“Cassie, What is the best exercises to build the booty?”
And with no hesitation, I will answer with the following
Of course, adding in some other nuances about targeting all three glute muscles with abduction exercises blah blah blah, but you get the point.
Now before going any further, I must give all the credit of perfecting and creating the Hip Thrust and Frog Pump to the “Glute Guy” himself Bret Contreras because if it wasn’t for him we would probably still believe the crazy myth about the squat being the best exercise for booty gains.
The primary benefit of the to the hip thrust compared to the glute bridge and frog pump is the extended range of motion. Elevating your shoulders creates a unique body angle that maximizes glute activation.
The PEAK activation point of glute tension is at the top of the movement when the hips are fully extended and parallel to the shoulders.
Despite the Hip Thrust being a glute dominant exercise the quads and hamstrings are still actively engaged. For some, this may feel more like a quad exercise than glutes until to you find the right foot placement.
If you want to stay clear of working your quads then I would recommend keeping your hip thrust light until you can perfect muscle engagement or refrain from them it all together and focus in on the glute bridge.
For a more in-depth view on how to properly perform the Hip Thrust check out this tutorial here
How To Hip Thrust Like a Boss
The Glute Bridge like the hip thrust is a glute dominant exercise with some hamstring activation but your shoulders will remain flat on the ground.
And even though the hip thrust is technically superior for glute building, the glute bridge setup and execution will be easier to perform. The glute bridge will also teach you how to properly extend your hips and will help you smoothly transition to the hip thrust when you are ready to progress.
I personally prefer to use body weight and dumbbells for the glute bridge. When adding a barbell with large plates the range of motion is even more limited because the plates touch the ground and the weight is at rest before you bring your hips all the way down. To avoid this, load smaller plates or perform with a pre-loaded bar as seen here.
If you are interested in learning even more about the glute bridge you should read What Muscles Do Glute Bridges Work?
If you want to get a few weird looks in the gym (I find this amusing) then start repping out 100 frog pumps right in the middle of the weight room. This glute pumping exercise is especially unique because it removes both the quads and hamstring from the exercise by laying your legs on the ground and touching the bottom of your feet together. Out of all three exercises, the frog pump isolates the glutes the most.
A few key tips when performing the frog pump
- Place the soles of your feet together with your knees butterflied out, with knees bent and feet placed about a foot or two away from your buttocks.
- Place your elbows firmly on the ground either side of your torso to stabilize your body.
- Press the hips up into the air by squeezing the glutes strongly.
- Squeeze tightly at the top and then lower back down.
- Repeat, squeezing the glutes as forcefully as possible at the top of each ‘pump’.
Frog Pumps are perfect for glute activation during your warm-up or as a finisher at the end of your workout. An interesting statistic that Bret has mentioned while sharing his knowledge on all things booty is that 1/3 of people are unable to feel the frog pump in their glutes.
So even if you pump your heart out you may just be one of those people where this exercise does not work for you.
The bottom line for any muscle building programs is variety and variation. Incorporating all three of these glute building musts into your programming will help you strengthen and build the glutes you want.
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