A very frequent reason why women start exercising is the need of firming and lifting buttocks. Internet is full of slogans, such as “no squat, no glutes”. Do squats really guarantee Brazilian butt? Is it enough to do a lot of squats to have firm shaped buttocks?
You should definitely read:How to lose fat in your butt?
Buttocks are a big and strong muscle group. They include gluteus maximus and gluteus medius. The most important function of gluteus maximus, together with muscles at the front, is keeping vertical posture. Additionally, it is the strongest erector of hip joint. This muscle mainly shapes buttocks. It is extremely strong, and thanks to it, when we lose centre of gravity to the front, we are still stable.
It is the strongest muscle which allows us do all the actions connected with normal functioning, i.e. walking, running, sitting and standing up.
Do we engage gluteus maximus during squats?
Yes, if the squats are done correctly.
Squat is a complex, multi-joint exercise. It engages many groups of muscles at the same time. The main ones are gluteal muscles, quadriceps and the upper body muscles.
Do the full squat. Take care of the right technique.
If you don't do full squats, it means that you don't go deep enough and overload knees, as well as muscles at the front of thighs, i.e. quads, much more than the muscles at the back, i.e. gluteal muscles and hamstrings.
As a result of doing squats, you strengthen and build thigh muscles, and not buttocks.
It's also important not to bend to the front. The level of bending in squat may be various depending on the differences caused by various postures. You should remember that during squats your back should be straight. You should avoid curving the lumbar spine, as it may cause injuries.
The expression that “knees stay over toes” is not that important and doing it is not a mistake, because such placement may be forced by the individual anthropometry of each person – to make it simple, body proportions, or the ratio between the length of particular parts of the body.
Care about strong stimuli
As I mentioned before, gluteus maximus is a large muscle. It is 3-4 cm thick, with long fan-shaped insertion line. It is built of strong muscle fibres. Large muscle needs strong stimuli to grow. Other stimuli are needed to build biceps and different when you want to build glutes.
Does doing hundreds of repetitions without additional load provide proper stimulus?
No. Perhaps at the beginning of your journey with exercises such action may make sense. However, our bodies adapt very fast. What is good at the beginning, will not bring any effects after a month of regular training. In order to provide proper impulse for glutes, don't be afraid of putting weight on the barbell.
Does doing squats guarantee Brazilian glutes?
Practically speaking, it often occurs that it doesn't.
Having sedentary lifestyle (working in front of a computer, driving a car, evening on a couch or in a pub, etc.) we made our buttocks got lazy. We barely use them, so they got some time off. Imagine going back to work after 2 years off. Hard? Feel like you don't want it? Your glutes don't want to work, either.
As a result, we observe many people with flat buttocks nowadays. Even when they start doing squats, qudriceps take all the work, while glutes still do nothing. You need a strong stimulus here, which would make your butt work.
What can help?
Including different types of squats will be definitely helpful. Not only those with barbell on the back, but also front squats, goblets, sumo squats, etc., as well as working on the mobility. Appropriate mobility enables right technical work, and makes it more possible that glutes will do some work during exercises.
It's good to include also other exercises in the training plan, which would activate glutes, too.
One of the exercises worth thinking of is glute bridge with barbell, as well as hip thrust. It's worth taking care of different stimuli, large load with small amount of repetitions (e.g. 12/10/8/8 repetitions with the 50-90kg load), and larger amount of repetitions until so-called burning (3-4 * 15-20 30-60kg).
A good idea are also deadlifts on straight legs, or low cable leg abduction or abducting leg kneeling with expander.
It's important to tighten glutes during doing these exercises by rotating hips to the front.
Summing up, squats are not enough to build Brazilian glutes. Especially, if you base on large amount of repetitions without additional load. Buttocks are large muscles which need strong stimuli. Activating butt needs including exercises with load, working on mobility and rotating hips forward.