A Strong Butt is a Beautiful Butt: One Woman’s Journey to Gluteus Magnificus

Today’s guest blog is by Marianne Kane; an Irish fitness blogger and all around good person.

A Strong Butt is a Beautiful Butt: One Woman’s Journey to Gluteus Magnificus
By Marianne Kane

When I began my fitness journey my only real goal was to be lean and have a six-pack. Sound familiar? Well as time has passed this goal seems irrelevant and shallow. Now, what I want is to build a body that will stand the test of time and do me proud by focusing on what I can do and how well I can do it, IN ADDITION to reaping aesthetic benefits as a bonus.

This was a key realization for me because in getting good at exercises from the basic level to advanced and getting stronger in the process, your body shape changes to reflect your training. It’s like the saying “you are what you eat”, the same principle can be applied to the type of training you do. My body is the sum of my hard work but, without a thirst for knowledge and understanding of the how’s and why’s about training with purpose, I would not be talking to you today about my most valued achievement – my Booty!

My “Glute Journey” began when I realized that despite having a naturally decent shape, my glute muscles were weak and seriously imbalanced. Unknown to me at the time, this was affecting every aspect of my training.

In 2007 I began weight training in an attempt to strengthen my body and fight the symptoms of my Ankylosing Spondylitis (an inflammatory Arthritis), which mainly affected the SI Joint causing many painful muscle spasms and knots (mostly in the glutes). Exercising was difficult, but I was determined not to let it beat me.

Over time what I discovered was that although I was lifting more weight in my squats, deadlifts and lunges, my form never really improved and I often had pain in my back or my knees. I was oblivious to the importance of the glutes in moving correctly until I met the kettlebell (and trained to be a KB Instructor). This training opened my world to the ideas of “glute activation”, “corrective techniques” and the “hip hinge”.  After over a year of training with KBs, I noticed a huge difference in my overall stability, mobility, flexibility and strength. Not only was I moving better, I was pain-free in doing it. From this point on my glutes started to shape up, by wakening up.

About 8 months ago I was introduced to Bret’s blog and after reading his great articles, watching his videos and laughing at his random thoughts, I realized just how important the glutes are in everything we do. I decided it was high time I gave my butt some real attention.

Watching the amazing women that Bret trained and the strength that they gained, I was hooked on strength training again. Being totally blown away by what these other ladies could do, I wanted to get in on the action and pass on the best knowledge and advice to my own blog readers. By focusing on proper form, full range of movement, and regressions and progressions in every exercise, the quality of my workouts improved, as did the results!

Following my interview with Bret just a few months ago I took his advice and began including the Hip Thrust into both my blog workouts (www.myomytv.com) and my own training. After just a few weeks, I started getting comments from people saying that my butt had got rounder, firmer and looked so much better! My Beloved Behind always had a good shape as I said, but people were really starting to see a difference. Not only that, but my squats, deadlifts, kettlebell swing and many other exercises all started to improve, both in form and in strength!

The glute bridge and hip thrust exercises are the reason my glutes are as strong and aesthetically pleasing as they are today. People who know me will also know I am not one who believes that changing a physical attribute will make you happy, as I discovered with my “get lean and get a six-pack” goal back in the day. What I have come to appreciate is that happiness does come from seeing results and knowing that your hard work is paying off. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your training result in shaping your body to reflect progress and strength. Not only that, but as a female, my new curves make me feel so feminine and sexy. What woman doesn’t want curves that could kill? And what man could resist them …[Bret’s note: Guilty as charged; I’m all about the curves]

Basically, these bridging variations have taken my butt to a whole new level; a level I couldn’t reach with squats, deadlifts, lunges, or kettlebell exercises. They’re a vital ingredient to the glute-sculpting puzzle, and I believe that all women (and men for that matter) seeking sexier glutes and improved athleticism should be doing them on a regular basis. See this booty below doing some heavy glute bridges.

So ladies, if you want your booty to look better, focus on making it work better first through simple low-load exercises and then start moving up the progressions and performing more advanced variations. If you do this, everything will fall into place.

After all … A Strong Butt is a Beautiful Butt!

