Butt workouts gas me up, so I asked an exercise psychologist to explain why


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For far too long, I fell into the propagated trap of believing that adding strength training to my workout routine would make me “bulky,” “too strong,” and other labels traditionally deemed “unfeminine.” Then a friend put a pair of dumbbells in my hands and taught me how to do a front squat—and just like that—my sweat life changed for the better. Now I pair cardio with strength circuits that rotate muscle groups each workout. Lower-body days remain my favorite by far. Why? Quite frankly, butt workouts (e.g., lunges, squats, and fire hydrants) make me feel like I’m slaying nonstop.

I couldn’t put my finger on why I feel a burst of self-love every time I feel my glutes engaged (honestly, even writing that down seems worthy of an LOL), so I asked Hillary Cauthen, Psy.D, of Association for Applied Sport Psychology to shed some light on the subject. According to her, my reaction is due to a combination of factors.

“You are experiencing a physical reaction to the workout,” says Dr. Cauthen. “The physical benefits you gain throughout the workout are providing a chemical reaction in your brain letting you know this feels good. The endorphin rush.” That is, my body’s chemical response to the workout is seriously gassing up my perception of my derriere.

“Glute-based activities may give you a boost in confidence due to how you or others, specifically women, have been socialized about the importance of body image and areas of attractiveness.” —Dr. Hillary Cauthen

Dr. Cauthen says another reason for my feeling of empowerment is related to the beauty standards that have been thrusted upon me since I tried on my first two-piece swimsuit. “Glute-based activities may give you a boost in confidence due to how you or others, specifically women, have been socialized about the importance of body image and areas of attractiveness,” explains Dr. Cuathen. Upon hearing this, I begin to nod in agreement. What I’m seeing in the mirror emulates what I’ve been conditioned to view as “beautiful” or “strong.” As much as I’d like to believe I’m putting distance between how I choose (keyword: choose) to value my body and how society would like me to value it, I know I’m not there yet.

Shifting that thought paradigm won’t happen in a day—much less in the breadth of a squat—but the psychologist says that slowly, overtime, I can alter the reason why butts workouts make me feel, well, cheeky. “The hardest part is focusing internally and tuning out the external voices, or in this case images of others or sometimes your own reflection. We can be our own worst critic, so focus on why you started exercising and find a compassionate, motivating voice to assist you on those hard days,” she advises.

I’ll be moving my lower body exercises to a room without a mirror. In the end, these workouts aren’t to enhance appearance of my backside, they’re too improve the way I feel on the inside. (I’m a total cheeseball, but it’s true.)

Now that you’re inspired to get moving (for yourself, not society), add these butt workouts to your routine.

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BOOTY BURNER 🍑🔥 This. Was a KILLER!! 😵 Loved putting together this great mix of glute specific exercises…Including lots of single leg stability & control to really spice things up! 💪🏼😉 👉🏼 4 Rounds 10 x (each side) Side Squat Pulse Kick 10 x Hip Lift Sit Up to Table Top 10 x (each side) Fire Hydrant Kick 10 x (each side) Curtsy Lunge to Crunch 10 x (each side) Single Leg Bridge with Leg Swing . Increase reps to 20 if you want to take this to the next level! 👊🏼 Hope you enjoy this burner as much as I did! 😁🙌🏼 #bootyworkout #glutetraining ab♥️x . For more workouts like this check out my app Fresh Body Fit Mind 🙌🏼🌿 On iPhone & Android ☺️ . Music: Rhymes – Hannah Wants & Chris Lorenzo

A post shared by Amanda Bisk (@amandabisk) on

1. Booty Burner via Amanda Bisk

Repeat the circuit four times.

1. Side squat pulse kick, repeat 10 times on each side
2. Hip lift sit up to table top, repeat 10 times
3. Fire hydrant kick, repeat 10 times on each side
4. Curtsy lunge to crunch, repeat 10 times on each side
5. Single leg bridge with leg swing, repeat 10 times on each side

2. 12-minute Booty via Charlee Atkins

Repeat the circuit three times.

1. Hinge and toe tap, repeat 10 times on each side
2. Feet together squat, repeat 10 times
3. Fire hydrant kick, repeat 10 times on each side
4. Frogger crouch, repeat 10 times

3. Bosu Ball Butt Workouts via Kirsty Godso

Repeat the first two moves once, the last two four times each. 

1. Single leg bosu ball deadlift to barbell shoulder press, repeat 8 times on each side
2. Single leg backward stepping bosu lunge with dumbbell press, repeat 8 times on each side
3. 220 meter sprint on the SkiErg
4. Two lengths of high prowler march sleds

In the market for even more butt workouts? See: squats and wall sits

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