Who’d have ever thought I’d get a call from USA Today to weigh in on how to get a back side like Kim Kardashian’s?

And of course, my first thought was “who’d want a back side like that?”

usatodayAnd also, of course, though not being follower of pop culture – just as everyone else even in the farthest reaches of the Serengeti seems to know who Kim Kardashian is – I didn’t know that a news story about her ‘back yard’ had just broken and was playing itself out on the cyber waves.

Paper Mag Article

Apparently Paper Mag (ever heard of it?  I hadn’t), in an apparent attempt to ‘break the internet’ (know what that means?  I don’t, though I have a faint idea that it must have something to do with flooding the cyber waves to crashing capacity) had published some indiscreet, clothing-spare photos of Ms. Kardashian, including a now infamous shot of her bare back side.

The call came through while I was in the checkout line at Costco.  Just as my avocados and butternut squash were scooting across the scanner, my phone rattled and a glance down told me the source.

So though I never answer calls ‘in line’ (isn’t it annoying when people do that?) I overcame my resistance, risking the displeasure of Miss Manners, and took the call.

Would I be available in five minutes to speak to U.S.A. today writer Ann Oldenburg regarding the Kardashian story?


And though ‘the story’ was news to me, of course I wasn’t going to say no to this opportunity to weigh in on it from a fitness perspective. I had five minutes to get my booty (couldn’t resist) out to my car, unload my groceries, and take Ann’s call.

No sooner had I loaded the fresh produce along with cans of organic mushrooms into the back of my Rav, jumped into the driver’s seat and jotted a couple of notes, when my phone rang again.

Photoshop Magic?

I told Ann I didn’t know anything about the story and hadn’t seen the pictures in question.  She did say that the scuttlebutt is that some photoshop was involved, but could I give USA readers the details about how to get a back side like that?

Right away I knew the best contribution I could make to this unfolding fluff. Rather than derail the conversation to bigger issues that really matter, I met the challenge right where it had landed. Bloom where you’re planted.

It was an opportunity to teach to the moment, debunk some myths about body shaping – expecially our back side – and deliver some insights and tips about our best hopes for body shaping ‘back there’.

All You Need To Know About Gluteal Shaping in a Nutshell

Since this call gave me to share everything there is to know about shaping the gluteals, I thought I’d tell you exactly what I said to Ann on the call.

Knowing that only a fraction of the details would probably make it to the story, I was able to pull together a solid kinesiology lesson, some of which made it to the article.  You’ll see the reference to my conversation with Ann in the final six or so sentences of the article here:

Kim K’s behind in ‘Paper’: Is it real or is it Photoshop?

Here are the details of  backside body shaping as I  shared with Ann from USA Today during our call.

Gluteal Shape and  Genetics

First, our genetics determine our potential for back yard body shaping.

Depending on the shape of your pelvis, the accompanying overlying muscle is going to come along with varying potential for round or flat shape.  And depending on your distance from ribcage to hip, your waist is going to be narrow or wider.

Greater distance from rib-to-hip results in a narrower waist, which delivers the visual or a larger rear by contrast. These both have bearing on the Kardashian visual profile.

And of course, depending on body composition, more or less is going to ‘show’ to the eye.  Higher body fat composition blurs the muscle definition, layering over the shape connection between hamstring – the muscles on the back of the thigh – and the gluteal muscles that shape your rear.

Multiple Gluteal Muscles Come Into Play


Image from Fit Quickies: 5 Minute Targeted Body-Shaping Workouts courtesy Penguin/Alpha books.

Though we tend to think of gluteus maximus as the muscle for our back side, there are actually three muscles in the gluteal team, as I explain and diagram in Fit Quickies:  5 Minute Targeted Body Shaping Workouts.

The gluteus medius and minimus both also come into play, not only with back yard function, yet also shape. All of the gluteal muscles are important players as part of our core muscle assembly.

They all need strength challenge.  And if shape and lift through the rear is what you are looking for, then all the more important to challenge all three.

The glueteus medius, targeted in Fit Quickie #5, Topless Muffins, and Fit Quickie #4, Gorgeous Glutes and Hamstrings, is responsible for bringing more shape and lift through the side of the seat – resulting in that ‘dancer’s dent’ and creating more roundness and shape.

As I explained to Ann, as a person with genetic flat back side – I have a squarish pelvis and a short waist – the Fit Quickies collection specifically targets theses often neglected areas of our glutes because I know the challenges.

No less than four  Fit Quickies take on this challenge:  in addition to the two I’ve just mentioned, there is also #9, Higher Assets (so named because that is the result), and also #12, Super Shaper Split Squat – the instructional video for which I’ve posted for you at the top of this page.

When all three gluteals are targeted through the course of your exercises, then you have the best shot at creating lift and shape through your back side.  Working these muscles in concert with these specific exercises has given me the best shape possible through my seat, given my genetic challenges.

The Hamstrings Play Along Too

The hamstring muscles, sitting right beneath the gluteals on the back side of your thigh, also come into play when it comes into shaping the back side. The hamstrings work in concert with the gluteals to give your entire back side strength, lift, and shape.

And trimming excess body fat with a whole foods plant-based diet has given me the best results in helping it all show.

Benefits Beyond The Look of Your Booty

I want to underscore the value of the gluteal team as core stabilizers. Even when attempting to exercise these puppies, it is not uncommon for people to place the workload on the lower back, missing the gluteal opportunity.

Due to all of our sitting, the gluteals have become overstretched, weak, and have forgotten how to come into play.

This is why Fit Quickies instruction includes a directive to focus intention on driving the ‘seat’ work – that entire team of back yard muscles – on initiating movement and muscular contraction from the gluteals themselves.  These muscles can be squeezed isometrically, just as you squeeze a fist.  It is that kind of squeeze you want to start each move with to laser focus the workload.

This will give you the best results with both strengthening AND shaping.

It’s also important to remember that targeting the muscles is more important than using tremendous amounts of weight to challenge them.  It’s all about position!

Super Shaper Split Squat

Give the Super Shaper Split Squat a try.

In the instructional video, I draw attention to form, alignment, and driving out of the low part of the move by pressing your heel into the ground, which effectively creates that isometric isolation I was just talking about.

Keep in mind this move can be easily adapted to your personal anatomy.  If taking the Super Shaper Split Squat low to the ground is outside your current strength or knee flexibility, even moving into position with correct form by as many inches as you can manage will effectively challenge these muscles right along with your core.

Please let me know if this is helpful to you, and if there is an exercise – Fit Quickie or otherwise – that you count on to keep your shape and strength ‘back there’.  Leave your note in comments below.

Thanks USA Today for the opportunity to teach this mini lesson!  Here’s to better back sides for everyone!






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