Cheers
Marianne

30 Comments

  • Rachel Guy says:

    Marianne is super hot with an awesome booty!!! Go girl, keep up the hard work!! 🙂

  • Alexandra says:

    Marianne is one strong woman with muscles and curves in all the right places. Gorgeous glutes!

  • jonathan says:

    This post is both accurate & hot! Well done 🙂

  • Marianne you are a true inspiration and you have helped me raise the bar on my own training. Love the article.

  • Slavka says:

    Love the article! Very inspirational!

  • Franco says:

    Hard work does pay off…

  • Teri says:

    Great guest blog and video! Your shape is amazing. At the gym I attend, it is already strange to be a woman doing squats and deadlifts with a barbell, which is part of the reason I haven’t ventured into hip thrust and glute bridge territory yet. Any tips for getting up the nerve to do something completely different?

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Teri,

      I used to be so intimidated going and doing something new in the gym, so I stuck to the same old routine and it really did nothing for me.

      My advice is simple – just think to yourself, you are going to start a new trend and have people wonder what you’re up to. The mystery will kill them 🙂 hehe! Have confidence in your new found knowledge!

      Just watch all the meat-heads doing the same old stuff and know that you are setting yourself a new challenge. Besides, if it’s anything like the gym I go to, they will all be too busy checkin themselves out in the mirrors to mind what you are doing 😉

      The great thing about the glute bridge is there’s very little set-up involved, so it’s ideal to start with.

      I still get the odd funny look, but probably because not many people tend to lay on the floor in a weights room LOL

      Cheers
      Marianne

  • Bianca says:

    Hi Bret (and hi Marianne, guest blogger),

    this is really a very inspiring story, which I knew already but I am glad that Marianne has shared it here as well (by the way, Bret, I agree with you: she actually IS a very nice person, apart from being a huge fitness enthusiast). Well, I sure have noticed a great improvement in Marianne’s booty since she started regularly incorporating hip thrusts and glute bridges in her training. And I personally have to thank you Bret and also Marianne very much because, at last, my personal trainer (the one you had called “the jackass trainer”) has finally agreed to letting me do barbell glute bridges in my workouts. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to lift 120 kg as Marianne does, but I am going to give it a serious try, starting with much lower weights at the beginning.
    Thanks Bret and thanks Marianne (by the way Bret, I think I have already told you a million times, but your blog is amazing).

    Bianca

  • Marianne says:

    Thank you everyone for your feedback and compliments 🙂

    Thank you Bret for asking me to tell my story.

    Cheers!

  • allie says:

    great article! love a nice bootie, great to be strong and FEEL them glutes working!

  • Bret says:

    Glad you all liked the guest blog. Marianne has worked hard for her booty and it shows. I enjoy profiling these success stories as it shows women that it can be done. When you have poor genetics, getting a great booty is very difficult. The only hope is heavy strength training and you have to be performing the best exercises and the right routine. More important, you have to be getting stronger and doing more over time. This is what causes muscular adaptations. Thank you Marianne for your contribution. -BC

  • Melek says:

    Good work Marianne!!!! Two question! What do you mean when you say “regular basis” and what is your most favroutine glute activation tecnique? Thank you very much in advance

    All the best

  • Blake Denny says:

    Good work Marianne! Keep it up!

  • Mickela says:

    Go Marianne you are a great inspiration.

  • Shanna says:

    Awesome article!! I found Marianne’s blog about a year ago when I started getting into kettlebells and I do her workouts twice a week, lift in the gym 4x a week. And I also discovered Bret’s blog around that time too. Working on getting a better booty after having my last baby. Marianne inspired me to start doing the weighted glute bridges in the gym. Yeah people look at you strange when you’re laying on the floor but its such a great exercise. Marianne – how often are you doing the hip extensions and glute bridges? I am trying to figure out when and where to add them in to my current program. I think nice booty’s are the new “abs” I see more on booty training these days than ab training.

    • Teri says:

      “booty’s are the new “abs” needs to be on a T-shirt! Marianne’s videos on getting started with glute bridges and hip thrusts cleared up a lot for me. Thanks to you and Bret!!

    • Marianne says:

      Hey Shanna, thank you! I’m also pleased to hear that you have not been too intimidated or shy to do this exercise in the gym 😀 The more people see it, the more questions will be asked … that is a good thing for everyone to gain more knowledge and understanding of how to progress training techniques.

