Tag Archives: Butt

Clam Bam Thank You Ma’am: Be Aware of Your Derriere!

Gluteus-maximusA quick and easy exercise guide on HOW and WHY to work all THREE of your Butt Muscles by Natalia Sikaczowski, SPT.

Everyone knows the Glutes are the powerhouse of the body. They help us run, jump, sprint, and squat. Butt, what exactly makes up that powerhouse?  It is the combined actions of three muscles that make up ‘The Glutes’ and allow for multiplanar motions of the hip and control of the thigh. The obvious gluteus maximus, which usually gets all the applause, is key in extension of the hip, providing stability to the pelvis and, well…just looking good.  However, the other two muscles glut medius and minimus also offer a significant contribution during movement, sport, and prevention of injury.

The action of glut med and glut min for the purpose of this article is essentially the same. When the hip is extended, i.e., in standing, both muscles act to bring the leg away from midline; or ‘abduct’ the thigh. They also externally rotate the thigh. When the hip is flexed, i.e., sitting, due to the orientation of the muscle fibers the action of the glut med and min changes to internally rotate the thigh.  When we are standing on one leg, i.e., during walking, running, or sprinting, their principle action is to keep the hips level and aligned by not allowing the pelvis to dip down to the opposite side. Maintaining proper muscle activation timing and strength is imperative for correct movement patterns, exercise, and allowing the glut max (and many other muscles) to perform its job by assisting in optimal alignment of the femur and stabilization of the spine.

Weakness of glut max, med, or min will predispose athletes to increased risk of knee, hip, and back injuries as well as delayed neuromuscular response time and abnormal functional movement patterns. A prime example of weakness of these muscles can be seen when one performs a single leg squat. If the thigh begins to bow in and internally rotate, instead of staying in line with the toes, you can bet your bottom dollar max, med, and min are on a coffee break. In fact, most people that already have hip, knee, or back problems also have a weak glut med and min.

So how do we wake these muscles up to get our max potential out of our back side? In a recent article published in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, eleven common glut exercises were tested to see which ones made the med and min work the hardest. Regardless of whether your goal is to strengthen, sculpt, or rehabilitate, the five exercises below were found to have the strongest contractions in the targeted muscles; giving you the most bang for you booty!

The Top Five for Keeping Glut Med and Glut Min Alive!

#5 – Hip extension on all fours: While on forearms and knees, keeping the knee bent, extend one leg upward so the  foot faces the ceiling. *Note: to progress this exercise, straighten and lift the leg that is extending so it is parallel to the floor.








#4 – Side Laying Leg Raise: Lay on one side with the body in a straight line: lift the top leg up, keeping the foot parallel to the ground so that the ankles are roughly 12 inches apart from each other. Make sure not to bring the leg forward or to rotate the hips forward or backward. *Note:  to progress, maintain the elevated position and move the leg in 10 clockwise then 10 counterclockwise mini-circles.



#3 – Single Leg Bridge: Lie on your back with one knee bent with the foot flat on the ground with the other leg straight. Lift your buttocks off the ground with the leg that is bent, keep the opposite leg elevated. Return to starting position. *Note: to progress this exercise, add a 5-10 sec hold with each rep. Make sure the hips do not drop to one side.



#2 – The Two Step: Tie a resistance band around ankles. While in a slight squat position take 10 small side steps in one direction, reverse. Keep steps wide enough so the band is tight during the whole exercise. Make sure to lift each foot up off the ground while stepping. Do not let the foot drag. *Note: to progress, lower the body into a deeper squat.

#1 – The CLAM (everyone’s favorite): Lay on your side with your knees slightly bent, keeping your feet together rotate the top leg upward, bringing the knee toward the ceiling.  *Note: to progress this exercise, tie a resistance band around the knees.


Don’t Forget about Glut Max! Here’s a great challenging exercise to target the terrific trifecta of Glute Max, Med, and Min: Stand on one leg, while bending the knee reach down with the opposite arm towards the ground (stopping about 8 inches from the ground), with the leg on that same side reach back diagonally as far as you can while maintaining balance.

The Short and Sweet of it All:

The glute max, med, and min give huge contribution to our body’s strength, stability, and power both during sport and functional movements of daily life.  During these exercise you are strengthening the muscles, but also improving neuromuscular timing and activation yielding better core stability and postural alignment. It is important to combine the above isometric exercises which isolate the glutes into an appropriate training program which also involves functional movement.

