This week on Barbell Shrugged, we finally do the episode we know you’ve all been waiting for – How to add mass to that ass! The title say’s it all – We had a blast filming this show. But this is actually a very important topic in health and fitness.
Aesthetics aside, if you have a flat or dysfunctional butt you probably don’t run very fast or jump that high, and you’re definitely not as strong as you could be. The same is often true for upright, quadriceps dominant athletes. Not making the very most of your rear-end might be significantly limiting your performance. The good news is that you can fix this.
First, measure and assess the situation.
Try the #BarbellButtTest. Load a barbell with just one plate per side. Lay belly-down on the ground, then have a friend roll the barbell forward, over your legs. If the bar hits your butt and stops, you probably have nothing to worry about.
The opposite might also be true. If you have to flex hard and reach up for that barbell, then friend, you’ve got some serious work to do. Luckily we’ve got you covered.
Load that ass more often!
A great starting point for building a better booty is to spend more time working the muscles you can’t see in the mirror.
Any exercise requiring a relatively wide stance will increase glute loading and activation. A great example is the sumo style deadlift, which is a tremendously under-utilized exercise in most Crossfit gyms. Likewise, wide squats can be very effective, as long as you start very light at first. It will take some time for your hips to come up to speed, but you’ll get comfortable quickly.
Rear foot elevated split squats are an amazing assistance movement for the glutes. You can’t help but feel it working. Train this movement hard after your squats to pound your ass into submission. You can also do them lighter and for speed before your heavy strength work as a way to warm-up and potentiate performance.
One more thing you should try is heavy quarter-squats. Now, usually you wouldn’t want to intentionally cut your squat depth. But in this case, we’re looking to overload just one portion of the movement, right where the your ass is more active.
Try this. After your last work set of full, deep squats work up to your personal best, but only go down about 1/4 of the way on these reps. Push your butt back to initiate the lift, keeping your shin vertical, but as soon as the glutes are loaded, extend back through to terminal hip extension. Perform 12-15 reps with your full-squat 1RM. That will give you an insane ass pump, and once these loads become more routine, you will also boost your confidence and strength.
Note: Adding chains and elastic bands to a barbell achieves a similar effect. These are methods of augmenting the load so that it gets heavier as you stand up. This is particularly beneficial in movements like the good morning, which are typically very difficult at the bottom of the lift, but easy at the top. When you add this type of load to the barbell, you argument the strength curve so that the weight is balanced throughout the range of motion.
Activate those glutes.
Programming and nutrition tips for passing the butt test!
Here’s a basic approach that will work very well for you:
- Activate: Activate your glutes during your warm-up. Movements like banded pull-throughs, quick single-leg squats, and abduction drills against resistance will allow you to use your ass more effectively during your strength work.
- Strengthen: The foundation of your strength training should always be squats and pulls. That said, begin to introduce some of the previously mentioned hip-dominant varieties. You can still do something like 5 sets of 5, just start with a load that’s maybe 10-20% lighter than usual. Add that weight back on the barbell 5-10 pounds a week, until your hips are up to par.
- Do the reps: A big mistake many athletes make is skipping the assistance work, especially in the early stages of training. Like many muscles, the glutes respond very well to higher volume sets. So, pick a secondary movement – something like single-leg squats, lunges or reverse hyper-extensions – and perform 3-5 sets of 12-15 reps. You ass will look all the better for it, but you’ll also get much stronger, quicker.
- Eat more often, especially right after you train: If you want to build the butt of your dreams, you have to eat for hypertrophy. That means plenty of carbs and protein, particularly during your post-WOD #WindowofGainz. Check out Episode 178 of Barbell Shrugged to learn exactly what you should be eating.
Got any booty training questions for us? Go ahead and leave them in the comments below. We’d love to help out.
Believe in your butt