The topic of exercise to increase the buttocks and hips at home may be among the most discussed in the world of female fitness. Unfortunately, this topic is surrounded by wrong information, a lot of marketing and false myths that continue to be misinterpreted. It is widespread to see girls train glutes with very light loads. Thousands of repetitions and little rest between sets, but is this how we should perform glute exercises?
In this article, I will try to explain exercise to increase the buttocks and hips at home with significant movements. First of all, for us to understand how to enlarge the buttocks. It is necessary to quickly review the anatomy and physiology of the body (particularly the buttocks) so that we can truly understand what we do.
The buttocks are mainly made up of 3 muscles:
- Maximus (the largest and strongest)
- Medium (upper portion)
- Minims (it is tiny, it is placed below the other two)
The buttocks (and mainly the gluteus maximus) can be defined as the strongest muscles in our body. For certain women, it is also an area of fat accumulation. They are activated, especially when we run fast, jump, climb stairs, etc. Being a big and strong muscle. What could be the best way to train it? A large force responds to large stimuli; it is, therefore, strange that the best solution to develop glutes is to perform small exercises with few loads.
To train the buttocks in the best way, it is necessary to understand their functions, so that by properly overloading the movements we can enlarge them. The main parts are:
- hip extension (bring the legs back)
- external rotation of the hip (externally rotate the leg)
- hip abduction (move leg laterally)
- pelvic retroversion (“pushing” the pelvis forward)
Now that we know the movements, we are going to describe the major exercises to increase the buttock and hips at home according to these patterns.
Squats are a hip, knee, and ankle extension movement. The tension in the glutes is maximum in stretching (when we are down), the deeper the squats, the greater the stimulation in the glutes.
For the squat to go deep, the knees must necessarily go forward and exceed the feet, or the hips must go too far back. Many people still think that exceeding the tip of the feet hurts. It is a false myth already dispelled several times. However, it remains relatively healthy in the imaginary of the gym world. It is much more “dangerous” an excessive rearward displacement of the hips. Since the torso is going to be placed in a very horizontal position, increasing the shear forces in the lower back, this does not happen if the knees can go forward, allowing to keep the torso more straight.
How much we can lower in the squats also depends on the mobility that we have. It is essential to have the ankles and hips with good mobility, in case we do not have it in the ankles. We can use weightlifting shoes (with a 1-3 cm heel) or put a lift under the heels. This will help us to simulate dorsiflexion and allow us to advance with the tibiae. We recommend squats with medium-high loads, which will enable us to do between 6 and 10 repetitions.
2. Hip thrust
Hip Thrust is an exercise that has become very fashionable in recent years. It is a movement of hip extension without any intervention of the other joints (knees and ankles), the gluteus is activated at the moment of maximum contraction when we are up. This type of stimulus is unique because all other exercises (squats, lunges, deadlifts) stimulate the glutes in stretching. We can consider Hip Thrust an isolation exercise for the glutes since we should not have any other muscles activated. It is essential to take this into account because many girls tend to want to grow the buttocks without the legs developing too much. For example, with squats and deadlifts, the quads and hamstrings respectively are very stimulated.
The general technique of Hip Thrust foresees:
- Position the barbell or weight above the hips
In case of using a bar with discs, I advise the use of a thick pad to avoid discomfort.
- Lean with the scapulae on a bench (or on some steps)
The ideal height should make us form a straight line between the torso and the thighs when we are up
- Position the feet so that the shins are vertical
A 90º angle should be formed between the tibia and thigh. In case we perceive too much tension in the quadriceps or hamstrings, we can adjust the placement of the feet until we find the ideal position. Hip Thrust is an excellent exercise to increase buttocks; its only flaw is that it can be uncomfortable if you do not have a specific machine (complicated to find in gyms) when reaching high loads, therefore we recommend a series of 8- 15 or more repetitions.
3. Semi-sumo deadlift
The semi-sumo deadlift, as the name suggests, is an intermediate version between a classic deadlift and a sumo deadlift. The initial position with legs apart and feet slightly externally rotated, allows a greater activation of the glutes, which become the main motor of the movement.
To perform the exercise correctly:
- The bar loaded with discs must be positioned over the centre of the foot;
- legs are slightly wider than shoulders and feet are somewhat externally rotated;
- the hands are inside the legs shoulder-width apart;
- lift the bar while moving your knees, hips and back;
- Go down as if it were a copy of the up move.
Why semi-sumo and not directly sumo? Well, because to perform the sumo version, the excellent mobility of the hips in external rotation is necessary. Not everyone has it. Also, the sumo version activates the adductors (inner thigh) more than the sumo version that for many activates the glutes more. Reps should be medium-low with heavier loads. Performing high rep work on this exercise could be too difficult from a cardiovascular standpoint and unsafe from a particular perspective.
4. Bulgarian Squat
The Bulgarian Squat is a version of the unilateral Squat; that is, you work one leg at a time. The exercise can be performed with dumbbells, barbell or multi-power. Still, all versions have technical measures in common, especially if we want to work the glutes. To put as much focus as possible on the glutes, it is good to put into practice the following technical indications:
- The distance between the two feet should be relatively long
- keep the tibia vertical of the front leg, pushing with the heel against the ground to activate the glutes more.
- Lean your torso forward a little.
It is an exercise much more complicated than it seems if it is performed with dumbbells. We advise leaning with the hand on the side of the forward leg so that with the other hand we can grab the dumbbell. Holding the weight with the hand opposite the side you are working will trigger your glutes even more to stabilize your hips. With this exercise, it is possible to do both with high loads and few repetitions (5-8), and with lighter loads and medium-high repetitions (10-15).
5. Gluteal hyperextension
This exercise is not usually seen too much in gyms. However, it is beneficial to increase the glutes. Hyperextension is often used to work the back (spinal erectors). Still, just by modifying the height of the machine and the position of the feet, we can transform this exercise into a glute builder.
- Position the block of the machine so that it is below the hips;
- Spread the legs and externally rotate the feet (nothing happens if part of the foot leaves the platform);
- stick the neck to the chin and keep the lumbar area neutral
- Get up using the hips and ending with a pelvic retroversion.
At first, it can be a complicated exercise, but with the time you will see how the buttocks get on fire. We advise learning to perform the activity well with bodyweight. Then we can start adding loads such as discs or bars. We can perform sets of maximum repetitions with body weight and 8-15 repetitions with loads.
Exercise for hips and thighs
Now we only need to create a routine for glutes in which we are adding the exercises mentioned above in the best possible way.
Let’s take as an example a routine of 3 days a week where we work the glutes three times, once in each session. In this case, we are not going to include the other exercises for other parts of the body in the routine.
- Barbell Squat, 3 or 4 sets of 6 or 8 reps;
- Hip Thrust with bar or disk, 3 or 4 sets of 12-15 reps.
- Semi-sumo deadlift; 3 or 4 sets of 6 or 8 repetitions;
- Bulgarian Squat, 3 or 4 sets of 10-12 reps (1 set = 10-12 reps for each leg)
- Hip Thrust, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
- Gluteal hyperextension, 3 or 4 sets of all the repetitions that we can do with bodyweight
We have distributed the three days assigning a “main basic” exercise in which we will lift more load and provide the best possible mechanical stimulus. In contrast, the second will give us a metabolic stimulant, in which we will notice a very pumping of the buttocks. We can complete the routine by adding exercises for the upper body, perhaps dividing the muscle groups over the three days. To progress, we are trying to add weight when possible to equal repetitions, once the value is stagnant, we can add more series.