One of the most popular problems associated with squats is their ability to produce overdeveloped glutes in a hurry. While for some of you this may be wonderful news, there are a lot of people who don’t like having a bubble butt and consider it a negative side effect of squatting. Below is a guideline that will minimize this phenomenon.
1. Never do low bar squats
The squat and the deadlift are dependent on the hips. Therefore, the glutes have no choice but to work hard and grow. The wider your hips are, the easier it is to squat heavy weights. That’s why the powerlifter Ed Coan once said that big hips are a must to do well in the sport.
At the same time, powerlifters place the bar lower on the back. This version of the exercise is called a low bar squat and allows you to lift move weight, which is the main theme in powerlifting.
The lower position of the bar forces the lifter to lean forward more. This motion transforms the movement into a hybrid between a back squat and a barbell good morning. At the end of the day, the low bar is not really a pure squat.
Since the low bar squat shifts so much of the stress to the posterior chain (glutes, hamstring, lower back), the lifter develops a very big set of glutes.
Therefore, one of the ways to minimize the growth of your glutes from squats is to skip the low bar squat.
2. Never Do Ego High-bar Squats
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 suffer from the same “problem”. Go to any weightlifting competition, and you will see that all lifters have developed glutes.
The good news is that the high bar squat will give you a more balanced lower body since it hits the quadriceps heavily too.
A cool way to make the high bar squat, even more, leg dominant is to squat with weightlifting shoes that have a built-in wooden heel allowing the knees to travel forward a little more during the exercise. This will keep you more upright and hit your quads pretty hard.
Don’t turn the movement into a good morning. It’s not supposed to be. Lower the weight if you have to.
3. Front Squats May Be The Answer
Front squats stress the posterior chain even less than high bar squats. However, when done correctly, this exercise will murder your glutes too. In fact, the primary movers are the quadriceps and the glutes. Consequently, you can still get a sexy butt even from front squats.
4. Don’t Confuse Fat With Muscle
A lot of people claim that they have overdeveloped 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 their leaner version. You need to cut some fat in order to evaluate your rear cushioning properly.
If you want smaller glutes, stay lean and avoid dirty bulking.
5. Build Your Quads and Hamstrings
When your quadriceps and hamstrings are small, your glutes look even bigger. If you want more balanced development, you can add a little more quad and hamstring work to your training regimen.
The main points to remember
1. Low bar squats suck for aesthetics unless you want to focus specifically on your glutes.
2. High bar squats have to be done with a very upright posture so that the quads perform as much work as possible.
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 may cause problems when incorporated in a high volume routine.