One of the things I love most about bodybuilding, is that you can work to sculpt your body the way you want and improve your body composition. Nowadays, more women (including myself!) are wanting to see growth and fullness in their backside. In order to get to that "Big Booty Judy" look, there's three important steps: eat in a calorie surplus, get adequate protein, and do some weight training. Let me expand...
So many women are afraid to eat in a surplus, but if you're looking for significant growth, you'll need to eat! If you are a chronic dieter, afraid to eat carbs, impatient/inconsistent, or afraid lifting heavy will make you look like a man, then you will struggle getting the desired results.
To shape and grow your glutes, you're going to have to build muscle. Building muscle is a slow and tedious process. Many women often have the goal of "toning", or losing fat and gaining muscle, but it's best to choose one goal at a time. It's only likely to build muscle and lose fat simultaneously when you're new to lifting; after about 6 months, your ability to get those "newbie gains" will diminish. I recommend getting to a healthy weight with lower body fat (learn about fat loss here), then work on gaining. When you're ready to start building, that means eating in a calorie surplus. While in a calorie surplus, you want to be sure you're getting in enough protein to promote muscle growth.
Typically, a good place to start your calories will be around 16 x body weight in pounds. This is just an estimate, but should be close for most; monitor progress for a few weeks and adjust as necessary; adjust calories up if you are losing weight and adjust down if you are gaining weight too fast. Approximately a 2 pound gain per month is what you should expect. Protein at around 1g per pound of LEAN body mass is sufficient. Once you have your nutrition worked out, you want to be sure you have a proper training program.
You want to train glutes a minimum of twice a week. For optimal glute growth, weight training three to four times per week is best. I don't recommend training the same body part more than 4 times per week because your muscles need time to recover. Don't be afraid to lift heavy and challenge yourself. Be sure to follow a routine that includes progressive overload. Increasing volume and weight being lifted over time keeps your progress going. Doing endless amounts of donkey kicks isn't going to do much for you, so pick up those weights!
Here are my top five personal favorite glute growing exercises to do:
1. Barbell Hip Thrust
2. Cable Pull Throughs
3. Sumo Squat
4. Romanian Deadlift
Be consistent, be patient, and you will see results. It will take time but it will happen. Bodybuilding is a continuous journey. I know I, myself, am still a work in progress!
Arielle is a certified fitness trainer, certified sports nutritionist, fitness enthusiast, and bikini competitor who has been involved in fitness since 2011. She also is studying for her Doctorate of Health Science in Nutrition and Exercise Science.