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Squats (or the quest for a peachy butt!)

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Old 04-02-2012, 07:39 PM   #1
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Default Squats (or the quest for a peachy butt!)

Hi everyone!

I added squats into my exercise routine a couple of months ago with the aim of toning the backs of my thighs and getting a perkier bottom. Sadly it doesn't seem to be doing much. When I first started doing them my legs and bum would ache the next day but I think my form must have gone wrong at some point because recently I don't even feel my legs working hard whilst I'm doing them, the only place I feel something is at the very top of the front of my leg where it meets my body (near my hip bones). I don't suppose anyone can work out just from that what I might be doing wrong?

Also I was just wondering if there are any exercises apart from squats and lunges that I should be doing for a better bottom? My problem is that my bottom and the backs of my thighs sort of run into each other and I want more definition between them, if that makes any difference to what I should be doing.

Thanks very much!
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Old 04-02-2012, 08:20 PM   #2
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How are you doing your squats-- with a barbell, dumbbells, just body weight?... If you're not adding weight or moving up any significant amount, it may just be that what you're doing is no longer challenging for you.

Sounds like you're feeling it in your hip flexors, by the way. Is this a normal muscle burn, or are we talking pain? The one time I noticed my hip flexors when I was squatting was when I spaced out for a second (one little second) and let my right knee collapse inward a bit, resulting in a tiny strain to my hip flexor. So you might make sure your form is correct on that front. (You can Google "valgus collapse" for more info on this.)

My favorite exercises for targeting glutes are step ups and Bulgarian split squats. For both glutes & hamstrings, I like Romanian deadlifts & single-leg Romanian deadlifts.
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Old 04-02-2012, 08:26 PM   #3
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Are you doing your squats right? I've been lifting for a while and I squat with weights, but even when doing bodyweight squats right I feel it!

Are your thighs parallel to the floor? (It's very low) When I didn't go low enough I could squat all day and never feel it.
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:56 PM   #4
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I posted this in another thread about tightening the buns:

Hamstring/glute bridges: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTvhSYkDaHM
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Old 04-03-2012, 12:46 AM   #5
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Like sumire, I was going to suggest Romanian deadlifts and one-legged Romanian deadlifts. I can't say for sure, but it seems like they're doing pretty good things for the appearance of my backside. Be prepared to have a hard time sitting down for a few days due to DOMS after you first begin doing them - at least that was the case for me!
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:29 AM   #6
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All good advice.

Posting to add: Remember, we are genetically different. If God made you your shape, there's only so much you can do to alter it. It's nearly impossible to tell what your true God-given shape is unless you have normal body fat percentage, though. IDK where you're at in that department. If you're over the norm, give yourself some time to lose the fat before you bang your head against the wall about muscle definition.

If you're body fat % normal, keep with the previous poster's advice.

Either way, let yourself off the hook. I do millions of calf raises to increase the size of my string bean lower legs. After 10 years, I can STILL touch my finger to my thumb around my ankle. Yeah, I have well defined calves. But my skinny damn ankles apparently are just what God intended and there's nothing more to do about it. So I embrace it.
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:42 AM   #7
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RE: Squats-- yes, A$$ to the Grass That whole advice about going past parrallel being bad is myth (unless you have knee/medical issues)

But the BEST BEST advice i ever got on my squats, was to visualize, and LITERALLY try and "tear" the carpet/floor apart with my feet/legs on the way up. Keeps the knees from buckling in, puts the focus squarely where it should be


BUT-- if you want a kick a$$ A$$, Deadlifts are the only way to go (and any variation of them, including glute/ham raises)
Squatting is a pushing lift, whereas deadlifting is a PULLING movement and will in fact work the entire back of your body
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Old 04-03-2012, 07:36 PM   #8
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Thanks for all your advice!

I've just been doing body weight squats but I'll be ramping it up with some extra weight, I think I've been going at least parallel to the floor but I might have to do them in front of a mirror to check next time.

I'll definitely be giving deadlifts a go too.
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Old 04-03-2012, 07:48 PM   #9
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about depth in squatting: going to parallel is the safe route - i use a proper height bench and as soon as my butt hits it, up i go. it's really not the time to discover you have knee problems - it was barbell lunges that revealed mine, coulda lived without the six weeks with my knee strapped up.

men can go lower - they have a higher centre of gravity (bec most of their weight is above the waist) than women and, proportionately, their torsos tend to be longer which gives them more impetus to get past the stick point.

you must always challenge your body - dont' waste your time doing 12 - 15 - 20 reps of squats. 8-10 is the most such a large muscle group needs.

and, as was commented, if you have a pancake butt build (like my mother, my sister, and my bff), then that's what you've got. but there's no reason you can't at least make it the tightest pancake at the waffle house!
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:09 PM   #10
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So it is ok to go arse to heels? I keep having people at the gym tell me not to, but it feels fine and I want to get the most range of motion out of the exercise as possible, so I keep drifting back there. I do 3 sets of 8 with a 60lb barbell on my shoulders.