Biography: Natalia Sikaczowski is a third year Physical Therapy Student in the Doctoral Program at University of Miami.  Prior to PT school Natalia worked as an accomplished personal trainer and group exercise instructor in Chicago, IL. Natalia is particularly interested in developing ‘pre-hab’ programs based on functional movement screens to help athletes prevent injury from occurring due to pre-existing muscular compensation and imbalances.  Natalia recently assisted in a research regarding upper extremity injuries in major league baseball pitchers as related to foot arch angles and single leg dynamic balance.

Contact: FunctionalPTTraining@gmail.com

Subscribe to my Blog: FunctionalPTTraining.blogspot.com

Twitter: PrehabPT

Come On Man! Why No Glutes?

By Chris Martinez CISSN and Eric Martinez CISSN.  We remember when all we cared about was having a big chest, massive arms, and a ripped mid-section. As we got older, we came to realize that why follow the other typical male standards of a complete physique. We said to ourselves “we love women that have a nice, firm, and shaped booty.” So we thought why the heck are we not growing ourselves a nice backside as well. We went on to do whatever we could to get our glutes to salute!

A very wise man, also known as Bret Contreras aka “The Glute Guy” once said “The glutes have multiple subdivisions and functions, and it’s therefore necessary to perform a variety of glute exercises in order to maximize activation and muscular shape throughout the entire gluteus maximus.”

Pretty much in a nutshell your glutes carry a large load and have a big job all around and if you want nicely shaped glutes, you better work them right. So why is it that some of us neglect these beautiful Assets? More importantly we have come to realization that mainly men neglect their booty muscles. So as the famous Monday Night Football Countdown crew would say, “Come On Man!”

Now ladies, I hope you would agree with us 100% that men should also have nice booties as well, right? Please give us an “amen” or a “halleluiah if you agree!” So, gentlemen you see, women appreciate nice booties just the way us males appreciate a nice pair of glutes on a female. Therefore it is only fair that the opposite sex also put in the necessary work to get their glutes to salute as well!

Time after time we have heard so many excuses when it comes to men not wanting to work on their glutes. A couple of examples are as follows: It’s too feminine, it looks like your humping a bar while hip thrusting, and women only should work on their booties. Once again, “Come On Man!”


In all honesty these are some bogus excuses. At the end of the day men choose not to target their glute muscles because they either do not know how to activate them properly, it’s too hard for them, or their good ole egos kick in while performing curls in the squat rack. There is nothing worse as a man putting on a pair of jeans, especially $200 jeans and knowing you have a flat ass. Seriously guys, chicks dig the glutes too, ask a group of females if you do not believe us.

If you’re thinking standing only exercises activate the glutes best, think again guys. A study by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) conducted in 2006 showed that a simple bodyweight quadruped hip extension activated more gluteus maximus and medius muscle than a max squat. This exercise is performed by getting on the ground on all fours and extending one bent leg rearward. It also outperformed the lunge, step up, and single leg squat exercise.

Epic glutes are not just for women!

Instead of getting a bunch of in-direct work from squats and deadlifts, why not try some direct work such as hip thrusts, glute bridges, reverse hypers, glut-ham raises, and heavy kettle bell swings. Training your glutes directly could potentially have a carryover effect onto compound movements such as squats and deadlifts and we will explain more about this in a few seconds.

The take away message here is don’t be afraid to get on all fours or lay on your backs to perform glute exercises. We promise as much as you guys like watching women perform these glute exercises, they will return the favor and eye ball your booty muscles working.

Stay with us fellas, we are almost finished here. If you are still thinking you shouldn’t train your glutes or they won’t carry over on other big lifts… “Come On Man!” There is plenty of anecdotal research out there from various strength and conditioning coaches that will change your minds and show that by targeting your glute muscles more, will definitely have a carry over to all other training. The best style of training for the glutes borrows from each of these fields:  bodybuilding, powerlifting, and athletic training in order to maximize the stimuli on the glutes. Ever seen the glutes on pro athletes? Do you really think they don’t work their glute muscles? If you say no, “Come On Man!”

