WHY YOUR A$$ ISN'T GROWING
Okay it's time to talk about your ass.
In the past couple of years, the strong over skinny movement has been growing. We're now at a pivotal point where more and more young girls are aspiring to fit and healthy physiques as opposed to skin and bones (and words can't describe how much this excites me.)
Hand in hand with that 'fit girl' physique, comes a booty. Everyone seems to want a curvier behind however so many of us aren't getting the results we want.
Before I tell you what might be holding you back, let me just say that I've never had a 'shapely' behind before now.
Although when I was younger my mum used to say I had a 'squeezable' bum - usually in the presence of family friends which was mildly mortifying for my 9 year old self - but of course, that was the product of being a chubby chubster.
In school I was never sporty and still to this day, I avoid any form of athletic games. It wasn't until I start taking my training seriously at the age of 21, two years previous, that I began to experiment with weighted squats and deadlifts. At this point, I would train five times a week following a popular e-book training guide and put my heart and sole into every session.
Don't get me wrong; I was getting results - I was losing 'weight' because I was moving more and eating less calories however I was seeing zero progress in my quest for Beyonce booty. I couldn't understand why - I was eating well and doing squat after squat with a 15kg barbell, yet nothing.
As you can see, pretty lean, skinny legs and ass as flat as a pancake.
I also do just want to say everyone has their own ideals - what's attractive to one may not be to another and I'm fully aware the photo above might be someone's perfect end goal. And thats perfectly fine! But for me, I just prefer a bit more shape. And since you're reading this now, I presume you do too. (High five.)
Anyway, the photo at the start of this post is me today.
It wasn't until started working at SIX3NINE Personal Training practice a year ago that I discovered what was holding me back.
A pretty un-sexy word but oh my goodness, I can't explain how crucial it is. It turns out, despite training consistently for a year or so, I didn't know how to engage my glutes (or for a more profound term, 'ass muscles'.) They were basically switched-off.
After going through some activation work with one of the trainers, Russ Harris, I finally learnt how to get them working - and the results have been insane. I now train 3 times a week, eat more than I ever have before and my ass, and at the risk of revoltingly vain, has never looked better.
Okay - so how does one activate their glutes?
Here's some activation drills I do before any work-out.
Of course, do remember I am just a blogger - not a professional. I get some great information from working in the industry but I am just that. There are so many factors which play a part in why you may not be making progress. You might be eating too little (in a calorie deficit), meaning your body doesn't have what it needs to build muscle, you might not be going heavy enough when training or you might have some postural issues which simply won't allow you to switch those glutes on.
I hope you help some of you but please digest the below information with yourself in mind.
Now if you're deadlifting or squatting you need to get your core switched on as well as your glutes. This is going to help with your form and ensure you're performing your exercises properly.
01. Lie flat on your back on a mat
02. Bring your knees up and your feet up at a 90 degree angle.
03. Place your hands beside your sides with your palms facing up.
04. Push your back flat against the mat, with absolutely no gaps.
05. Check your core is engaged and breathe deeply in and out, continuing to pushing your back flat against the mat. As you breathe in, try and keep your stomach pushed out to ensure you're not losing any tension.
06. Do this for any many breathes as suits. I started with 3 sets of 10 breathes back in the day and have now gradually worked my way up to 3 sets of 40 breathes with a 7.5kg weight plate resting on my shins.
[Here's a little video from YouTube if my instructions are as confusing as I fear - the position I'm referring to is the first 30 seconds of this video but with your hands beside you - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XLEnwUr1d8]
SINGLE-LEG GLUTE BRIGDE /
These are great to do before your work-out, particularly before you start squatting. There are manly different variations you can do, but this is what I prefer.
01. Lie flat on your back on a mat
02. Bring one leg up out straight and one leg bend, pushing your heel to the ground
03. Push your hips up and squeeze your glutes, driving through the heel
04. Bring your hips back down slowly, making sure you keep your hips level
05. I usually do 3 sets of 10 reps per legs to get them fired up.
[Here's another horribly cheesy video to try and demonstrate what I mean: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDxl-0uZMJo]
HIP-HINGE WITH RESISTANCE BAND /
I love these. I used to be really scared of them first, the fear of snapping the resistance band used to get the better of me. (Until I realised I'm really not that strong and the likely hood of doing so is pretty slim.) So again, these are great for glute activation and particularly good before you start your deadlifts.
01. Loop a medium/high strength resistance band around something strong - perhaps the side of a squat rack or cable machine (around another person is not advised. I don't care how much they can lift)
02. Step inside the band and step forward, pulling the band taught and placing it around your hips.
03. With your hips pushed back, move as far away from the base the band is tied round and plant your feet in the ground.
04. Drive your hips forward whilst squeezing your glutes.
05. Pausing for a couple of second at the top of the rep, continuing to squeeze your glutes
06. Slowly release, allowing your hips to go backwards and repeat.
07. Again, I like to do 3 sets of 10 on this activation. Start with a band strength you feel comfortable with and push yourself to increase the intensity as you go on. If you can't feel your glutes working, go tighter or step further forward.
[Yes you guessed it; heres another poor quality video for you to see what I'm talking about (it's the last one I promise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxWgdECegng]
In any case, I do always advise anyone to see a good personal trainer when looking to improve their bodies. I totally get how confusing fitness and exercise can be - one person tells you one thing, and another tells you the opposite. There are many ways to skin a cat as they say; so seek advise from a professional if you can.
I do also appreciate not everyone is in the position to do so, which is why I wrote this post! So I hope this has helped you on some level, whether that's putting some activations into place or just getting you thinking outside the box about what could be holding you back from building that behind.
We also have an amazing ladies lifting class at SIX3NINE ran by Russ himself; so if you're London based, this could be the solution to finally making progress and getting that bod you've been working hard for. For details, hit the link here: http://six3nine.com/small-group-training/
Anyway - leave me a comment on Instagram (@thefashionfitnessfoodie) if you have anything thoughts/questions as I always love hearing from you guys!
And happy Building!
The Fashion Fitness Foodie x