Best Butt Exercises for Women
We could all use a little more attention paid to our backside – our glutes – and this article details the best butt exercises for women.
Flat butts are becoming more and more common due to all the sitting we do. Glute amnesia is a thing! Our backsides are becoming deconditioned, and this is leading to an increase in back pain, pelvic floor challenges and even gait issues. One of the best butt exercises is a squat but rarely do we have the need to squat anymore.
Our ancestors were hunter/gathers and women spent a lot of time growing and harvesting food, washing clothes by hand, and preparing meals. They also used to squat to poop.
In today’s modern world, few of us grow anything but instead purchase our food from a grocery store. We have washing machines to clean our clothes and we even have comfort height toilets which limit the squat range of motion for the 10-12 or so times a day we go to the bathroom. (usually, 5-9 times a day to urinate and 1-3 times a day to defecate). Daily squatting has become a thing of the past and it is arguably one of the most functional movements we do (or did and should get back to doing).
We advise pregnant people to squat more and often during pregnancy. Pregnancy is a time when many women seem to lose their backside. As the belly grows, the center of gravity shifts and an unconscious adaptation women make, is to lean back thrust their hips forward, gripping in their posterior pelvic floor (think wedgy) and tucking their tailbone under. Once the baby is born, their body thinks the posture they have maintained throughout pregnancy is the new ‘normal’ and because the muscles have all adapted to this posture over 9 months the body hangs on to the non-optimal posture after pregnancy.
Most new moms have forward-pressed hips, a gripped butt and a tucked tailbone. A lot of what contributes to the tucked tailbone is the condition (or decondition) of the gluteus maximus muscles. When the glutes are robust, they help keep the sacrum in optimal position but when the glutes are weak (called “gluteus flateus”) they lose their ability to help keep the sacrum untucked and they also lose their ability to generate the force needed to propel the body forward during walking.
Strong glutes contribute to pelvic floor function as well. By keeping the sacrum in its ideal alignment, the pelvic floor muscles (which attach to the tailbone at the base of the sacrum) will also be optimally positioned for function and therefore better able to generate force when called upon during a cough or sneeze. Many women leak a little when they laugh, cough or sneeze thinking it is normal because they have had a baby or because they are a woman or because they are approaching menopause. It is not normal and is often a result of the flat butt posture that so many of us, not just women, have.
Here are some tips to help build and maintain a bodacious booty (and therefore a more functional pelvic floor) for life.
Bridges The bridge is a great glute builder and accessible to most. As your strength and endurance and coordination increases you can also add some resistance with a sandbag on your pelvis. Once you have regained your pelvic stability you can also up the challenge by performing the movement with one leg off the ground and extended. Exhale to engage the pelvic floor and then press the hips up towards the ceiling. Inhale and release the pelvic floor contraction as you lower back down.
Curtsy Lunge Step Ups Life is not a perfect form and exercises that are unbalanced and non-linear are good for you. Stand next to a sturdy bench or step. Step onto the bench with your left foot and press up while lifting the right leg. Then return the left foot to the ground and follow with the left foot behind the right leg in a curtsy. Repeat on the other side.
As for sets and reps. Do as many as you can with decent form and then take a break. Then do another set. Aim roughly for between 8-12 reps. Ensure you do not hold your breath.
These are just a few of the many butt exercises out there. Ensure you have variety in your workouts and remember we benefit from lengthening as well as strengthening. Favourite glute stretches are pigeon pose, the figure 4 stretch (seated or lying) and wide leg child’s pose.