No, you aren’t imagining it, #SquatGoals is definitely a full-blown thing. If you’re already familiar with these booty-transformation photos taking over your feed, you’ve probably wondered (as we did) how these women sculpted their glorious glutes. Aren’t we all just stuck with the butt we got? No way, as proven by these ladies who gave themselves a booty lift the non-cosmetic way.
Isabella Mabey was a sporadic exerciser—going through random waves of bingeing on cardio, always ending up bored with the lack of results. She finally was able to stick to a workout routine once she started lifting weights.
“Compound lifts are really important,” she says. “I do heavy-weighted squats and deadlifts, which I then complement with lighter-weighted accessory movements such as glute bridges, lunges, goblet squats, and kettlebell swings.” It’s the lighter-weighted accessory movements that really isolate and target her glutes, says Isabella.
She spends two lifting days working on legs and booty and another day on just accessory work. “On leg day, I’ll do two main lifts in five sets, each with five reps,” she says. “For accessory lifts, I usually do three to four sets of 10 to 15 reps, gradually adding weight with each set.”
While bodyweight squats are a great place to start, Isabella stresses that adding increasing weight to her moves was essential to her progress. Her body would just become used to a certain amount of weight and stop changing, she says. That’s why it’s important to her to keep pushing forward in order to see more results. “Lifting isn’t something to be scared of and can really improve your physique, especially your glutes.”‘
These dance-inspired squat variations will make you shake your booty:
“My go-to exercises for glutes are definitely squats and hip thrusts,” says Jane Campbell. “You can do so much with squats like changing up weights, shortening rest time in between sets, pulse squats, and pause squats. All of them are amazing for glutes. Hip thrusts are also my go-to. You can either use a barbell with weights or a dumbbell to mix it up.”
Weights aren’t the only trick to getting bootylicious results though. “Resistance bands completely changed my workout and I wear them a lot when squatting and doing isolation glute work,” says Jane. “They put a lot more focus on glutes during an exercise to help it grow.”
The game changer for Lucia López came when she stopped being afraid to pick up weights during her leg and glutes exercises. Her go-to moves include deadlifts, lunges, leg presses, and of course, squats. Another secret to her success was eating like there was no tomorrow (within reason, of course) to keep her body fueled, she says. With these combined methods, Lucia says she started seeing results in just two months.
Sarah Yudkin says it was the leg workouts from Kayla Itsines’ BBG program that helped her get a little lift. “Jump squats, weighted walking lunges, deadlifts, bench jumps—you name it, I was able to see results,” she says. “These photos are about 14 months apart, 12 of which I’ve been doing BBG. Since then I have shifted towards weight liftingand use the squat rack two to three times a week!” (The Slim, Sexy, Strong Workout DVD is the fast, flexible workout you’ve been waiting for!)
When she decided to start focusing on her glutes, Teagan Williams-Chen changed her entire workout routine in order to dedicate sessions to just her bum, which she credits for a lot of her progress. “My absolute go-to exercise for glutes is hip thrusts,” says Teagan. “It’s one of the only moves that solely targets your glutes and because it’s such a heavy-weighted exercise, you’re really able to build to muscle. I saw so much progress within a few weeks of starting hip thrusts. I try to go as heavy as I can to make sure I’m pushing myself! Other exercises that are part of my glute day are barbell squats, which I also try to go as heavy as I can, dumbbell lunges and cable kickbacks.”
She also revved up her food intake. Though she doesn’t count calories, she says she eats around five meals a day, lots of carbs, and protein-based foods like chicken, rice, oats, broccoli, eggs, and legumes.