Is there actually an ideal bum? The days of Hollywood idolizing big bosoms and straight hips are long gone, replaced by a cultural craze over the most sensational, hourglass figure. But are the booty standards being set by celebs and influencers actually attainable?
It’s high time we ditch the exaggerated hourglass figure that has been in fashion this past decade. Some say the era of the Kardashian curves is in the past, but the rate at which women are undergoing butt augmentation to achieve that look doesn’t necessarily appear to be slowing down.
Despite the Kardashians, Nicki Minaj, or Iggy Azalea’s extreme effect on booty image, ladies have sought nicely developed glutes for a long time. Why? Well, natural sexy curves never go out of style. Studies have found that it can be good for women to embrace fuller curves, as rounder bums and wider hips can be a sign of fertility and health. Yet, there’s an impossible beauty standard perpetuated in our brains, and let’s be real with ourselves…Mother Nature doesn’t deliver a Kylie Jenner body naturally!
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the seemingly unattainable waist-to-hip ratios that are peppered throughout your Instagram feed. Oftentimes it’s just clever posing or photo manipulation on Photoshop or Facetune which get debunked by clever users like @Beauty.False.
But then you’ll see the Instagram booty in real life and want to understand just how in the world these ladies shaped themselves this way. Is it hard work and countless hours in the gym, or is it a surgically-enhanced booty?
Let’s Get This Out of the Way: Brazilian Butt Lifts Can Literally Kill
The Brazilian butt lift, or BBL, has gone fully mainstream and is the fastest-growing cosmetic procedure in the world. Fat from around your tummy, arms, love handles, or any other spot gets removed via liposuction and then transplanted into your bottom. It doesn’t come cheap with the lowest prices in questionable locations being around $3,000 to $8,000.
3% of Brazilian butt lift patients died as a result of the procedure in 2017.
That slim-thick BBL aesthetic of a tiny waist and perky bum doesn’t come without its safety risks if you go under the knife for it. 3% of BBL patients died as a result of the procedure back in 2017, and many women have had adverse reactions like blood clots or infection. More recent studies have placed the mortality rate at 1 in 20,117, but facts and figures like these have you wondering if there are safer ways to boost your booty without plastic surgery.
How Else Do Celebs Perk Up Their Peaches?
Alright, maybe you’re still set on going under the knife. You could choose from semi-solid silicone butt implants that result in a 22% complication rate and also might show outlines of the implant. Does the sound of sitting on semi-solid silicone sound nice?
If it doesn’t sound nice, your next cosmetic procedure option for a peachy bum is an injectable dermal filler called Sculptra. It lifts and fills, but a bunch of it has to be injected to not just be a subtle boost. The amount of Sculptra vials you would go through can become as costly as a BBL! And don’t get me started about the horror stories like Cardi B’s when she got a basement butt lift with synthetic filler.
Looking to stay away from needles or scalpels? Emscuplt technology contracts your glute muscles to make them grow as if you did 20,000 squats in 30 minutes.
Or…perhaps you could start doing those squats for real and have better results, au naturale! I promise, you won’t have to hit 20,000 squats to get there, but you will need to be consistent, hit nutritional goals, and use the most effective lower body exercises.
Here’s How To Build a Better Booty with Scientifically-Proven Resistance Training Methods
First Things First, Consistency Is Key
Progress isn’t made overnight, and it can be discouraging when it’s slow…but it’s rewarding!
One of the most fundamental ways to make a positive change in your body composition is to put in effort. Your glute gains might stagnate if you’re not applying enough effort.
Whatever type of program “split” you choose, you need to stick to it week-by-week. For some ladies, this means doing lower body strength-training exercise routines two times a week and for others it means up to four times a week. In my experience, my muscles recover best when I target my lower body muscles no more than three times a week.
What’s most important for you is to know how much is safe without overworking your body and what is actually realistic so that you don’t screw up your work/life balance.
Maintaining a stable sleep schedule is also scientifically proven to produce more muscle-building growth hormones and too repair the small tears you’re making to your glutes in the gym. Also, haven’t you noticed how out of whack your nutrition gets when you’re sleep-deprived? Get some good zzz’s!
Maintaining a stable sleep schedule is proven to produce more muscle-building growth hormones.
You can lift heavier than you think, I promise you. How else do you think women throughout history carried a baby on each hip and put in loads of manual labor as homemakers, homesteaders, or farmers? But don’t ego-lift and then injure yourself. Focus on smart, progressive overload when you’re starting to feel more comfortable during your strength training. What this means in practice for you is slowly increasing the reps and sets you’re performing and then increasing the weight you’re lifting as time goes on.
