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Excuse Buster: Shaping up gluteus maximus

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: I Swore I’d never write an article with topics as generic and common as ‘bigger biceps’, ‘five fat-burning secrets’ or ‘get quads of thunder’.

I hate these types of articles. They are often 2,000 words and harp on about exercises that have been around for years, but are renamed and tweaked so that they are perceived as a brand new, revolutionary exercise that will change the world. This is never the case.

Since the six-week, six-pack challenge has aired in Phuket and around Thailand, I have been flooded with questions like ‘how do I firm up my butt?’, ‘do you know any good butt exercises’ and ‘how do I get a booty like Kim Kardashian?’

I am a little surprised by how many butt questions have been enticed by the six-pack challenge… regardless, I’ll take this column as an opportunity to answer them.

The bum, also known as the gluteus maximus, is the biggest muscle in the human body. It is the uppermost of the three gluteal muscles. If someone wants a well-developed, rounded backside, they will have to train all three of these muscles and hit them with some hamstring training as well.

Believe it or not, many people cannot activate their glutes due to long periods of sitting down, whether it be at a computer, while driving or while studying. This results in tight hip flexors, tight iliotibial (IT) bands and tight spinal erectors, which in turn can lead to long, stretched out glutes.

This causes other muscles to over activate during leg exercises, while the glutes are being activated little, or not at all. Even if someone trains most days, if they spend the rest of the day in a seated position, they will have a glute-firing issue.

If after a leg workout you only feel soreness in your quads and hamstrings, your glutes may not be activating. If you haven’t felt delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) in your actual bum, chances are you’re not using those muscles at all.

You probably know already where you can watch video tutorials about how to get a firm bum, but you could be missing out on getting the shape you want because your glutes are simply sleeping during the workout.

So, perhaps the question now is ‘why can’t I engage my glute muscles?’

Let’s fix this.

First of all, before your leg workout, start with some mobility training. Do some dynamic stretches to loosen the IT bands and hip flexors, then work your way around the legs and up into the lower back (spinal erectors). You can even use a foam roller to loosen up these muscles first. After you stretch for a bit, do some glute-activating exercises.

Once you have done some glute-activation exercises, you will be ready for a leg workout. Hopefully, the next day you will have a sore, but more firm and toned bum.

Krix Luther is a fully qualified personal trainer with nearly a decade of experience specializing in strength and conditioning. For more information about Krix and his services, visit

— Krix Luther


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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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