Flabby butt!
October 2, 2010 8:18 PM   Subscribe

I'm a male in my 30's. I'm in pretty good shape..but I don't work out that much..for reference, I'm 6'0, 175lbs...thin upper body, but I have thicker, but normal looking thighs. My problem is that five years ago I weighed 200lbs and I've been steadily losing it over the years. Now I'm at a comfortable weight, but my ass, which used to be a better feature of mine, is f-ing flabby and flat!! It's like it happened in just the last year. Looks like I lost weight on the rear end..wish I hadn't..but the ass that I do have, is just flabby and so ugly. How the heck do I get a masculine ass back? I don't care for lunges. If I run more frequently, will that help? I want to make my butt more solid..and get rid of the jiggle flab. Sorry if this post is gross.
posted by Yunani to Health & Fitness (25 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Squat. Squaaaaaaat. Squatsquatsquat.
posted by maudlin at 8:21 PM on October 2, 2010 [5 favorites]

More detail:

1) Squats can build mass, but you have to train effectively, eat enough, and get enough sleep.
2) Running and other cardio *may* put on a little mass on *some* people, who can barely break a sweat without getting more muscular, but lots of cardio usually works against muscle gain for most people.

Starting Strength is the weight training resource most often recommended here (try the Wiki), but Stumptuous is full of good advice, too, and it's not just for women.
posted by maudlin at 8:29 PM on October 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Two words: Convict Conditioning. The all-but-lost art of bodyweight exercise from a world where real-world strength is a do-or-die-or-be-someone's-bitch proposition.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:41 PM on October 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Nthing squats but seek professional advice and supervised practice to get started. Squats are, in my experience, the fastest and surest way to being in a lot of pain if they are not done right from the very beginning.
posted by parmanparman at 8:46 PM on October 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

parmanparman: "Squats are, in my experience, the fastest and surest way to being in a lot of pain if they are not done right from the very beginning."

And squats are (for me) the fastest and surest way of being in a lot of pain even if done right -- whoa!

Those are big muscles, and Legs Day in my workout was always so tiresome, I was always exhausted after the workout, and then real pain the following two days, sortof crippling muscle soreness; strength training is really painful for me in all areas but Legs Day, and the two days following, that was the worst of it. Man. Doesn't hit everyone like it did me but if it does hit you you'll find that it's, um, interesting.
posted by dancestoblue at 9:07 PM on October 2, 2010

Do you live where there are hills? Walk up those hills, ideally carrying groceries. Way more bearable than exercises-for-their-own-sake, at least for me.
posted by runehog at 9:26 PM on October 2, 2010

ride a bike, or join a spin class.
posted by TDIpod at 9:42 PM on October 2, 2010

This same thing happened to me.


and eat meat/protein.
posted by chicago2penn at 9:51 PM on October 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Start doing CrossFit and in a few months you'll do more squats than in your whole life combined, and you won't mind.
posted by mcschmidt00 at 10:21 PM on October 2, 2010

i agree with mcschmidt00: crossfit.com. and running is always good, imho
posted by defmute at 10:31 PM on October 2, 2010

Seconding ride a bike. Make sure your saddle is adjusted to a height where your legs are almost (but not quite) straight when each pedal is at the bottom of its stroke, and your foot is flat on the pedal. This works your whole leg, including your butt. Your local bike shop will probably be happy to help you set this up for free.
posted by Ahab at 11:00 PM on October 2, 2010

A similar program to Starting Strength is Stronglifts 5x5. I have been doing it for three weeks and already am seeing some pretty dramatic results. Just be sure to do the accessory exercises too, they really round out the program.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 11:29 PM on October 2, 2010

Let me amend the earlier suggestions here: squat heavy. Running/biking/spinning will most likely subtract muscle mass if it changes you at all -- good weight loss tool, but it sounds like you've already got that covered. Crossfit and doing 300 squats for time is a great way to injure yourself, but not so great a way to build mass. I second the Starting Strength recommendation upthread. If you go that route, buy the book, it has dozens of pages devoted to proper execution of each of the five lifts it uses, some material on programming, and all written by two experts on the topic (vs. the wiki, which can be written by basically anyone).
posted by indubitable at 7:00 AM on October 3, 2010

You can always climb stairs, real or mechanized. That should do it.
posted by callmejay at 8:03 AM on October 3, 2010

Telemark ski.
posted by TheBones at 9:37 AM on October 3, 2010

What type of workout are you doing now? What type of workout would you prefer? Are you even interested in doing weight training?
posted by P.o.B. at 12:22 PM on October 3, 2010

Best answer: One of the major functions of the gluteals (a.k.a. your ass muscles) is hip extension, i.e. opening up the hip angle. Hip extension is one of the primary components of the squat and the deadlift, which two movements make up the backbone of most strength programs. The squat and the deadlift are considered fundamental for many reasons: they require the contribution of a large amount of muscle mass -- just about the whole body, in fact -- and allow heavy weights to be moved over a large range of motion in a way that carries over very effectively to a wide variety of athletic endeavors. I'm sure you can find many different glute exercises on the internet, but doing any of them before building up your squat and deadlift strength is an inefficient use of your training time.

