You're Doing It Wrong: Squats

These are not your mama's booty workouts

By Taylor Stephan Jun 01, 2016 12:57 AMTags

So you want a booty? You better get to squatting.

It's no secret that a backside worth showing off requires a little extra work at the gym.

If you're new to the game or if you've been lifting heavy for years, you probably know that squats are the only exercise for the job. Just ask Jennifer Johnson, an L.A. dancer who teaches booty-busting workouts to super-fit celebs like Jenna Dewan-Tatum and Olivia Munn.

You might not be able to make it to her twerk-before-work class, but trust us: You're going to to want to read this. 

Alignment Is Everything: Before you start getting fancy with the twerk-inspired squats that JJ is famous for, learn how to do a regular squat properly. The biggest mistake the pro sees? A lot of newbies take their knees over their toes, versus over their heels. "When you squat this way, you're actually working your quads, and not your booty at all," shared the dancer.

Form First: JJ absolutely encourages mixing up the type of squats you do as well as the amount of weight you lift. However, solidifying your form should come before adding any weight. "A lot of people do weights before they are ready and then they wind up hurting themselves and building the wrong muscle," she cautioned, so take it slow. 

Skinny Jean for Inner Thighs: Anyone knows that the inner thigh area is a key trouble spot. So, how do you slim that and build the booty at the same time? With JJ's infamous skinny jean squats, of course. Starting in a plea squat, with the weight in the heels, squeeze the inner thighs and pull the entire body upwards as if there is a string lifting you from the top of you head. Slide in and out 20 to 30 times. "Jam out to your favorite music, and you'll knock these out in no time," recommended JJ.

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Mix It Up: Once you nail proper squat form, you have to put weight on in order to put on size. "But once you do add the weights, feel free to rotate between having weights and not having weights," she encouraged. If you keep doing the same stuff over and over, you body gets used to it, and you won't see the rear-end results you want.

Commit to a Schedule: If you want to build muscle in your booty, you're going to have to commit. "In particular for you're a**, you want to work it at least three times a week with 20-30 reps of each exercise," she shared. It's a big commitment, but according to the dancer, you'll see results pretty immediately within a few months, as long as you switch it up, that is. 

Pump It Back for Outer Thighs: For this move you're also staying in a real deep plea squat the whole time. Proper form is the same: Dig your heels in. Then push your knees back and bring them forward and repeat 20-30 times. "When you're pushing back, you are squeezing the outer thigh, and it's adding that extra burn that you don't get from regular squats," she said.

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Make Sure to Rest: Whether you have a booty as flat as a pancake or as ripe as an apple, the goal is the same: to build muscle. But when you're going hard, you want to also give a day of rest in between. "If you start working too many days in a row, you start reversing the effects, and that eats away at your muscle," she elaborated.

Most Importantly, Listen to Your Body: Some days your body will feel extra-strong and you'll want to lift heavy. Other days you'll want to take it easy, and that's OK. "Listen to your body because, really, what are you training for?" joked the pro. There's no rush. If it hurts, take the weights off or try a different move. The fact that you're doing the exercise is more important than going harder, especially if it feels uncomfortable. 

JJ is wearing the Carbon38 Zoom Legging and the Carbon38 Electron Sports Bra.

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