lani_black_pro_100It’s hard to know these days which is the best reference word for the backside:  booty?  butt?  What do you prefer?

And I don’t want to be exclusive and say “glutes” because there are actually multiple muscles involved when it comes to shaping the backyard.  Let’s include everyone, I say!

I figure between the two of these references – butt and booty – you’d have a good idea of what I’m going to be talking about.

Still, the more pedestrian “lower body shaping” won as post title.  That way the topic is clear.


When I was a kid one of my favorite books was one called Danny Dunne And The Anti-Gravity Paint.  If only!

Though I can’t do something as simple (darn!) as hand you a can of paint, I CAN direct you to some powerful anti-gravity exercises that you can use to great benefit when reshaping the rear.

As women of a certain age all know, due to the effects of gravitational pull over time, the muscles of the backside can lose their “lift”.  The “journey to the center of the earth” presses onward (downward?) unless we do something about it! AND due to relatively lower levels of activity resulting in fewer stressors on the butt muscles themselves, our booty loses shape.

Which brings us to the Anti-Gravity Booty Series:  dedicated to

1) optimizing booty shape and

2) enhancing metabolic rate with the advantage of maintaining muscle mass

The truth of the matter is, the key to a better shaped booty is in

1) rebuilding and maintaining muscle  and

2) reducing body fat so that your shape shows.  Actually, this is the bottom line for body shaping, period.  (More on that later).

The Booty Series

There is an assortment of GREAT exercises and techniques that can be used to really work your backside for best results.  #1, the Squat, is primo.  It actually has several variations;  for the purposes of this article, let’s start with the basic, mid-stance, body-weight-as-resistance squat.

The key to this exercise is intensifying muscle activation through technique AND through extra resistance, as desired.

Steps To An Effective Basic Squat:

1)  Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder’s width apart, toes straight ahead. Wear proper footwear – crosstrainers are fine – to help stabilize the ankle joint and assist with alignment.

2)  Connect with the floor: this is a commonly missed step, which can cut the “feel” – not to mention safety and effectiveness – of your squat repetitions by half!  To “connect”, simply drive your heels into the floor, which will immediately create deeper muscle activation throughout the lower body, particularly the backside.  This will also serve protective benefit, as you will sense during execution of the squat.

3)  Align and activate the upper body: Imagine perfect upper body posture before you start!  That means chest open, shoulders back and down, torso activated through the belly and the lower back.

4)  Start the descent: keeping your feet anchored to the floor plus #2 “connect” (as described above) in place throughout, extend your tail back as if to sit.  Keeping the connection through the backyard and the heels pressed into the floor will keep pressure off your knees and relieve the overworked quadriceps.  Take  2-3 seconds to move into the low position, at least.

5)  Keep knees in alignment: as you move (notice I didn’t say “drop”) into the squat position, prioritize alignment of the knees by forbidding them to roll to the inside of the feet or ankles.  Direct them toward the outer portion of the feet instead to engineer knee protection into the move.

6)  Pause and drive upwards: pause at the low end of the position.  The depth of the squat will differ for each individual based on strength, condition, knees, and circumstance.  Then, reset all of the elements as in the first steps above and drive your heels into the floor while you activate the butt with a slight pelvic tilt up (this will engage the gluteal muscles even more) to bring you back to start position.

Progressing With The Squat

If unaccustomed to this move, you should definitely start out slow without any extra resistance.  And only proceed if you have no contra-indications for this exercise from your health-care provider.

But if it’s all systems go, then you can begin by working your way up to 10-12 repetitions with just body weight.  Intensity increases by adding additional resistance, with the use of dumbbells, barbell, or kettlebells. Just remember when it comes to adding on other elements such as increased resistance that the elements of alignment and technique take priority over amount of weight or repetitions.

Adding extra resistance inversely affects repetitions.  So, for example, if you have worked up to a dozen well-executed squats with just body weight, if you add 10 lbs of hand held weight, you will need to drop your repetitions back to the number that can be completed properly.  But that’s the beauty of added resistance:  more accomplished in fewer reps, which means more time for you to enjoy the benefits of your superior training program!

The Results?  Lift, Shape, Muscle!

The squat delivers results quite rapidly in shape and lift.  Within 2 weeks of performing squats as part of your workouts 3 times a week, you will see a difference.

And if you are feeling intermittent muscle soreness, are eating a nutritionally sound diet and getting enough rest, you can bet you are building muscle.  And remember,  every extra little bit of muscle on your body contributes in its own moderate way to your metabolic rate which is an important factor in optimizing your body composition when it comes to fat vs. muscle.

Finally, to further assist,  a short “Play Safe With Weights – Lower Body, The Squat” video that underscores safety considerations can be easily found in the right sidebar of this blog.  You may have already seen this yet if not, I want to bring it to your attention for review.

ALWAYS want to play safe when it comes to weights, and remember even the resistance of your own body weight is – weight!

P.S. With squats a regular part of my routine, I’ve noticed a definite anti-gravity effect.  This recently taken photo accompanying this article show some changes resulting from body composition shifts AND “backyard” work – just a little each week.  Which is why I am so excited to share with you!

P.P.S. An added benefit? Whenever I need a boost of physical energy, I find that anything involving those big muscles of the lower body does the trick – even a round of squats will do it!  It warms the body and springloads my legs for action!

P.P.S. What is YOUR favorite “booty” shaper?  Tell me about it in “comments” below. And if it’s not already in my series lineup, then I just may add it!

© Lani Muelrath, All Rights Reserved

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