      As the research leaders discover more, trainers need to keep up to date and then streamline the information. Shanna, you are helping to streamline! 🙂

      I do the weighted glute bridges every time I am in the gym. ( about 2 times a week ), then I try to add single-leg hip thrusts in to my home workouts (1 or 2 times per week), so I am doing them a lot. But I do other things too of course ;-).

      Loving the “booty’s are the new abs” CATCHY!

  • Nigel says:

    super article Marianne. I’d be really interested to know what way did you progress the exercises to eventually get to the glute bridge, I’ve been using this progression.. BW Glute Bridge,SL Glute Bridge, BB Glute bridge.

    • Marianne says:

      Hey Nigel. This was a question I tackled on a recent article. I did a video tutorial and written summary of the recommended progression sequence as per Dr Contreras. Just follow the link:

      http://www.myomytv.com/the-glute-journey-glute-bridge-to-hip-thrust/

      The SL Glute bridge is actually considered more advanced than the BB Glute bridge simply because of the added challenge to rotary stability. So it is recommended that you build a foundation of lower back and hip stability with double leg variations from glute bridge to hip thrust before adding SL variations.

      It is also more beneficial to master all body weight variations of the Glute Bridge to the Hip Thrust before then adding weight to the Glute bridge. By doing this, you are gradually building up strength through an increasing range of movement.

      Hope this makes sense, the article will help too 🙂

      Cheers
      Marianne

  • Marianne says:

    Hey Melek. Thanks!

    To me “regular basis” means every day I train I do glute bridges or hip thrusts. I usually train 3/4 times per week. But I know that you can do them more often, provided you recover properly etc.

    As for glute activation, there are many to choose from, but I recently posted a tutorial that covers this on my site. If you scroll to the second video on the link below, you will see the drill I use:

    http://www.myomytv.com/the-glute-journey-glute-bridge-to-hip-thrust/

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers
    Marianne

  • Melek says:

    You are a star! Thank you

  • bethany says:

    Marianne,

    This is also my main problem of my lower back pain and knee pain due to lack of development of my glutes although i squat,romanian deadlift and do some hyperextension. I now realized that heavy glute bridge will be my new training arsenal for healthy back and nice glutes.

    Mr. Bethany
    of Abu dhabi UAE

    • Marianne says:

      Bethany thanks 🙂 The only thing I would say is don’t forget about regression, especially when this is a new exercise. So don’t go heavy at first, or you will only make imbalances worse :-/

      However this exercise, in even the most basic variation will likely help your back pain also 🙂

      All the best,
      Marianne

  • gryer says:

    A great article Marianne — you should see me trying to balance a kettlebell on top of a couple of small plates to do my bridges! I’ve yet to see results, but I am sure they’ll come… and I would only be doing them because of this and your website! ANyone who hasn’t checked Marianne’s site should hop on over to myomytv.com and see what you can do with kettlebells and bodyweight!

    BTW, I thought a lot more than just booty looked hot!

    ~ Gillian

  • Gwen says:

    Great guest post….and thanks for sharing your story! I train in a globogym so it’s always funny to watch the heads turn as I set up the bar to do glute bridges, hip thrusters, etc. More focused glute training has been the best thing I’ve ever done and the benefits speak for themselves 🙂

  • seejanesweat says:

    She looks awesome. I’ve been following her workouts for some time now and she has transformed right in front of my eyes. I’m a 43 year old mother od three and I hope to one day take a booty shot like hers.

  • lisa says:

    Good post….its really helpful to know you can manage to be fit and healthy with ankylosing because it effects my hip joints particuarly (though im lucky I have no fusion in the back like my father!) and I sometime wonder if im doing myself good in pushing myself to keep the area supple….

    But what I especially like is that your body is healthy and not JUST low body fat…a lot of women with so called good bodies who people look up to have a dangerously low body fat and one that cannot be healthy long term.

    I hope to improve on my body but in a more healthy way…up to now I had been a little too obsessed with losing body fat and looking at a woman with extremely low body fat as what I aimed for and I think perhaps that is unrealistic for my body which has created 5 children…..

  • That was some interesting stuff there. Thanks for posting it.

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