Wrapping this all up

After reading this article, we hope men do not feel like we are bashing them. When we first started training we were in the same boat and never thought targeting the glutes were important. To be quite honest, we are pretty proud of the glutes we have built ourselves. We wrote this article to give the male species a heads up to start training their glutes more often and that there are nothing but Ass-tastic (fantastic) benefits by doing so. As we mentioned early, you do not want to be that guy with the flat butt, women appreciate a nice pair of glutes as well. And if you like to back it up on the dance floor, my goodness, will having a strong pair of glutes only help you and probably get you more dance partners as well.

So, the main take home message here is to not neglect your glute muscles gentleman. Make sure to activate them properly and train them hard just like any other muscle group and we promise you will love the results. And, if you still don’t believe us on all this glute talk, ask Bret “The Glute Guy” Contreras for his thoughts, he will definitely drop more glute knowledge than us and, if you don’t believe what he says, then… “COME ON MAN!”


Glutes Demystified, Debunked, and Re-Examined. Bret Contreras and Kellie Davis.

ACE 2006 http://www.getglutes.com/Great_Glutes_Revealed.pdf

For an awesome glute workout, click here!

“No Excuses, Only Solutions!”

Get Your Glutes to Salute! 6 Perfect Tips

By Chris Martinez CISSN and Eric Martinez CISSN.   Attention ladies and gentleman! You say you want a nice butt; you want people’s jaws to drop when they see you walk by, and you talk about how you’re going to get your butt in great shape. Well here’s your opportunity to get that booty that you’ve always desired. When you’re in the gym, have these tips on a note pad, journal, I Pod, smart phone, on your training partners butt, or better yet have them ingrained in your head. Here are 6 tips that will get your glutes to salute! Guys put your egos aside and read on, if you only knew how important it is for men to have strong glutes.  Check out this kick-a$$ glute workout!

#1 Activate your glutes properly!

It’s imperative that we take 15-20 minutes to properly warm our bodies up and activate our glute muscles, remember they are the steering wheel to your lower body and they deserve to be activated. Keeping this muscle healthy, strong, active, and full ROM (range of motion) is key for a successful training protocol overall, not just for your lower body, but for your upper body and for the long run most importantly. With the sedentary lifestyles these days, most people never activate their glute muscles; therefore this beautiful muscle is never used. We recommend doing “Monster walks” or “Sumo walks” exercises prior to resistance training. These exercises involve walking in semi-squat postures with resistance bands placed on the forefeet in order to involve the gluteal muscles and the tensor fascia latae (TFL). We promise you these will burn and fire up those booty muscles!


Take home message: Activate your glutes properly before resistance training to fully engage all of the glute muscles.

#2 You want a firm butt, hit some damn weight then!

If you are one of those people that believe in traditional bodyweight circuits being able to shape the glutes sufficiently, then you probably need to go ask the Kardashian girls for some glute advice. Beginners are probably the only people that can get away with body weight circuits because their glutes get a great stimulation from not being used to any type of muscular adaption in that region. As you get experienced, your body becomes more advanced, this is where you need to overload the glutes with weights in order to stimulate muscle growth. As you progress, add in more challenging exercises that include using weights so you increase strength, get that full muscle stimulation, and growth in the glute muscles.

Take home message: You need to overload the glutes to get them to grow folks. Body weight or magazine workouts aren’t gonna cut it.  

#3 Get your booty under a bar and thrust!

Enter the highly underrated, but extremely effective barbell hip thrust. The barbell hip thrust was invented by Bret Contreras, aka “the glute guy.” He said “When the knees stay bent, the hamstrings are placed in “active insufficiency,” which means that they’re shortened and cannot contract with maximal force. Since the hamstrings can’t produce sufficient force, more work is placed upon the glutes to get the job done. This is why bent legged hip extension exercises such as bridge patterns work so well in hammering the glutes.” So, allowing your knees to stay bent, this leaves less of a tendency for your hamstrings to activate and take over the workout. This evidently leads to your glutes firing and getting more stimulation. When placing a barbell with weight under your belly button and thrusting up in the bridge position, this leads to a great workout by overloading the glutes with weight and targeting the gluteus maximus.

Take home message: If you want to isolate the glutes without any hip or quad involvement then get under a bar and thrust!

#4 Squat deep or go home!

