Boosting my booty
I come from a family where all the men have really flat butts. I'm a 30-year-old man now and mine is fading fast. I run at least 10 miles per week thinking this could help me firm it up, but it's just not happening. Is there anything that you know of that will get my old butt back?
Your desire for a bulbous backside may butt up against your genes, not to mention gravity and aging. But have no fear, you may still be able to boost your rear! The running you mention is a great way to enhance many aspects of your fitness. Depending on the type of running that you’re doing, you may be able to maximize your gluteus maximus. You might want to consider adding sprints and hill repeats — running up and down hills — for outdoor runs or adding an incline to your treadmill on indoor runs. If you’re still feeling bummed about your progress, you might want to consider strength exercises that specifically target the glutes. To learn more about how these exercises build your glute muscles, read on!
It may be helpful to understand how physical activity builds up muscle to give the appearance of a more bodacious behind. Many muscles in the body are attached to the skeleton, allowing for a full range of motion. These muscles are made up of muscle cells. When the proteins in the muscle cell are repeatedly activated by physical activity, the muscle cells grow in a process called hypertrophy. Growth in muscle cells leads to a growth in muscles.
How does running factor into all this? Turns out running is a great way to activate your glute muscles to lead to cell and muscle growth. Your glute muscles are activated based on the power that comes from the impact with which your foot hits the ground due to your body stabilizing itself upon impact. Therefore, the more force in your foot hitting the ground, the more activation in your glute. Normal runs can do the trick for muscle growth but considering adding a variety of other types of runs to your routine can give you more bang for your butt:
- Base/normal runs: These runs can help build up your lung capacity and is your standard pace.
- Progression runs: These runs are slightly faster than base runs, giving you more power that might help build your glutes.
- Interval training: Consider this type of running to intersperse hard effort running and regular jogging, with short bursts of power that could help with boosting your butt.
- Tempo runs: These are a little faster than normal runs, adding more power than normal.
- Hill repeats: These runs involve scaling hills and is a great way to build muscle.
- Sprints: Sprints are great for building muscle and power.
- Long run: These are similar to normal runs, just over a greater stretch of mileage.
You may want to consider adding some variety to your running routine to help with building up your glutes.
It may also be worth checking out options beyond running to get your glutes going. Some research suggests that running and aerobic exercises may not be the best way to build up muscle. The reasoning behind this is that cardio exercises improve your muscles’ abilities to use the oxygen flowing in your body but could potentially reduce muscle growth. That being said, you may want to consider adding in some other forms of activity to supplement your weekly miles. A combination of weight training and some new forms of cardio may provide the boost you seek.
The good news is there are a variety of exercises you can do that target your glutes. It's best to consult with a reputable source to determine the best type of activity for your body and health needs. The American Council on Exercise reports on research in many areas of health and fitness. You can visit their website for the latest resources, including findings on how to build those glutes.
Some consistent recommendations across sources include:
- Hip extensions
- Squats (various types)
- Stair climbing
If you have any more questions about related routines, you may want to speak further with a personal trainer or other fitness professional who can give you more tailored exercises.
In addition to the fitness side of building a backside, have you considered some fashionable ways to bring out your caboose? Pants, underwear, and bathing suits may change the definition of your derriere by elevating and pulling it, or simply making it appear to be shaped in a way that only you know it's not. If you don't mind the filling and feeling, padded underwear (similar to what padded, push-up bras may do for breasts) may create the illusion of a fuller butt. A lot of clothing styles may also do the trick. You could grab a friend for some fanny feedback and spend a day trying on different pants, jeans, and shorts. With a little trial and error, you're sure to find a style that's flattering and gives you the boost you desire.
Finally, know that many people have a particular body part they perceive to be different, abnormal, too big, or too small. Indeed, the best workout may be your exploration of how to become more comfortable with your backside. You may think about what makes you want to boost your booty in the first place. Did you feel more comfortable in your clothes? Did you like your appearance? Did you feel stronger? Thinking about your motivations may help you determine if these runs will get you what you’re looking for in the long term. Good luck taking your gluteus to the maximus!
Originally published Oct 11, 2002
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