In your pursuit of the perfect posterior, squatting has hopefully made it into your routine. The squat is a comprehensive all-around lower-body move, hitting your quads, hamstrings, calves and those all-important glutes. To really build your butt muscles, the secret with squatting is to go deeper. This recruits more muscles and puts more emphasis on your glutes.
Deep Squat Technique
Squatting deep requires the same technique as squatting normally. Your feet should be around hip-width apart with your toes slightly turned out or facing straight ahead. Push your butt back and imagine you're sitting down in a chair. Keep squatting until you can't go any lower, but make sure you keep your heels on the floor and a slight arch in your lower back. If you can't go deep without rounding your back or rocking forward onto your toes, you'll need to work on your hamstring and calf mobility.
Greater Muscle Activation
The deeper you go, the more your butt muscles are activated, according to Kelli Calabrese, master trainer at Adventure Boot Camp in California. This will ultimately lead to more glute growth and a bigger butt, plus it can help athletic performance by boosting your lower-body speed and power. Strive to go deeper, but keep an eye on your form, warns Calabrese.
Aside from the fact that deep squats are tough to perform if you have any mobility issues or pre-existing injuries, they may not actually build your butt any more than other types of squats. The level of glute recruitment only changes during the upward phase of a squat, according to biomechanist Chris Beardsley, co-founder of Strength and Conditioning Research. Squatting to parallel, which is the point where your hip and knee joint are at the same level, may actually work your glutes more than deep squats, adds Beardsley.
For building a bigger butt, it seems the jury is out on whether going deep is the best option. Aim to go as low as you can while maintaining perfect form, but don't push too far at the expense of technique. If you're concerned about your butt getting too big, training website ExRx.com recommends skipping regular squats altogether and opting instead for front squats or leg presses, which emphasize your quads more than your glutes. When you're in the glute game, however, deep squats are a definite butt-builder.
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.