to keep them strong and healthy.
What are the butt muscles?
Many of you have heard the term “gluteus maximus”. However, that’s not the only junk in your trunk, so to speak. Your butt is actually composed of three key muscles: the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus.
- Gluteus maximus: This is the biggest and best-known muscle of the bunch. The gluteus maximus works to extend and rotate the hips so that we can move the legs forward. It’s the key muscle you’ll employ when making explosive movements such as jumping.
- Gluteus medius: The gluteus medius has the key responsibility of stabilization. They’re particularly important you’re engaging in an activity that requires balance (such as running, when one foot will be on the ground at various times). The gluteus medius helps protect and assure good alignment in the knee and pelvis.
- Gluteus minimus: A deep muscle, the gluteus minimus works in tandem with the medius. It helps with both inner and outer rotation of the hip.
Benefits of a stronger butt. Now that you understand the musculature of the butt, let’s talk about why you need a stronger butt. Here are some of the many benefits:
- Knee stability. Many people suffer from knee pain, and weak glutes could be part of the problem. Your glutes play a big role in helping you maintain proper alignment of the knee and pelvis when balancing or making explosive movements.
Bret Contreras, C.S.C.S., coauthor of Strong Curves: A Woman’s Guide to Building a Better Butt and Body, offered valuable advice on Women’s Health which is relevant to both sexes: “strong glutes ensure that the femurs track properly over the toes when squatting, jumping, and landing. In other words, it prevents your knees from caving in toward each other, which is a major player in knee pain and injury.”
- Better back health. Got back pain? Strengthening your glutes could help. According to this article, “One cause of lower back pain and back injury is instability in the hips. Strong glutes provide stability for the hips, which in turn, helps stabilize the spine, minimizing the risk of lower back injury.”
- Better athletic performance. Did you know that the glutes are the largest muscle group in the body? When they are better developed, they can contribute to improvements in just about every athletic function. Since your glutes are associated with hip extension, outward and lateral leg movement, and pelvis tilting movements, they can increase your overall power in just about everything from jumping to squatting to sprinting. Who couldn’t use a performance boost in these areas?
- A better physique. Let’s face it: a strong, toned butt is always going to be superior in the looks department to the flat or pancake-shaped variety Enough said.
How can you strengthen your glutes? Now that you understand why you need a stronger butt, how can you make it happen? Here are some tried and true ways.
The New You Challenge group workouts offer many exercises that will strengthen the entire body, including conditioning and strengthening for the glutes. But for a quick cheat sheet, here are some go-to exercises which are proven to develop butt muscles:
- Squats: Squats are a great way to build strength in your glutes. You’ll begin from a standing position, then initiate movement by shifting the hips back, then bending the knees and hips to lower the torso. Then, you’ll bring yourself back to the upright position. This is a basic movement, but particularly with weights added, it can add up to big results in butt strength.
- Deadlifts: The deadlift is a weight lifting exercise wherein a loaded barbell is first lifted to hip level, then lowered to the ground. Working on sets of deadlifts is one of the best ways to target and strengthen your glutes.
- Bridges: If you’ve gone to yoga classes before, you may already be familiar with this move. To do the bridge exercise, start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, hip distance apart. You’ll use your feet to lift your hips and glutes off of the floor, then hold and lower down.
How do you keep your butt strong and healthy?