Nutrition Is Non-Negotiable
With strength training, you’re repeatedly breaking down your muscles with each rep and set to get them to rebuild stronger (and bigger!). Your body needs the nutrients in protein to repair your muscles, and if you’re under-consuming protein then you may lose muscle. More protein = more booty gains. Less protein = less booty gains.
Don’t manifest an obsession over protein (because you need fats and carbs too!), but studies point to the sweet spot being 1g-1.8g of protein per kilogram of body weight, depending on how much you weigh to begin with and how often you’re training. There are also calculators online to figure out the exact number you’d ideally want, but for your own mental clarity, you might want to take a more lenient approach.
Before you try any sort of radical change to your diet, make sure you do enough research on your own and speak with your trusted physician or a nutritionist. Nevertheless, the bottom line is that you need to eat more calories and incorporate more good quality protein for a strong, sexy derriere.
And don’t panic if the scale goes up! It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have excess fat gain – it could be that you’re retaining more water as a result of staying hydrated during workouts or that you’re gaining muscle (which is heavier than fat).
Now, Let’s Lift To Sculp a Stronger, Sexier Booty
A perky bum is best achieved by hitting all of the lower muscle groups like your gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, hamstrings, and quads. I’ll note which of these below are compound lifts (a lift that uses more than one muscle group at one time) and which of these are accessory lifts (the extra movements that target smaller muscle groups or just one muscle). Accessory lifts are the extras that aren’t necessary if you don’t want them to be.
1. Hip Thrusts
There are so many ways to adapt this booty boosting lift to fit your gym and comfort levels! Just make sure you have proper padding on your abdomen region and find your rep and set sweet spot. It could be as high as 12 reps for 4 sets at a lower weight or as low as 6 reps for 3 sets at a higher weight.
This is a compound lift. A standard barbell squat in a squat rack is my favorite variation, but there are many different styles of squats. Squat with kettlebells or dumbbells, squat on smith machines, stagger your stance and do weighted lunges, and if you’re up for the best-kept booty-building secret, get into Bulgarian split squats!
This is a compound lift. Your booty’s best friend will be Romanian deadlifts but conventional deadlifts and sumo deadlifts are also great variations that help target your back and quads in addition to your glutes.
If you’re using deadlifts to sculpt a sexy behind, just make sure you’re using proper form to not cause injury or overwork your back and upper body. You might end up working the wrong muscle groups if you aren’t hinging your hips enough with any of the deadlifts you try.
4. Glute Bridges
This is an accessory lift. This one looks just as “sus” as a hip thrust but don’t feel too shy to try it out. This one can be done most easily with dumbbells and resistance bands, but if you want to stick to bodyweight you can challenge yourself with single leg glute bridges. Conversely, if you want to amp it up, you can use heavier barbells! Personally, I like to keep these lighter and not use heavy barbells.
This is an accessory lift. Back extensions or hyperextensions are amazing for your strengthening your whole posterior chain. It’s nice to do these more toward the end of your workout after you have already done heavier lifts. When finishing off a workout with hyperextensions, it can be good to do tight, high rep pulses.
This is an accessory lift. To further enhance your lower curves, you’ll want to add in an accessory lift like an abduction to hit your gluteus medius and minimus (the sides of your hips). If you’ve used bodyweight and cable variations of abductions enough, you might want to try the abduction machine to add on heavier weight and build even more strength. It’s one of my faves! See nine different exercises here.
This is an accessory lift. This totally isolates your behind and is lovely at the end of a workout after you have already done heavier lifts. Kickbacks can be done with resistance bands, cable machines, smith machines, or even dedicated glute kickback machines at your gym. See a guide here.
The best part about strength training is that there are so many different ways to do it. I only touched on a few of the best movements, but if you decide to go on your own fitness journey with the goal of getting peachy au naturale, I would recommend taking a deep dive into your own research or speaking with a physician or certified personal trainer.
Time and time again, celebs and influencers will post their gym routines and make you believe that their unbelievably perky bum is just a result of their workouts with lots of cardio and very light weights while secretly going under the knife or quietly having cosmetic procedures done. Not telling the full truth about how a certain body form is achieved can be damaging for a young woman who aspires to have sexy curves.
It’s no easy feat finding confidence in your own body when the odds are stacked against you with how the media manipulates body image through trends and falsehoods. Let’s leave the cartoon-ish, impossible booty standard behind and embrace the real, sexy, and strong curves that come from dedication, healthy choices, and love for your body!
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