You've probably heard some wild butt-plumping myths, such as creams and pills promising plump, fuller behinds, and protein shakes that will magically transfer calories to the glutes, or butt muscles. But how about squeezing your buttocks? Can a simple muscle contraction be like the other "miracle" butt shapers -- too good to be true? Adding a little squeeze can improve some exercises and help plump the glutes. Talk with your doctor before working out, especially if you have a chronic condition or a previous injury.
When you're talking about the butt, you're actually referring to the gluteal muscles -- or glutes. Three glute muscles -- one large, one medium and one small -- make up your backside. Your gluteus maximus is the largest buttock muscle -- it covers the gluteus medius and minimus. And the smaller two help leg rotation and hip stabilization. The more you exercise this group of powerhouse muscles, the rounder your rump will appear and the more aligned your hips and pelvis will be.
Go Ahead, Squeeze!
Go ahead and squeeze your glutes, but don't make glute squeezes your go-to butt exercise. Squeezes alone are not powerful enough to work the gluteus maximus. For that, you need strengthening exercises, such as squats and lunges. But don't lose the squeeze. Keep your glutes loose as you squat down, but then squeeze them as you stand. Do the same for lunges. You want loose glutes as you lunge forward and then tighten as you stand. Release your glutes once you've finished the rep for both exercises. Fifteen squats and eight to 12 lunges should work your buns, but don't overdo it. Stop if you meet resistance or discomfort.
Have a ball while working your glutes -- literally. Use an exercise ball, also branded a resistance or Swiss ball, for exercises such as flutter kicks. Exercising on top of the ball requires you to use your core, or ab, muscles to keep balance. While you're tightening your abs, tighten your glutes too. Place your abs on the ball for flutter kicks and straighten your legs behind you. Make tiny upward kicks, generating from the hip. Squeeze your glutes as you rise, and relax them as you release the kick. Alternate legs and do 25 on each side.
Consider Your Core
Complement your bottom by slimming your core and thighs. A smaller waistline and thin thighs gives an illusion of a bigger bottom. Try ab strength exercises on, or with, your exercise ball. You'll need to tighten your abs and sit tall when on the ball -- and that's excellent for your posture. Plus, some ab-centric exercises cross into glute-building territory. You can tighten your inner and outer thighs and abs with ball exercises marketed solely for the abs. Try bridges with heel digs. Lie with a ball beneath your shins. Contract your abs and press your heels into the ball, rolling toward your body. Lift your buttocks up and take three, slow breaths before lowering your bottom. Do 10 to 15 bridges with heel digs or until your glutes and abs feel tight. Squeeze your glutes as you lift them, and relax as you lower your hips.
Having studied at two top Midwestern universities, Catherine Field holds degrees in professional writing and patient safety. Writing since 2000, Field has worked with regional newspapers while publishing fiction online. She conducts medical communication research at a Midwestern medical institution and is slated to write a book based on her research findings.