I'm scared of form on the deadlift. Does anyone have any pointers for this? It still feels awkward to me, and I'm afraid I'm going to break something, so I've been avoiding. What is a good weight to start with? I can't unrack anything heavier than 90 because some idiot mounted them too high up on the wall. Who puts a 120 lb barbell 5' off the floor?

Looking forward to tips for more leg exercises. I am awesome at working out my upper body but I get intimidated with the leg stuff.
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Last edited by ValRock : 04-03-2012 at 08:11 PM.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:04 PM   #11
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for me, no - it's definitely not okay to go arse to heels. if i get down that far, i can feel ripping behind my kneecaps - i have loose ligaments and chondromalacia patellar. going so low doesn't do a lot of benefit because once you get below parallel, your quads and butt aren't in the game any more. you have to kind of shift forward and heave back to get going back up. wasted energy that could be spent firing large muscle groups.

as for the deadlift, it's a tricky move - took me YEARS to figure it out.

here's the deal: first off, don't use the preset barbells - use the olympic bar with plates. if you're used to 90, start with 115 (the bar = 45, plus 35s on each end).

you have to start with the bar crossing about mid-shin, not down on the floor. use boxes or a set of dumbbells to raise it to the proper height.

feet shoulder-width apart, i like mine a bit farther because it reduces the drop height.

you can do double-overhand grip (palms facing you), double-underhand, or - what i prefer, one each way.

you can do feet shoulder-width apart with your hands on the outside but i prefer wide stance with hands between.

squat to pick up the bar but REALLY squat - i mean get your butt out in back, arch your lower back, pull your shoulders back but don't hunch them up around your ears. what i mean is, you're not bending forward like you're tying your shoes. when you're at the bottom of the squat, lean back a bit so you're hanging on by your grip.

when you come up, it's a strange feeling - don't think "pull up the bar". think "push the earth away" - i mean you are trying to hold the barbell in place and push the entire freakin' planet down and away from it.

you're not going straight up, either - you're pulling back and up at a slight angle. if the bar scrapes your shins, you're doing it right.

Last edited by threenorns : 04-03-2012 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:55 PM   #12
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My butt always looked best when I was commuting by bicycle. You might try riding.
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by threenorns View Post
for me, no - it's definitely not okay to go arse to heels. if i get down that far, i can feel ripping behind my kneecaps - i have loose ligaments and chondromalacia patellar. going so low doesn't do a lot of benefit because once you get below parallel, your quads and butt aren't in the game any more. you have to kind of shift forward and heave back to get going back up. wasted energy that could be spent firing large muscle groups.

as for the deadlift, it's a tricky move - took me YEARS to figure it out.

here's the deal: first off, don't use the preset barbells - use the olympic bar with plates. if you're used to 90, start with 115 (the bar = 45, plus 35s on each end).

you have to start with the bar crossing about mid-shin, not down on the floor. use boxes or a set of dumbbells to raise it to the proper height.

feet shoulder-width apart, i like mine a bit farther because it reduces the drop height.

you can do double-overhand grip (palms facing you), double-underhand, or - what i prefer, one each way.

you can do feet shoulder-width apart with your hands on the outside but i prefer wide stance with hands between.

squat to pick up the bar but REALLY squat - i mean get your butt out in back, arch your lower back, pull your shoulders back but don't hunch them up around your ears. what i mean is, you're not bending forward like you're tying your shoes. when you're at the bottom of the squat, lean back a bit so you're hanging on by your grip.

when you come up, it's a strange feeling - don't think "pull up the bar". think "push the earth away" - i mean you are trying to hold the barbell in place and push the entire freakin' planet down and away from it.

you're not going straight up, either - you're pulling back and up at a slight angle. if the bar scrapes your shins, you're doing it right.
Thank you, this is so helpful!! this is exactly why I've backed off deadlift... I actually scraped my shins up pretty badly and thought "uhhh I'm doin' it wrong" I guess I wasn't! Thanks! I'll ease up on the squats and try the deadlift again. I'll see if I can wrestle the olympic bar from the one guy who is always there doing 80 sets of nothing but benchpress the whole time I'm there
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:06 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ValRock View Post
Thank you, this is so helpful!! this is exactly why I've backed off deadlift... I actually scraped my shins up pretty badly and thought "uhhh I'm doin' it wrong" I guess I wasn't! Thanks! I'll ease up on the squats and try the deadlift again. I'll see if I can wrestle the olympic bar from the one guy who is always there doing 80 sets of nothing but benchpress the whole time I'm there
Oh yeah, if your shins are battered and bruised, you're probably doing them right.

Here's a video that should help you make sure you get into the right spot. In general, anything from Rippetoe will be really helpful for your form. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Syt7A23YnpA

I love deadlifts so much!

Oh, and re: ATG squats. Do them.
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Last edited by Blueberries : 04-04-2012 at 09:07 AM.
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:46 AM   #15
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I always find it helpful to really focus on my butt (and my heels) on deadlifts. If I focus my attention on my glutes, then I am less likely to slip, lose focus, and screw up my back. (I have tweaked my back doing deadlifts before: concentration is crucial!)
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