It’s almost impossible to scroll through Instagram these days without encountering at least one ‘Insta-booty’, and let’s be honest, it can leave us (and our arses) feeling a bit deflated.
With the ‘Insta-booty’ often comes a load of advice on how to get there, as well as all the products you can buy to achieve that goal (#ad).
The problem is, we’re all different, and although these people undoubtedly have a fabulous rear, it doesn’t guarantee that what worked for them will work for you.
I spoke to Amy Pickering, 22, from Leeds, who is the owner of online body composition coaching service Sustain-Ability, to help me separate the fads from the facts.
First things first, “it’s important to have a basic understanding of the anatomy of the glutes”, Amy explains.
“The glutes are formed of the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus – each of which has its own function.”
The main functions of the gluteus maximus are hip extension, rotation of the femur (thigh bone), and to raise the trunk from a flexed position. The main function of the gluteus medius and minimus is to stop the pelvis from tipping to the side when we’re walking.
As far as which exercises are best for glute-building, Amy told me there is “no best exercise” to build any muscle group, as each individual has unique biochemical and structural differences in their body. That being said, variations of the following exercises are often effective in working the glutes:
- Hip thrust
- Lunge/split squat
- Leg press
- Abductor machine
Amy recommends compound lifts for glute building (but mentions that other exercises can still be as effective or even better). Compound lifts are exercises that typically require the use of multiple muscles and joints – deadlifts, for example. The glutes are the biggest muscle on the body in terms of surface area, so these compound lifts will provide more ‘bang for your buck’.
As far as when you should be training the glutes, “you should be aiming to hit each muscle group twice per week as a minimum”, Amy says, noting that as frequency of training increases, volume must decrease.
“For example, if you’re training glutes 3 times per week, perform only a couple of lower body exercises per session”.
Amy says she would not advise training any muscle group more than 3 times per week, as your ability to recover between sessions and maintain intensity during training will become compromised.
Something that’s often overlooked when it comes to building the glutes is food. Amy tells me that nutrition is “extremely” important. She explains that sufficient protein and overall caloric intake are crucial when it comes to building new muscle tissue. A useful analogy, she adds, is “if you want to build a house, you need the bricks to build it. Your body cannot build something without the necessary resources.”
Protein supplements aren’t essential, but can be useful to get that intake up!
Amy’s online coaching programme, Sustain-Ability is a “comprehensive and individualised body composition coaching service”. She adds that health underlies all of her coaching, and that her approach is dynamic, and takes into account psychological and physical changes in her clients throughout their journey. This could include things like the client’s body composition, training history, health status, goals or mindset. The client receives all of the following:
- Descriptive training programming
- Bespoke nutritional recommendations
- Supplement suggestions
- Videos of exercise execution
- Advice for optimising sleep, stress management and digestion
- Weekly check-ins
- Feedback videos via YouTube
- 24/7 support