Not just for aesthetic reasons – strong glutes are essential in maintaining a good posture, increasing athletic performance and reducing seemingly unrelated aches and pains.
But if you're squatting your life away and you still aren't seeing results in your bum, there's one thing you might be missing.
It's the change (along with a stellar diet and regular training) that helped Lauren Jones build her butt. We spoke to the 24-year-old fitness enthusiast (with over 34k followers on Instagram) about exactly how she did it.
When did you start becoming interested in health and fitness?
I've always kept myself busy with physical activity. Netball, dance, and now of course dance and the gym. I started fitness group classes back four years ago, I mostly enjoyed pump classes because I was lifting weights, but struggled to see results so I started going to the gym more frequently about three years ago.
How have your workouts changed over the last few years?
The biggest change in a leg workout over the past few years has definitely been knowing how to activate and work my glutes. I used to do workouts that would include exercises like squatting, little did I realise I was using my quads and not properly activating my glutes.
Another big change has been routine. After a heavy lifting weight session, it is so important to let your muscles recover. A protein shake will definitely help, but making sure you have at least a day's rest in between working your glutes again is more important. It will also decrease the risk of injury as your muscles won't feel so fatigued the next time you go in and smash out a big session. This is one reason I stopped doing pump classes daily.
What does your exercise routine look like at the moment?
I just finished dancing for the year, so this allows me a lot more time to spend in the gym. I train three lower body sessions a week, and three upper body sessions per week.
Lower body is mostly glute training as I feel this is the hardest and my most stubborn body part to grow, and adding a few hamstring, quads and rarely calf muscle exercises in each workout as well.
Upper body usually consists of 30-45 minutes cardio and each day is, once again, different, training back and biceps one day, chest and triceps the next and finally shoulders which is one of my favourites to train.
What has been your goal when it comes to exercise, psychical, mental, both?
Definitely both... To maintain a healthy balanced lifestyle as well as a flat stomach, and of course a big booty haha.
What has worked / not worked for you in attaining that goal?
What has worked... Consistency, I remember when I thought it was almost impossible to gain a decent sized bum and a flat tummy. I didn't, and haven't given up, and now each time I look back at my progress pics, I see how far I've come.
Mind muscle connection also helps, if you're not focussing on activating your glutes, you'll probably end up using other parts of your legs to complete the workout, without realising, as mentioned above. Cut back on some weights if you don't feel you are working your glutes properly.
What hasn't worked... Following generic nutritional guides online. I've bought many that's for sure... and whilst they may work for some, they aren't going to work for all. I can't say I found one that really worked for me.
How long did it take for you to start seeing results?
I've always seen some small results... but I would say about 11 months, after making some major changes to my diet, was when I started seeing some big improvements.
Has diet been important in your transformation, how has your eating changed?
Absolutely! The most important part to a body transformation. I believe in the 80/20 rule, 80% diet, 20% exercise in order to see the best result. I would rather have a healthy day of eating and miss out on the gym than I would eat bad and go to the gym
I would say it has changed most by knowing what foods my body does and doesn't like, and also understanding portion sizes. A great example being; eating a full chicken breast (250g) back one to two years ago, now I would make sure it’s around 100g, I usually work off the size of my palm.
It's also important to make sure you are eating enough if you're trying to grow your glutes. Protein grows muscle, so a salad without adding your protein isn't going to help you reach your goal. I eat a meal every two to three hours.
What do you think other women need to know about building their strength and growing a booty?
It's not something that will happen overnight, as much as we all wish it did... set long term goals that are achievable and once you reach them, set another. This will create a good mindset.
If you somewhat stop gym-ing for a little while, don't be upset by the sudden change in your glute size, muscle memory is great and as soon as you start working at it again, it will build quicker than it did the first time 😉