High. Round. Glutes. Any figure competitor will tell you they strive to achieve the most perfectly plump (yet tight) set of buns on stage. But what most women don’t realize is that glutes aren’t easy to build, and they’re even less easy to define and tighten. I am genetically blessed with a great butt. My mother has a big ol’ donkey and she definitely passed it down to me. I also have 18 years of soccer on my side, and my legs and butt definitely benefitted from all those years of sprinting. Here are my glutes – you think these came easy? No ma’am. These are a labor of love, and they take serious, serious work to get them stage-ready. For the best glutes, you have to build them first. This means lifting HEAVY, it means eating clean food that puts you in a caloric surplus (sorry, can’t have cupcakes for dessert every night if you want a dimple-free booty), and it means putting in a significant amount of time in the weight room. Rome wasn’t built in a day, ladies, and neither will your rump. Here are some of my favorite butt-building exercises. Heavy, a$$ to grass squats: Butt’s gotta go all the way to the floor, gals. All the way. I like to put my heels on weight plates, which drives the toes into the ground. This allows for deeper range of motion, and you’ll be able to get all the way to the floor. I usually put a bosu or medicine ball under my butt and drop my cheeks all the way down until they touch. It should BURN. Another thing: stay off the Smith Machine. You need to do all the work, and the Smith machine allows for too much cheating. Use a free barbell and start light until you achieve proper form. Once you get comfortable with the movement and the right range of motion, you can start adding weight plates. To build, you need to be working within the correct rep range, which is about 8-12. Do that 3-4 times. Heavy, all the way to the floor, slow, feet wide. Shelf booty, here you come. Deadlifts: Not really a back exercise here, but a baby-got-back exercise. You should NOT feel the majority of the work in your lower back: you should feel it in your glute/hamstring area. If you take it into your lower back, you’re using too much weight. Opposite from how I perform ATG squats, I put my TOES up on weight plates, which drives my heels into the floor. This keeps the work in my glutes/hams and keeps it out of my lower back. To begin, stand before the barbell with your feet around shoulder width apart. Bend down and grab the barbell using either a normal grip or an alternate grip (right overhand, left underhand). DO NOT round your back at any point during this exercise, or you risk injuring yourself. Keep your back straight and neutral at all times. Proceed to lift the barbell by pushing with your legs and driving with your hips. During this part of the movement, keep your chin high – I tell people to stare at the wall where it meets the ceiling. Keep pulling while driving with your hips until you are standing straight up with your arms hanging by your sides, slightly in front of you, and the barbell at your hips. During the top part of the movement, do not shrug the weight or roll your shoulders back. Once you’re standing, slowly lower the weight back to the floor to complete the rep. As with squats, use a lower rep range – 8-12 – to build. And, again, 3-4 sets. Go as heavy as you can without taking the work into that lower back. After building comes the cutting. When I start to lean out, I switch from slow, heavy, low rep range exercises to fast, high rep plyometric exercises. Here are the best ones: Step Up Crossovers: I hate these damn things. Truly. They make me cry inside. But they always give me the best backside on stage. Don’t cheat on these: at the top of the move, make sure the working leg is completly straight before coming back down on the other side of the bench. To perform these, stand to the left of a weight bench. Step up on the bench with your right leg and stand all the way up. Bring your left foot down to the right side of the bench while keeping your right foot planted on the bench. Push back up with your right foot and bring your left foot back down to the left side of the bench. That’s 1 rep – over and back. Essentially, that right foot never leaves the bench. You should complete 15-20 of these on the right side, then switch to the left side. Aim for 4 sets. Jump Squats: I love these. Stand with your legs shoulder width apart, arms behind your head. Bend your knees into a squat, as if you are sitting back into a chair. Push through your heels into the air – landing with soft knees into your squat position – repeat 20 times. You should aim for 4 sets of 20. Hamstring Roll-Ins on Stability Ball: Holy glute burn, is all I have to say about these. Start with your heels up on a stability ball, lying flat on your back. Push through your heels, lifting your pelvis in the air. This bridged position is where you’ll want to stay throughout the entire exercise. Do not let your hips fall, otherwise you’ll take the work out of your hams and glutes. From this bridged position, roll the stability ball in towards your butt and pause briefly before you roll the ball back out into your starting bridged position. I like to do 25-30 of these, and then I’ll repeat that 4 times. Happy glute training, ladies!! Apple bottom jeans will be calling you soon for a photo shoot! Beth is an NPC and OCB figure competitor and has been competing for 3 years. When she’s not rocking the stage in her stiletto heels, she’s either at work as Project Manager at a Pharmaceutical company in Durham, NC or she’s in the gym training clients or teaching spin classes. In her very minimal free time, Beth likes to sleep, eat, play with her dog, and spend time with her boyfriend and friends (who also like to sleep and eat).