Perfect Glutes

The word "tush" sounds so soft and cushy, like a fluffy dessert topping, which makes it a totally outdated nickname for the glutes. Who wants a butt like a soggy marshmallow? These days most people (men and women) prefer their rumps to be hard with just the right amount of roundness instead of plump and pillowy.

When did our posterior attitudes do this about-face? It started right after the Apollo space missions in the late '60s; people saw what the moons surface actually looks like and decided that they didn't want any part of their anatomy appearing rotund and dimpled or able to cause a total eclipse. Note that this is also about the time "mooning" lost its appeal and went out of style. Coincidence? I think not.

These days mooning is back, although it's being done in a subtler fashion. Hang around a resort swimming pool long enough and you're bound to get mooned by someone proudly displaying his or her tight assets in a thong or T-back swimsuit. Don't be offended. Remember, the old "If you got it, flaunt it" rule holds more true today than at any other time in history because of the fitness revolution.

So how do you get a flauntable hard rump that looks fetching in jeans, a thong or even a pair of walking shorts? You've got to eat clean for one thing, but you've also got to blitz your butt with heavy metal. While most bodybuilders get a lot of glute work when they train legs, adding a direct exercise is often all it takes to give your rear view an added dimension of sex appeal.

The best compound exercise for the glutes is flat-footed full squats. Most bodybuilders use this exercise as the core movement in their quad workouts, and that's fine, but be aware that it also works your tail hard. Also realize that if you do stiff-legged deadlifts for your hamstrings, you're hitting your glutes as well. If you're not already including this movement, add it immediately unless you're plagued by lower-back problems, in which case you may have to plant yourself on the leg press instead.

Now you have flat-footed full squats and stiff-legged deadlifts. Is that enough work? For some people, the answer is yes. For those who have a derriere deficiency, it's mandatory that you add one more exercise, and that exercise is hyperextensions or some type of directglute-machine work. Either allows you to squeeze against resistance for a peak-contraction effect that will blowtorch your buttocks. You should hold each rep in the contracted position for a two count to really finish off your glutes. For example, if you're doing hyperextensions, pull your upper body up until it's parallel to the floor and hold, squeezing your buttocks together as if you're juicing a kumquat (most people say pinching a quarter, but the kumquat analogy is much harder to forget).

Here's a routine that will round off and reshape your rear view:

Quads (including two sets of flatfooted full squats*)
Hamstrings (including two sets of stiff-legged deadlifts*)
Hyperextensions 2-3 x 8-12
* If you can't do squats or stiff-legged deadlifts, substitute leg presses with your feet high on the foot plate, but be sure to come down deep, thighs passing the sides of your torso. Do three to four sets of eight to 12 reps.

Give this routine a try, working glutes twice a week, and before you know it, you'll hear people hum "Harvest Moon" every time you wear those tight-fitting jeans.

Sexy Glute Exercises

Flat-Footed Squats

Place a loaded bar across7 your shoulders. Be sure it's resting across your rear deltoid heads and your traps. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width with your feet angled out at about 45 degrees. Look straight ahead and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Without pausing, drive up to the starting position.
Tip: For more glute focus think about reaching back with your butt as you lower yourself.

Stiff-Legged Deadlifts

Stand erect holding a loaded barbell, with your hands hanging at arm's length. Arch your lower back slightly, and while maintaining this slight arch, bend forward, allowing the bar to hang from your arms. When the bar reaches mid-shin level, reverse your movement and pull back to the starting position. Tip: To keep tension on your glutes, drive up to just short of erect.


Position yourself facedown on the hyperextension bench and allow your upper body to bend forward to a 90-degree angle to your legs. Raise your torso in a smooth arch until your upper body is parallel to the floor. Hold this position for a two count, squeezing your buttocks hard. Release and slowly return to the starting position. Tip: Hold a plate on your chest to make this exercise harder.

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