A New and Better Butt? Why Not a STRONGER Butt?
Today’s post comes courtesy of my internet buddy, Emily Giza Socolinsky. Some of you might recognize her since I’ve linked to several of her articles in the past. She sent this one my way last week, and after reading it (and doing a few cartwheels down the street because 1) why not? and 2) this article was the bees knees and deserved it) I asked if she would be cool with me slapping in on my site for your viewing pleasure.
I mean, what’s not to love? She talks about badonkadonks. More specifically she discusses the outright pervasive attitude that much of our mainstream culture has towards women and how they “should” look, as well as its meager attempts at offering training advice.
To be blunt: I trust the mainstream media with giving fitness advice towards women about as much as I trust a barber with a mullet.
To that end, this one is a doozy and sends an absolutely wonderful and positive message. It’s my hope that you’ll read it.
I don’t get women into my gym by promising them a great ass. They acquire their awesome asses as a result of doing goblet squats, split squats, kettlebell swings, step ups, reverse lunges, deadlifts…you get the picture.
I don’t promise them “toned” arms. But they end up with awesome arms from push ups, rows, chin ups, face pulls, presses….you get the picture.
In fact, I don’t promise them anything. They come to me because they want to get stronger. They come to me because they want to move better. They come to me because as one of my clients said to me today, “Because I don’t want to be in pain. Because I want to be able to keep moving this way when I am 90.” And of course, I will not deny the fact that many of them also want to look better too. I am not going to ignore the fact that most women wish they had ______. (You fill in the blank.)
I just want other things to take priority.
Because if you promise a woman a better butt or if you promise weight loss or toned arms and after weeks of exercising, it doesn’t happen as fast as they like, she will be left feeling worse about herself than she did before she started.
I think that these type of promises encourage negative thinking in women. I think that when you focus on body image, you put a woman’s body image before performance, before health, before confidence. These empty promises encourage a woman to feel bad about herself, not better and honestly, she has enough to feel bad about as a woman. Remember, it is hard enough just being a woman (I wrote about that recently here.)
So in my mind, these types of promises should not exist. It is easier and WAY more satisfying to build a woman’s confidence by introducing her to the deadlift (by the way, a great ass exercise), boost her self-esteem by teaching her how to do a proper push up (toned arms anyone?) or a barbell squat (another great ass exercise) than just help her fit into a pair of pants. Women do not need to be reminded of what they don’t have. They need to be reminded of what they DO have and they need to be coached how to use the body they DO have.
Just ask my ladies.
The other night, after watching one of my clients bang out a set of 10 push ups, my husband asked her if she started off at my place with such good push ups. “NO way,” she said. “This is what I am most proud of too. My push ups.” She told me that she has also been getting compliments right and left from friends about how awesome she looks and these friends just cannot wrap their heads around the fact that all she has been doing is squatting, pressing and rowing.
No running? They ask. No cardio, she tells them aside from a few ball slams and rope slams here and there. Of course, she said, she would rather them ask her how much she can squat these days than how she got her body.
This past summer, I wrote an article about my ladies and their feelings about strength training. You can read it here. The women speak about the empowerment they feel as a result of strength training, how much more confidence they have in their daily lives, how they are able to do things they never thought was possible.
They talk about the focus and concentration that goes into training, why they do it, what they get from it. And yet, I still find it difficult to get some women to believe in the power of the iron. I was recently on my Facebook News Feed and I saw a post by a friend of mine (a dancer) who was talking about building a new butt for the new year at Pop Physique. I had heard of this place (it’s a chain) and knew that it was just another type of barre class (They are popping up like mad all over the city. You can read about my feelings in regards to barre classes here.)
Note from TG: I actually linked to Emily’s article above in a recent Stuff to Read While You’re Pretending to Work segment, and the feedback/response that it received was nothing short of awesome. If you’re someone caught in the “dancing/yoga/pilates/pick your poison trap” and think such classes are the key to lean, toned arms, I HIGHLY encourage you to read it.
I checked out the website and the first thing staring at me was some woman’s ass. Ugh. Seriously?
Right there, I knew what this place was all about. With a little more digging, I found a YouTube clip from one of the classes. Take a look.
What bothers me the most (I was face palming so much I turned my forehead red – it was like hearing nails on a blackboard), was the fact that the woman interviewing the instructor in the video is seen at the beginning of the video standing in front of a squat rack with a loaded barbell. Loaded with 45lb plates and a couple of smaller plates.
A squat rack people.
The clip then goes on to show women pulsing with 3lb dumbbells and then humping a ball. WTH? Where did the squat rack go? Why was it there in the first place? To tease us women who believe in the power of the rack? For the love of…..where the hell did the squat rack go??? NOOOOOO!
Okay, okay….I get it. The point of these classes is to build a better butt. How do you do that when you use no resistance?
Do you want to see what a butt looks like from a barre class? Cue picture to your right. Whoa. Now, mind you, during this time, I was also teaching cycling and doing some machine work at the gym. But this is my butt after two years of barre classes. Flat as a pancake. Non-existent. Is it even there, you ask? I just see wrinkles.
Yes, there is something beneath the pants. Not much though. And look at my chicken arms too. Hell, look at my breast. Where is the muscle????? Where is the butt? I thought I looked great…..until I saw this picture and saw my body and realized how pathetically weak I looked.
I had recently lost weight too (due to not eating as a result of my back injury – in too much pain to eat. This was the year I had my relapse.) But all the time I was teaching my barre class. I was squeezing and pulsing, squeezing and pulsing. Where was my ass to show for all that work??
Fast forward one year. ONE year.
Take a look at my ass now after a year of squatting, deadlifting, pressing, benching, doing chin ups, push ups. Uh, big difference, wouldn’t you say? I was still teaching my barre classes (this was the year before I opened my gym), but what had I added into my program that was not there before? You guessed it. Heavy squats, deadlifts, glute bridges.
More specifically, weight. Weight, people. Weight. None of that 3lb bullsh**. Real weight.
And more weight. And more weight. My goal was a stronger butt, not a “better butt. Hell, my goal was to just get stronger. The butt came as a bonus from all the hard work.
And I continue to work on getting stronger each and everytime I train. And consequently, my glutes get stronger too.
So, ladies, if you are looking to build a stronger, more able backside, please for the love of all that is humane in this great world, give up humping the barre while squeezing a ball between your thighs and grab a freaking dumbbell and start doing some goblet squats.
Or teach yourself how to do a kettlebell swing. Holy backside Batman! Or roll a barbell over your hips and thrust away! Your glutes will thank you and will appreciate the work. Because the work you do in your “build a better butt class for the New Year” will only work for some time then it stops working because nothing has changed. No resistance has been added. If you stick with 3lb dumbbells, you will end up looking the same. The body adapts. So, instead of working towards a cute ass, why not do yourself a real favor and work towards a stronger body and consequently, a stronger, maybe cuter ass.
And again almost a year and a half later. Still going strong. No more barre anything. Only barbell.
Emily is a certified Starting Strength Coach, AFAA certified, USA Weightlifting certified Level 1 Sports Performance Coach, and cycle certified through Madd Dogg Athletics. Emily holds a Masters degree in Education and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance from the University of Maryland at Baltimore County. As a fitness coach and mentor, she has helped many clients explore their true potential through hard work and persistence. Emily has also been active as a professional dancer and teacher for over 20 years. During that time, she has focused on strength training and a variety of cross-training methods that helped her grow and develop as a dancer and athlete.
For more information, visit her website HERE.