Today, I would like to show you two pictures of myself. Taken exactly twelve months apart. In the first picture, notice the sunken eyes and chicken arms. Focus on the flat, almost non-existent butt. I was trying my best to look sexy. Ugh. I am pretty thin in this picture. About 130 pounds, which is not an unhealthy weight for a 5′ 7″ woman. But I was in pain. I hurt. I was weak. This was not a healthy body, and certainly not a shapely behind.
The second picture was taken exactly one year to the date after the above picture was taken. I knew going into this that I looked different, so I wore the exact same clothes as I did for the first picture. Same shirt. Same pants. I weigh about 10 more pounds, although I may be leaner than in the first picture. What do you notice? Exactly. I FILL out my pants now. One year. One glorious squat- and deadlift-filled year. Do these pants make my butt look strong? You bet your ass they do. 😉 This is a healthy, strong body. You can tell by the smile on my face.
These two pictures show you exactly what can happen as a result of a good, steady diet of the right kind of exercises. We don’t just say that squats do a body good. We really mean it.
The training program that turned butt #1 into butt #2 consists of back squats, front squats, deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, glute bridges, hip thrusts, presses, push ups, chin ups, body rows. All full body exercises performed with barbells. No machines, no hamster wheels. I also incorporate single leg work, sled pushes, farmer walks, sand bag carries, heavy rope work and kettlebell swings to round things out (pun intended). My butt continues to get stronger each day. I look better in my clothes, and the best part is that there is no pain in my back or hips. My days of back discomfort are over. For those who don’t know about my back problems, check out my previous blog post here. The culprits the whole time were my tight hips and weak glutes. Who would have thought?
So, ladies (and gentlemen), if you want a better butt, step away from the stair master. It won’t help much, I promise. Instead, do what I (and many other women) did, and start lifting heavy weights. Your butt will thank you for it, and your friends will want to know what to do to look like you.
Nice article. I have similar issues. I do strength training, but I still have extremely tight hips (hip flexors and quads). What stretching routine did you follow to fix the tight hips part of the problem?
Thanks for commenting! Glad you liked the post. I do quite a bit of foam rolling, lacrosse ball rolling and mobility work before any of my lifting sessions. Do you foam roll? You will be amazed at the difference it makes in your training sessions. There are a number of videos online in regards to rolling – Eric Cressey of Cressey Performance has a very simple video..check it out here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8caF1Keg2XU.
After foam rolling, I usually do a quick dynamic warm-up trying to hit the glutes, hip flexors, hamstrings. I show a little of this in one of my recent posts called Train Like a Girl. The video shows the foam rolling and dynamic warm-up. To really hit the hips, I have been following quite a few of the mobility exercises prescribed by Kelly Starrett – http://www.mobilitywod.com. Amazing, amazing stuff. He shoots a quick 5-6 minute video each day, focusing on shoulders or glutes or hips, you name it. Bands need to become your friend. If you go to his website, you will find a slew of great videos. I think my next post will be focus on specific exercises with videos.
It’s a little hard to describe the stretches but I really work to get the hip flexors and quad involved, not just the hip flexors. If you like, I can shoot a few videos of the specific exercises that I do for myself and use with my clients and class participants. The more consistent your are with the stretching, the better.
Let me know if you have any other questions and if you would like the video posts. Again, mobilitywod.com is where it is at!
Emily what a difference!! Waow! Not just to your look, but also your confidence and posture!!!
Thanks for sharing!
Tell me about it. I cannot even stand like that (first picture) anymore!!! Amazing what a year of good old barbell training and eating right will do for the posterior chain!!! 🙂