Similarly, muscle mass is built primarily through lifting heavy weights, where heavy means something you can only manage to do a few reps with. For beginners, training with sets of 5 is the most efficient way to increase both strength and size. Doing endurance or aerobic exercise, i.e. biking, running, doing most types of CrossFit workouts, etc., may slightly increase your muscle mass initially because you're so unadapted to training, but the gains will drop off quickly if you're not following a program specifically designed to increase your strength and size.

As others have said, proper diet is required for building muscle. Sufficient protein is key -- you should probably be getting at least 200g of protein a day if you want to put on muscle.

To sum up: consistent, heavy squats and deadlifts combined with a high-protein diet are going to be the most efficient way to build yourself a muscular ass. A bodyweight squat and a 1.5x bodyweight deadlift are good short-term goals, with a 1.5x bodyweight squat and a 2x bodyweight deadlift as a medium-term goal. That said, you're most likely weak and undermuscled everywhere, not just in your ass, and would do well to start a full-body beginner strength program, like Starting Strength. The web site has a bunch of free articles as well as links to buy the book, which will teach you how to perform the lifts properly as well as explore the basics of beginner strength programming.
posted by JohnMarston at 12:52 PM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

It seems like everyone's got similar advice:

Do an exercise that works your ass muscle. Lift heavy (but don't go crazy and hurt yourself). Add a little more meat/eggs/milk/protein to your diet. You'll get stronger, look good, feel good.

That's simple, isn't it? I've been learning about weightlifting and exercise for the past couple of years, and I still can't decide whether it's simple or complicated.
posted by boghead at 3:57 PM on October 3, 2010

Axiom: Bicyclists have nice asses.
posted by lover at 4:23 PM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Thank you lover, we sure do! I got to thinking along the same lines last night (ie, what sports people have the most genuinely top arses?) and realized that speed skaters are somewhat legendary for it.

Is it possible to take up speed skating?
posted by Ahab at 4:38 PM on October 3, 2010

Asker, I ask my question because it seems like you maybe don't care to take up a weightliffting program. Which is fine. No one should tell you that you need to lift weights. You can be quite muscular without weight training. The most inefficient thing you could do would be to start in a total different exercise program you have no interest in doing just to get a "muscular ass".
If you do start weight lifting, you don't need to "lift heavy" either. You can peruse ExRx which gives a much broader aspect to weightlifting than just 5x5s.

Muscle works through flexion. To fully work the muscle it needs to go through it's full range. That's setting aside neuromuscular requirements. Walking typically works about 15 degrees of flexion. Jogging is somewhere in the range of 30 to 45. Sprinting much more and so on. That's why you get people talking about Squatting as it works the leg muscles through their full range. You can obviously do this in other ways such as more dynamic sports or activites like most field and court sports: Football, Field Hockey, Basketball, or other sports like sprinting, biking, skating, etc.. You get the idea.
You can definitely achieve a "great ass" by A) increasing the range of motion and B) increasing it's neuromuscular demand. In other words - run faster. B usually follows A unless you're just not trying. And no you won't lose muscle by biking or running if the proper demands are in place.

If I had to guess though you're not really looking to build a huge muscular ass as much as just lose the flab. Which would mean all you need to do is tighten up your diet. changing the macro-nutrient profile of your food intake would probably do it for you. More protein, less carbs.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:14 PM on October 3, 2010

Muscle works through flexion.

Just for clarity's sake, I'd guess P.o.B. means contraction here. Flexion is just one type of motion in which a joint angle decreases; the glutes are responsible for hip extension, which is the opposite of flexion.
posted by JohnMarston at 6:48 PM on October 3, 2010

MBT* shoes. I wear them all day long, every day, but I have a desk job and do very little walking during the work week. But I still noticed a definite difference after a few weeks.

*I would go for the real thing, not the knockoffs from other companies. You can find them on sale online, through the sites recommended on the official MBT site, for the same price as the knockoffs.
posted by MexicanYenta at 8:04 AM on October 4, 2010

Anecdata: The posterior qualities of both me and my husband dramatically improved when we started biking and running a lot more. (You sound like you're built essentially like my husband, only taller.) With either of these sports, going uphill especially works the glutes.
posted by kataclysm at 11:14 AM on October 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yeah, somehow I knew I mistyped something. Muscles, which the glutes are, work by shortening which is contraction. Joints, which is what the hips are, both extend and flex. To clarify even further some muscles are involved in both extension and flexion of different joints.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:08 PM on October 4, 2010

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