The squat is one of the most popular exercises done for the lower body. It is also surrounded by a lot of legends, myths, unrealistic expectations, prejudice, fear…etc.
One of the most popular problems associated with performing squats is the that they give you developed glutes a.k.a. BiG ass.
While for some of you this may be good news, there are a lot of people who don’t like having a bubble butt. Most of the bubble-butt-phobes are, of course, males who are not particularly interested in having seductive rear ends. That’s why we have a logical question: How do you avoid getting a bubble butt as a side effect from barbell squats?
Related article: Quadriceps Training For Natural Bodybuilders
1. NEVER DO LOW BAR SQUATS, IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A SMALL BOOTY
What’s the first thing you notice when you see a powerlifter, besides the big belly? There isn’t a single powerlifter who’s ever done well in the sport while having a small droppy butt. Both, squats and deadlifts, are really dependent on the hips and therefore the glutes have no choice but to grow. The wider your hips are, the easier it is to squat heavy weights. That’s why back in the day when Ed Coan was asked what he considers the most important qualities for a powerlifter, he included ‘big hips‘ in his list.
At the same time powerlifters are also known for having a very specific way of doing squats. They place the bar lower on the back on top of the contracted posterior deltoids and right at the middle of the traps. That reduces the lever and allows you lift more weight. The lower position also forces the lifter to lean forward more and as a result the squat becomes a hybrid between a back squat and a barbell good morning. In essence, this is what the low bar squat actually is. It’s not really squat. Since the low bar squat shifts so much stress to the posterior chain (glutes, hamstring, lower back), the lifter develops a very big set of glutes.
So, one of the ways to minimize butt growth from squats is to never do low bar squats.
2. NEVER DO EGO HIGH BAR SQUATS EITHER
Unfortunately, high bar squats a.k.a. real back squats won’t save you from the big butt problem. While the stress on the posterior chain is smaller compared to the low bar squat, it’s still plenty, and all weightlifters who only do high bar squats suffer from the same ‘problem’. Go to any weightlifting competition and you will see that all the lifters that are in the higher weight classes have large rear ends. With that being said, the high bar squat will give you a more balanced lower body since it targets the quadriceps much more than the low bar.
A cool way to make the high bar squat even more leg dominant is to squat with weightlifting shoes. Those are a special kind of footwear with a built-in wooden heel that allows the knees to travel forward a little more during the squat, and as a result the lifter is able to keep more upright position. That way the quads receive even more stimulation.
If you are going to stick with high bar squats, make sure you do them with a very upright position. Don’t turn the movement into a good morning. It’s not supposed to be.
3. FRONT SQUATS COULD BE THE ANSWER
Logically, we arrive at the final main squat variation – front squats. Front squats stress the posterior chain even less than high bar squats. However, when done correctly this exercise will also murder your glutes. In fact, the primary movers are the quadriceps and the glutes while the hamstrings have the least work to do. You can still get a sexy butt from doing front squats, although it won’t happen nearly as fast nor as massively compared to the results produced by the back squat variations. Out of the three main squats this one will give you the least butt troubles.
Unfortunately, if you are thinking about getting on a massive diet consisting of front squats, we advise you to think again. The front squat is not supposed to be done for high reps nor frequently. It places too much stress on the knees and if you were to do a high volume program, you are risking very real knee overuse injury.
4. DON’T CONFUSE FAT WITH MUSCLE
A lot of people claim they have developed glutes when all they have are fat glutes a.k.a. fat asses. When you are 29% BF, you don’t really know how big your glutes are in the leaner version. Once you get to 10% BF you can clearly evaluate where you are as far as your rear cushioning is concerned.
That’s why we don’t recommend to people crazy dirty bulking diets such as GOMAD. It never works and only makes you a fat fart machine that deprives the whole town from having access to milk. In the end of the day, all you have to show for it is one big fat ass.
5. BUILD YOUR QUADS AND HAMSTRINGS
A lot of people have moderately developed butts which only look big because the quads and the hamstrings are lagging behind. Usually, that’s a result from doing low bar squats and having really long legs and short torso. That kind of proportions makes your main leg work extremely hip dominant and results in a big bubble butt and weak legs. To fix that make sure you supplement your leg routine with high bar squats, front squats, Romanian deadlifts and even some leg curls and leg extensions. That will give you a more balanced lower body development and your booty won’t look so much out of place.
In the end of the day here are the main points you need to learn:
1. Low bar squats suck for aesthetics unless your goal is to focus specifically on your glutes.
2. High bar squats need to be done with an upright posture so that the quads get their fair share.
3. The hamstrings require dedicated work such as Romanian deadlifts, leg curls…etc.
4. The front squat is a fine exercise, but it’s a little harder on the knees and cannot be tolerated by all when done in the context of a high volume routine.