Updated: Jul 15, 2019
We’re guessing you’ve probably come across a squat challenge or two seeing as a round booty has been trending as a fitness goal. Influencers such as Tammy Hembrow and the Kardashians have paved the way for a rise in bootylicious exercise regimes all over the world. And while we are all for the body positive message, it’s important to note that the #squatchallenge is somewhat deceptive and here’s why.
Most squat challenges offer a 30 day routine of various forms of daily squats, with the promise of a round and toned derriere at the end. We hate to burst your bubble (butt)* but if it were as easy as 15-20 squats a day, we’d all have amazing bootys. Unfortunately, if your glutes aren’t activating prior to your squat challenge, then your probably working your hamstrings and quads instead.
Here are our top tips to feel the booty burn.
1. You need to activate your glutes first
For many individuals, their glutes often remain ‘inactive’ or ‘switched off’. Inactive glutes can mean that the muscles are weak and are not relied on as much as they should be during physical movements. Glute activation refers to ‘activating’ (also known as ‘firing up’) the muscles in an effort to strengthen them.
When our glutes are not working like they should be, it can lead to other muscles taking on the extra load. This can trigger issues with our posture, lead to muscle pain, and potentially increase our chances of injury. It can also explain why our glutes aren’t as fatigued as they should be after a leg workout!
2. Make sure you have the correct squat technique
The most common mistake we see is when clients squat, they begin by bending their knees instead of hinging their hips backward. Think of it like this; when you have a chair behind you, you don't bend at your knees to bring your butt straight down into the chair. You naturally hinge at your hips first to sit back into the chair.
It should be the same movement when you're performing a squat. Hinge your hips backward and think about reaching your butt back behind you. If you initiate the movement with your knees, not only do the muscles on the front side of your body (like your quads) takeover, but you can increase your risk for injury.
3. Add weights to your glute workout
If you are past the beginner level of fitness, chances are you will need to add weights to your routine to see results. Like any muscle, you must increase the resistance for your glutes to grow. Ankle weights are a great option as they are easy to incorporate into most exercise regimes. Increase the weight gradually over time to build muscle. Alternatively, you can add resistance with a rubber exercise band.
4. Best glute activation exercises
By performing a warm-up that specifically focuses on activating your glutes, you are helping to create a mind-body connection. This can then be applied to your workout. Your focus will be on your glute muscles so that they remain engaged throughout each exercise.
Here are some simple exercises that can be done as part of your warm-up to get your glutes firing and ready for the workout ahead. These exercises provide optimal results by using a resistance band, but if you don’t have one, don’t worry — they are still effective exercises to do just with your bodyweight!
Exercises to try at home:
o Crab Walk
o Fire Hydrant
o Glute Bridge
5. Try a Booty Burn class!
If you want to experience the exercises that really tone and define your bum, try one of our Booty Burn Classes. These classes consist of a mix of body weight and weighted exercises such as glute bridges, crab walks and leg pulses.
6. Eat clean
Finally, getting into shape, regardless of which part of your body you want to target will require a healthy diet as well. There is no point sweating it out at the gym only to undo all of your hard work in the kitchen. Good luck with all your booty goals and hopefully we will see you in class!