If you’re committed to the pursuit of strength, then you ought not worry about whether or not you’ll be able to fit into those skinny jeans. In fact, if you’re getting progressively stronger, more mobile, and healthier, chances are you’re NOT going to be able to fit into those skinny jeans. That’s a good thing.
But I still have clients, mostly women, who worry about fitting into their same jeans after a few weeks of working out. They’re losing body fat, feeling stronger, and moving better, but there’s a connection between how and whether clothes fit some women and their self esteem that I’ve not been able to break, try as I might.
So let me make the case for big butts. I’m not talking big butts from indulging in too many fried cheese sticks, but big, powerful butts sculpted from lunges, glute bridges, hip thrusts, and curtsey lunges.
The performance case
If you want to be a strong squatter or deadlifter, you’ll need a strong butt. These full body movements demand what we call a strong “posterior chain”–that is, the muscles that predominate on the back of your body from top to bottom–and your glutes are a relatively important part of that chain. Glutes are responsible for what we call “hip extension.” Want to pick up something heavy from the floor safely? Hip extension is a key part of the equation.
The metabolism case
The biggest mistake I see people making in commercial gyms when I’m traveling and working out in one is focusing too much time on minor muscle groups (biceps, calves, etc.) instead of major muscle groups (back, quads, hamstrings). People think the path to sculpted arms lies in things like tricep extensions, but really what they need to do is squat and deadlift more while eating more vegetables and balanced meals. This in turn will help you burn more fat, which will reveal the strong arms you’ve been building from your rowing and pressing. What you’re after if you’re trying to lose body fat is working big muscles every time you work out–and your glutes are among the biggest in your body. So having a big, strong butt will actually help you burn fat while you’re not working out.
The aesthetic case
The old sexist punchlines centering on a woman asking her husband if “these jeans make my butt look big” ought to be dead if they aren’t already. The cultural tides have shifted–in a good way, in my estimation–away from the drive to be skinny and toward the pursuit of a strong, curvy body. Men and women alike seem to enjoy looking at “squat butts” more than ever. Fitness is my life, but I’m not naive enough to think that people aren’t working out in part to catch other people’s eyes. Filling out those yoga pants, jeans, slacks, or shorts with a big ole squat butt will definitely get you noticed.
Now that I’ve convinced you that you need a bigger butt, it’s time to put thought into action. How do you build a strong, big butt?
To answer that question, you really should start by reading and watching as much Bret Contreras content as you can. Dude has built a career out of building butts (and publishing serious research in fitness). Start here for his myriad resources on butt building.
I would also check out what TNation has done on building strong glutes. Within just the past few days TNation editor Dani Shugart wrote an entire piece on the how’s and why’s of building strong glutes. That article, “The Flat Butt Fix,” is here.