Bigger backsides are in fashion. From Jennifer Lopez to Kim Kardashian to Meghan Trainor, pop culture is celebrating bountiful booties. And the obsession doesn’t end with celebs; the number of buttock augmentations in the United States rose by 58 percent last year. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 11,527 procedures were performed in 2013.
Plastic surgery isn’t the only way to a bigger derriere. You can build a better backside at the gym.
Three muscles make up your buttocks: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus, collectively known as the glutes. You need to work all three to build a better backside from all angles. Working all three is also important in preventing a biomechanical imbalance.
The gluteus minimus is at the top outer part of your buttocks. It’s the smallest of the three muscles, but it has a big job, steadying the pelvis from each side as you lift the opposite leg when walking.
You can target it with a move that might turn your world upside down, if you lose your balance! The single-leg deadlift improves your stabilizer muscles while you build a better backside. Standing with feet shoulder-width apart and a light dumbbell—8 pounds or so—in each hand, slowly bend forward at the waist and lower the dumbbells while lifting your right leg out behind you, until the dumbbells nearly touch the ground in front of you and your right leg is parallel to the ground, knee facing downward.
Slowly return to standing and, if you can, repeat without tapping your right foot on the ground. Do ten reps on the right side, then repeat on the left. Don’t worry—it’s normal to wobble! With time, your balance will improve.
Wrapping over the gluteus minimus is the gluteus medius, which works with the gluteus minimus to keep you steady on your feet. The two also externally rotate your hip; strengthening them can help prevent injuries. Another bonus as you build a better backside!
For this muscle, try the windshield wiper. Lie on your back and place an exercise elastic around your shins just above your ankles. Lift your feet so that your knees are at a 90-degree angle and your shins are parallel to the floor. Place a yoga block between your knees and hold it there while moving your flexed feet apart and together for 30 seconds. Did you drop the block? With practice, you’ll be able to keep it in place for the entire exercise.
Finally, the muscle that everyone knows and loves: the gluteus maximus. It’s the largest muscle in your backside and key to a perfect posterior. Its shape—and your ability to change it—is largely determined by genetics. But you can grow and firm this asset to its maximum with lunges.
Remember to maintain your posture as you lunge forward and avoid allowing your knee to go past your toes. As you return to standing, push off with your heel to target the glutes. And to truly build a better backside, add in rear lunges: Place your hands on your hips, feet hip-width apart, and step back with your right foot, lowering your body straight down until your right knee nearly touches the ground. Return to starting position and repeat on your left side. Continue for 30 seconds. Work up to three sets of 30 seconds of both forward and rear lunges.
Focusing on the three muscles that make up your glutes can put you on the path to a booty worth singing about. And as a bonus to building a better backside, you can improve your biomechanical balance. Try these moves for better movement and rest assured that we’ve got your back!