Building a butt

I’ve always hated my butt. Always! With 15 years of skating in my past, I’ve had a fair amount of muscle there, but never liked the shape. Add in the years of poor lifestyle choices and lacking strength training, and it was the body part I hated the most. When I first saw my competition bikini, I almost cried because the reality of how much of my butt would be on display was overwhelming. In the world of bikini competitions, it’s ALL about the butt! So, a huge focus of my training (and a constant concern) has been on building a better set of glutes.

Last week I posted a before and after picture of my back pose. I created it because I was really frustrated and angry with my progress this year – only to be totally shocked at the difference and proud of the changes I’ve made. In response, I had a LOT of great comments, and so many women asked me how I did it. So, I promised to put up a post about it.

Back Pose Progress

My leg training overview:
– I train quads and glutes once a week (Sunday always)
– I train hamstrings separately, on Wednesday
– I lift as heavy as possible, with proper form, aiming for 6-10 reps
– If I get more than 10 reps with proper form, I increase the weight

Staple exercises on leg day:
– squats (alternating between plate loaded free squats and smith machine / alternating foot placement for different targets – quads vs. glutes / hamstrings)
– leg press (plate loaded – alternating foot placement, one-leg and two-legs)
– leg extensions
– lunges of some variety (walking with weights or stationary)
– choice of cable kick backs, abductor machine, step ups or glute kick backs using the laying hamstring machine

For the last few weeks, I’ve followed a more unstructured plan for leg day, which has turned out to be pretty effective judging by the DOMS I’ve felt. By unstructured I just mean that I go into the gym with a rough plan of what exercises I want to do, but if I’m feeling strong, or really feeling my targeted muscle, I keep going. See below for an outline of what I did today.

Warm up with Smith machine squats – progressively increasing weight, range of motion, and changing foot placement

Smith machine squats: 3 straight sets, 3 sets mixing in bottom half range with full range *when using the smith machine for squats, be careful with your foot placement – a lot of people put too much stress on their knees using this machine for squats

Plate loaded leg press: total of 4 sets, varying weight between sets, focusing on a full range of motion, and using slower tempo on slightly lighter sets *HANDS OFF your legs – no cheating!

Squats, leg press & walking lunges

Squats, leg press & walking lunges

Leg extensions: total of 4 sets, progressively getting heavier. Mixed in bottom half, top half, holds at the top, and basic full range

Weighted walking lunges: total of 3 sets – 12 steps out, 10 stationary lunges, 12 steps back, 10 stationary lunges other leg (that’s one set)

AND, my legs were toast, and I was dripping with sweat and panting. Be sure to stretch!

About Ashleigh

I'm passionate about health and fitness. I work as a Health Promotion Specialist, a group fitness instructor, and also a coach for physique competitors / weight loss clients. I grew up as a competitive athlete, and have continued with this passion as a Women's Physique competitor. Research and writing is another interest of mine, which I use to share my knowledge with the general public.
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