I love to squat. My brain lights up when I hear my group fitness class includes squat-centred lower-body workouts, and I beg my trainer to include more squats into our workout program. Crazy, I know. I've been learning recently, though, that there are a lot of components to the squat that often go overlooked, and if you fail to incorporate them, you won't get the results you want, including (and especially!) a bigger booty.
Although it's not the only way to grow your glutes, the squat is an essential exercise when it comes to strengthening your lower body. However, what many people don't realise is that much of the power comes from your core. If you're not engaging your abs during the exercise, your back will overcompensate and you'll risk injury — this is especially true when you're working with weights. You'll also hinder yourself from actually strengthening your glute muscles and seeing tangible process, which means you're doing all that hard work for virtually nothing.
When I started working with my current trainer, he instilled a new habit in me. Before I set myself up at the squat rack, he had me drop on the floor and do a 30-second ab exercise called the Dead Bug. It sounded ridiculous to me at first. What good is an ab exercise going to do if I'm trying to squat my bodyweight? He knew exactly what he was doing, though. Over the last two months, I've been doing the Dead Bug before kicking off any lower-body workout, and I've since noticed a significant difference in my squat game.
This exercise teaches you how to engage your abs and rely on your core to hold you up, rather than your lower back, and over time that helped me gain more strength in my squat than ever before. It fires up your core, both in the front and the back, and your abs will be more than ready to assist you in your squatting — which means you'll be able to squat more and you'll be closer to achieving booty gains than ever before.
Here's how the Dead Bug is done:
- Lie on your back with a neutral spine and your hips and knees at right angles, with your palms pressed into your thighs, just above your knees.
- Pull your abs to your spine, keeping your ribs and pelvis still as you lengthen your right arm and leg out until they are almost parallel to the floor. Keep your torso and spine completely stable as the arm and leg move. Think about pressing your lower back into the floor to fully engage your abs.
- Return to the starting position and repeat on the left side to complete one rep.
At first, my trainer instructed me to do this exercise two or three times, each for 30 seconds, before I squatted. Sometimes he'll have me do 30 seconds of the Dead Bug in between every set of squats. There have even been times when he has me do this exercise for 60 seconds straight. However you choose to incorporate it into your workout plan, you'll eventually see some positive results in your squats.
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