"I'm not training my ass," the bodybuilder shouted at his coach. "Women can train their asses because they've gotta look good for us guys, but real men don't do
sissy exercises for their butts."
Uh-oh! This guy is way, way behind the times (no pun intended). Today in body-building competition judges scrutinize every bodypart. In days gone by the key indicator of an athlete's condition was his abs. If the abs were cut, showing a defined six-pak, the bodybuilder got full marks for his definition. Before long dozens of bodybuilders appeared onstage with great abs. Jeez, they all looked in shape! How do we pick a winner?
Then in the '80s along came a young bodybuilder named Rich Gaspari. Like almost everyone onstage one day at the Arnold Classic, Rich had ripped abs, but when he turned his back to the audience they let out a collective gasp. Gaspari also had ripped glutes! Egad! His butt was shredded. Striations ran from top to bottom. A new indicator for condition was established. From that day on ripped glutes became the difference between a also-ran and the winner of a contest.
Until recently a male bodybuilder would rely on squats and leg presses to build and shape his backside. Any other exercise would be considered not only overkill but also embarrassing. Whereas women could normally be seen working on the butt machine, or lying on the floor working at hip thrusts, men just didn't do such exercises.
Well, the sport has changed. Today men need to do specialized butt exercises in their workouts. After all, the butt is a muscle. True, it's pretty close to our excretory orifice and not too far away from our genitalia, but it is a muscle and should be trained like any other bodypart. There's no need to be squeamish about the area. Don't associate it with vulgarity, sexuality or any off-limits activity whatsoever. After fifty years in this business I am convinced that the best butt exercise of all is the kneeling single-leg low-pulley kickback. No other movement has such enormous range. It works the butt from top to bottom (again, no pun intended). At the start of this exercise, you may be tempted to kick your leg back with a power-like thrust. Resist the temptation. Far better to start slowly. Make your buttocks do all the work from beginning to end. If you haven't done this exercise before, you may find it a little awkward. Holding onto the low-pulley apparatus or the bench will help you with balance. Don't give up after one session. After a couple of workouts you will love this movement, and your butt will quickly show improvement in roundness and hardness. Try a couple of sets of 10 to 15 reps at first. After a few weeks you can progress to 4 or 5 sets, varying your reps from 6 to 15 and the poundage used.
Once you get accustomed to the cadence of this low-pulley kickback, I suggest you hold back on trying to use maximum poundage. Going all out for more weight is fine for basic multi-joint exercises like the bench press or squat, but this is a uni-joint exercise and good form is more important than the amount of resistance you use. Don't get me wrong. I want you to increase the weight whenever you can, but not to the extent that you are purple in the face, ready to pop a blood vessel. Good solid effort, yes. All-out blood-curdling craziness - no!
If you are doing squats or leg presses in your routine, this low-pulley kickback is all you'll need to keep your butt rock hard and round. If not, add the second-best butt exercise in the world, the supine hip thrust.
Lie on the floor, feet apart and drawn up as close to your hips as possible. Your hands should be down at your side unless you are using some free-weight plates for added resistance, in which case they should be holding the weights in place to prevent them from slipping off your midsection.
Move your hips up and down, attempting to squeeze your glutes as you push upward as high as possible. This movement may seem a little strange at first, but once you've got the hang of it you will realize its efficacy. Here's a little extra advice: After you have completed your full reps on this hip- thrust exercise, do 10 to 15 pulses. What's a pulse? It's a short-range (4 to 5 inches) repetition that you should do quickly at the top of the movement when your hips are at their highest point. The reason for finishing each set with some pulses (some- times known as burns) is to throw more blood into the area and to really trash the glutes.
I don't know whether you have a flat butt, a flabby butt, a wide butt or no butt at all. Whatever the case, your nutrition program is important. You have to eat clean. Give the menu chart to the left a try.
Remember when exercising that you must work the entire body. The catalyst that brings it all together is your nutrition. Get it right and you'll look like a million dollars from top to bottom. (Pun most definitely intended!)