The subject of this Article is exactly as it sounds,
I was recently asked by a young lady what exercises I’d recommend for women who are long limbed, naturally skinny and trying to build their lower body.
As working with taller individuals is a specialty of mine, I thought about what my most recommended exercises would be, and this is what I came up with. These are recommended in somewhat of a hierarchal order.
Be advised, I would not do ALL of these in the same workout. I’d program them into a 2 workout rotation like this.
Deficit Split Squat, Glute Bridge, Glute Medius Raise
45 degree Hyperextension, Walking Lunges, glute medius raise
To make the leg workout complete, I’d add in a more quadriceps dominant movement, probably some kind of bilateral squat or leg press, and then I’d have a very effective 4 exercise workout for leg development, emphasis on the glutes.
That said, lets get to the exercises
Why this exercise? Women with very long legs often struggle to develop mind muscle connect (a common problem for long limbed lifters in general). Because the muscle bellies are longer and because more of of the stress of the exercise is felt in the joints, it can be difficult to achieve an ideal setup with constant tension on the target muscle. For split squats, if you have very long femurs (and a shorter lower leg), you’re more likely to be tapping the floor when you lunge and your ROM may be somewhat inhibited.
Enter the DEFICT split squat.
I favor this exercise because you can load the front leg hard, and by using DBs, and even a weight vest, you can get heaver loading on the working leg than you’d be able to achieve during a regular squat (with much better muscle mechanics at the same time). Taller women sometimes CANT back squat because of how long their legs are in comparison to torso, the back squat turns into a good morning.
By using a split squat with a roughly 60/40 front to back weight distribution, and by using added weight with DBs, you can progress a woman to using half her bodyweight or more on this exercise. For a 120lb women holding 30lb DBs in each hand, thats 130lbs of loading on the front leg.
To achieve the same loading in a squat, you’d need 260lbs on the bar, and she’d never be able to get into the same ROM as with the split squat.
This phenomenon where you can load One leg heavier than comparatively could load two legs is called the bilateral deficit. I should probably cover it in more detail, but you can read about it here if this interests you.
For glute development, a good long term goal would be 1/2 bodyweight for 10 reps, and beyond that, 100% of bodyweight for 5 reps (that is 1/2 your bodyweight per hand. Straps to keep hold of the weights would be recommended)
Why this exercise? It builds tremendous innervation (mind muscle connection) to the glutes, and it also trains a person how to contract their glutes that does not know how.
Its also a great postural exercise in that it works glutes, hamstrings, can train the spinal erectors, and can be modified to work the postural muscles of the upper back as well.
While this is typically thought of as a higher rep exercise, it can be done with weight, and even for low reps (not something I recommend often though). For glute development, working up to doing sets of 10 with 1/2 bodyweight is a good goal.
A glute bridge trains ONLY the glutes, unlike its more popular cousin the hip thrust, which uses more muscles (quads, hamstrings, adductors).
Glute Bridges are VERY popular. The only reason I dont have them as number one for taller women is that they can be very awkward to setup and get into the proper position for. I also find they tend not to work as well for women that have shorter torsos.
That said, if you can set up this exercise and perform it regularly, it absolutely will grow your glutes. Glute bridges are to the glutes what the flat DB chest press is for the pectorals; done properly, you WILL achieve major growth and strength gains beyond almost any other exercise.
For Glute Developlment, bodyweight by 10 reps is a good goal, with an eventual goal of 1.5 bodyweight by 10.
4. Walking Lunges with Glute Emphasis
Lunges get overlooked for glutes, and I dont know why. If you are strong at lunging, you are guaranteed to respectable leg development, as there is no way to cheat lunges; they require full muscular ROM in the hamstrings and glutes, and if you struggle to do them, you very obviously lack muscle.
Performing lunges with a glute emphasis is easy; lean forward, with the torso at about a 45 degree angle. Dont try to reach a 90/90 position with an upright torso, that forward lean and emphasis on the front leg is what makes the exercise posterior chain dominant.
In regards to weight, Im not very favorable to heavy lunges (form gets compromised quickly). 12 lunges per leg, with 1/4 bodyweight is a good goal for glute development.
This is an isolation exercise. Watch the video how its done. It works the “outer” glutes, ie the glute medius and minimus. Why this exercise? Similar reasoning as prior; skinny girls with long legs dont get the structural advantage of having every lower body exercise they do be felt directly in the glutes. This isolates the glutes, and having long legs gives you and advantage doing it because the of the lever arm, it does not require much weight for this exercise to work. Sets and reps, do 2-4 sets in the 8-15 rep range. Weight doesnt really matter, its never going to be done very heavy.
And there you have it.
These are my top 5 exercises for a skinny girl trying to build her butt.
If you’re a women, looking for a program that is going to teach you how to grow specific areas of your body , for example your butt. Check out Athena Sculpting for Women.
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