Uh Ohhh…Squat deep or go home time! Research shows that adding resistance to a body weight squat only stimulates the glutes to around 30-40% MVC (maximum voluntary contraction). Okay… but exactly how much resistance, what kind of volume, reps, frequency, and squatting technique are we talking here? Our point is, this research was most likely done on an average Joe or untrained subject and they probably squatted quarter squat style, where they basically stimulate nothing but the quad muscles. However, if you squat deep, past parallel, you will get much more MVC stimulation in the gluteus muscles and hamstring muscles. Not to mention full range of motion squats puts more TUT (Time under tension) on the Gluteus Maximus muscle as well (1). “The three primary components essential for muscle development are mechanical tension, metabolic stress, and muscle damage,” states Brad Schoenfeld.

Take home message: If you aren’t buying any of this, just try a normal text book squat first or famous quarter squat, then a deep squat and then get back to us on which technique stimulated your glutes more.

#5 Don’t be afraid to train those buns more than once a week.

The gluteus maximus is an incredible muscle. It could and should be trained heavily on multiple days of the week. For optimal results, should be trained at least 2-3 days of the week. Why you ask? Research shows that glutes are not highly active during daily tasks such as walking, walking up the stairs, or getting up from a chair, maybe 10-15% glute activation at most. It’s because your hamstrings are over stimulating your gluteus maximus. Also, after a bout of resistance training, protein synthesis in skeletal muscle remains elevated for 48-72 hours. If the muscle is only trained once per week, then it will only be making new muscle tissue for 2-3 days post exercise. The rest of the week (4-5 days) it will be just sitting there, not growing. You might as well hit it again and maintain the growth response!  So, this leaves the door wide open for you to train your glutes frequently. You must keep in mind that a lot of the frequency depends on how bad your glutes are lagging. If you have a Vida Guerra butt, then 1-2 days of glute training should maintain it. If you have a Megan Fox butt (flat), then 3 to 4 days of glute training should be sufficient. If you’re in the middle of that, then 2-3 days of glute training should do it. Adjust accordingly to your booty.

Take home message: Don’t be afraid to train your glutes more than once a week, see how your booty responds to more frequency.

#6 How many reps to get that booty to pop you ask?

A couple of studies showed that the glutes are more slower twitch, than fast twitch: (2) gluteus maximus 68% slow, 32% fast and (3) gluteus maximus 52% slow, 48% fast. For this reason, lighter loads and body weight workouts may be of benefit when shaping the glutes. But, keep in mind that there are still fast twitch muscle fibers in the glutes and fast twitch muscle fibers have proven to be the most amenable to gains in size and strength. So, it’s important to overload the glutes with heavier weight and lower reps to activate all the gluteus maximus fibers.

Moreover, research by Goto et al. Shows that combinations of high and low intensity regimens are effective for optimizing the strength adaptation of muscle in a periodized training program (4). So, you must not leave out higher reps either because higher reps will really fire up the glutes, deplete glycogen, and give you that pump. So, it’s important to include all rep ranges when training your glutes. Anywhere from 4-6 reps, 8-12 reps, 15-25 reps, and sometimes 30-50 reps, so you can activate all your gluteus maximus fibers.

Take home message: See what rep range ultimately works for you. Just because a book or study says to do lower or higher reps, doesn’t mean you have to stick to that. Everyone’s body is different and reacts differently to certain rep ranges. So try all rep ranges and see what works best for your booty.

Now that you have these 6 tips to get your glutes to salute mastered down, keep in mind that these are tips and methods that we practice and preach when it comes to glute training with us and clients. There are other great tips, methods, and approaches out there on training glutes and from other coaches. But, we feel that these 6 tips can really be a game changer, in this context, a real booty changer for you! Just remember that to always keep an open mind to training your glutes and to not get stagnant with one method or style of training because there could be some sort of training out there that could bring jaw dropping results to your behind! Last but not least, guys, really take these tips into consideration because strong glutes can have a carryover effect on deadlifts, squats, sprinting, jumping, posture, etc. Oh and by the way, women don’t want a guy with a flat butt!


(1)              Burd et al. Muscle time under tension during resistance exercise stimulates differential muscle protein sub-fractional synthetic responses in men. J Physiology. 2012

(2)              Sirca and Susec-Michieli. Selective type II fibre muscular atrophy in patients with osteoarthritis of the hip. J Neurol Sci. 1980 Jan.

(3)              Johnson et al. 1973

(4)              Goto et al. Muscular adaptions to combinations of high and low intensity resistance exercises. J Strength Conditioning. 2004