Ask The Trainer #21 – Booty Talk


Hi Chad, I have been competing in figure for 7 years. It was a desire I’d had since I was 18. I did my first show at 45. Since then I have competed in 12 shows. My highest placing was 2nd place in 2012 at the Washington state ironman. Just last month, after taking 2 years off I competed again in Boise, Idaho. Out of 11, I placed 5th. Then 2 weeks later competed at Tanji Johnson Classic in Washington State, placing 6th.

I feel everything on my body has greatly improved since I started this sport, but my rear end never seems to make it where it needs to be. I have worked my ass off to get it tighter and the skin seems to be the issue. Do you have a solution to this problem?



Hi, Joan!

Congratulations on your achievements in the competitive arena! You are yet another amazing example of how our age should never keep us from setting substantial goals and bringing our physiques to new heights of development and conditioning!

The issue with your “rear end” you’re describing is more common than you think. As is the case with any muscle group, the extent to which you are able to build and shape your glutes will ultimately be dictated by genetics. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement, or that you can’t realize a fuller, rounder, tighter, more appealing rear end by incorporating some select exercises into your training routine.

Many people think squats and deadlifts are the “Holy Grail” for glute development. But, that really isn’t true. Although squats and deadlifts are important exercises, offering some level of gluteal stimulation, the quadriceps and hamstrings tend to steal a significant amount of hypertrophy from them.

In other words, typical leg workouts just do not offer enough stress to your glutes, especially if you aren’t genetically gifted in this department. In fact, you should actually incorporate 1 day per week, apart from your leg workout, to train your glutes exclusively.

Many women believe they should be doing 20 different leg/butt exercises. They spend hours each day on the stair stepper and also doing box jumps. DON’T BE THAT GIRL!

Over exercising will drive up your cortisol levels. As I’ve mentioned in past posts, elevated cortisol levels can result in reduced growth hormone levels and lead to incomplete turnover in the body. In other words, precious muscle tissue is being broken down a faster rate than it can recover and overcompensate… or grow!

In short, you end up spinning your wheels and going nowhere! On the contrary, you will likely see much better results by performing only a few glute exercises that are more efficient at targeting the glutes. As you build that area, you’ll also notice the saggy tissue begin to diminish!

Here Are Three Exercises I Recommend For Your Glute Training Day:

1. Hip Thrusts (also known as Glute Bridges): To perform a Hip Thrust, all you need is a low bench (approximately 16 inches) and a barbell. If you’re using lighter weights, it can be tricky keeping the bar on your pelvis. So use a pad or a towel on the bar to help keep the bar stable and to relieve pressure from the weight. When and if you work up to 135 pounds, it’s easier to set up for this lift because the large 45-pound plates keep the bar high enough off the ground for you to slide your legs under. The bar should sit directly on top of your upper thighs, right below the crotch area.

Once you find the proper bar placement, the next step is getting into position to perform your first rep. Before you can begin the exercise, you’re going to need to have a bench set up lengthwise directly to your back. Place the middle part of your back (just below the shoulder blades) against the padded edge of the bench. If your back is uncomfortable, place a towel over the bench pad.

Once your back is in position and the bar is placed properly, begin the movement by driving with your feet and use your butt muscles to lift your hips and the barbell vertically until your butt is parallel to the floor. Throughout the movement, your weight should be supported by your shoulder blades and feet. Next, reverse the motion and return to the starting position. Perform 3 sets of 8-15 reps.

2. Cable Pull-through: Begin exercise by standing a few feet in front of a low cable pulley with a rope handle attached. Turn your back towards the pulley and straddle the cable with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Begin the exercise by reaching back as far as possible between your legs as you bend forward at the hips. Keep your knees slightly bent. Keep your arms straight and use your butt muscles to lift your hips up so that you’re standing straight up. Avoid pulling up with your shoulders. Focus on driving your hips throughout the movement. Once your hips are all the way forward, reverse the motion and get into your next rep. Perform 3 sets of 8-15 reps.

3. One Legged Cable Kickbacks: To begin the exercise, attach an ankle cuff to a low pulley, then secure the cuff to your ankle. Facing the weight stack, stand approximately 2 feet away from it. You can grab the steel frame of the machine to assist your balance. While you keep your knees and hips slightly bent and your abs tight, use your glute muscles to kick your working leg back in a semicircular arc. Lift your leg as high as you can, and be sure to exhale during this concentric portion of the movement. Now slowly allow your working leg to come forward, resisting the weight as you return your leg to the beginning position. Switch legs and repeat the same movement on the other side. Perform 3 sets of 8-15 reps on each leg.

It’s vital not to use a ton of weight when you perform these exercises.

Instead, focus on working at a cadence that places plenty of time under tension on your target muscles. For best results, I recommend you spend 3 seconds raising the weight, pause for 1-2 seconds, then allow 4 seconds to lower the weight.

Really try to concentrate on your glutes as you perform these exercises. You may find you FEEL the tension increase in your glutes by simply making slight adjustments to your form. Your specific body mechanics are unique to you. So, conform to the positioning that allows YOU to feel the most stress in your glutes!

One very important point: Be sure to perform your Glute Day at least 3 days apart from your leg workout to avoid overtraining.

Prove ‘Em Wrong,
Chad Shaw

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