I’m fit, but I hate my bum. Always have. It’s the bum my grandfather used as an excuse to keep me off his lap — “too bony”, he said. It’s the bum I was teased about at school – “where is it?” they said. With zero padding, I’ve never been comfortable on a bench. I’ve never felt comfortable in shorts. And the worst part is what happens to a non-Kim bum around the late thirties: it drops, guys — in the most gruesome way…
So there I was one day hating my bum out loud, which grabbed the attention of my colleague Michelle. She’s young and bouncy — both in nature and butt dimensions — but turns out she has a major issue with, quote, “the saggy part underneath [her] bum”.
We discussed solutions. She told me we need to squat, and squat hard. Every damn day. Because squats are the #1 exercise for bums that have seen better days, right? I said we should test the theory. So we did. And here are the hard, cold lessons we learnt:
Week 1: Enthusiasm can only take you so far
Ridiculously enthusiastic but embarrassed about our task, we sneak up to the parking deck at work for The First 50, then giggle like schoolgirls when we get bust by a security guard. Fifty shades of regular (albeit interrupted) squats later and I’m thinking to myself: “This is going to be sooooo easy — and fun”. And it was — for the first week. Mich ground proper form into me, so I actually felt the burn, we squabbled about squat locations, sent outrageously emotional Whatsapp reminders to each other at random hours of the night and generally fell into a comfortable, quirky squat routine. Child’s play, right? Ja, riiiiight…
Week 2: Same-same isn’t always cute
We’re still properly in it, but unfortunately, both Mich and I have a problem with follow-through. From super-keen machines, it was becoming apparent that the flake factor loomed large. Already??? So, how were two attention deficits going to keep this now monotonous adult game up? As I stared with special blond blankness at the cracks creeping into our once-shiny challenge, Mich used her millennial-ness to toss in some variations. We’re talking adding weights, ballet-type plie variations (the deep plié is killer) and pretty much anything we could do that involved our ass moving toward grass. It worked. For a while…
Week 3: Your soul sister isn’t necessarily your perfect fitness buddy
Things went seriously south. We’d done every variation we could think of. We were bored. It wasn’t fun anymore. And, when the fun stops, fun-seekers go home. We missed one day, two days, three… Then had to do a whopper of a session to make up for it (250 squats behind the door of the office kitchen). The most important lesson this week was one I already knew. I can’t do it on my own. I need someone to gently force me to do it. Once I’m there, I can bring that enthusiasm — but someone else must get me there first. Mich: ditto. We totally screwed each other over by being the same person.
Week 4: Don’t give up
Mich wasn’t seeing results (see explanation below), so she gave up. I gave up because Mich gave up. It was a shameful way to end. And a pity — because the experiment lost pretty much 75 percent of its already precariously scientific edge. We could’ve done seven more days. We probably did 3.5. Mich returned to her cardio fest — which did involve her butt. I returned to paddling, which involved nothing more than sitting on mine. Then we took our after shot. Cringe.
Why our butts didn’t change
We dragged our saggy asses to Inge Viljoen, WH Next Fitness Star and possessor of the Butt of Champions, in a quest to find out where we’d gone wrong. Because surely there should have been more of a physical change, despite the fact that we couldn’t keep up with the daily demands of the challenge? We did put in A Lot of time after all.
According to Inge, although squats are the most common exercise to tighten your butt, they primarily focus on the gluteus maximus. The kicker: Your glutes consist of two other muscles called the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus, and you need to exercise all three to see results. Aaaaaah, okay.
So if you do decide to tone your ass for real, these are the exercises you need to do, over and above those gazillion squats: mountain climbers, jumping lunges, tuck jumps — these guys target your gluteus medius. And to zoom in on those gluteus minimus muscles: side plank, hip abduction and clam exercises.
Wonder if Mich is up to trying this all over again?