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Stepups are a convenient strength-training exercise that can be done either in the gym while using a plyo box, or outside on a bench or step. The exercise is effective at recruiting and developing a number of muscles in your lower body, including your major butt muscle, the gluteus maximus. To build size in your butt muscle, you'll need to train with stepups appropriately.
The primary muscle involved in the stepup exercise is the gluteus maximus. The gluteus maximus is the large muscle in your buttocks area. If you're looking to increase size in your butt, the gluteus maximus is what you want to target. It extends your hip joints as you step up onto the box. Also recruited during the stepup are the quadriceps, responsible for extending your knee joints, and your calves, which plantar flex your ankle joints.
Training for Size
In order to train with the goal of increasing the size of your gluteus maximus, your weight-training workouts need to feature an adequate number of sets and repetitions. Strength and conditioning specialist Dr. Lee E. Brown recommends performing an exercise for three to five sets, with each set consisting of eight to 20 repetitions. The rest period in between each of your sets should last just one minute to 90 seconds. Your gluteus maximus will need an adequate time to rest in between your bouts of stepups, so schedule one to two days of recovery time in between each workout.
In order for the training volume of three to five sets of eight to 20 repetitions to effectively increase the size of your gluteus maximus, you'll need to perform the exercise with an appropriate amount of weight. As you perform the stepup, your leg muscles have to overcome the gravitational pull on your own body weight. If you feel, during those eight to 20 repetitions, that the resistance is causing your glutes, quadriceps and calves to become fatigued, then doing body-weight stepups is appropriate. However, if, on the 20th repetition, you feel you could easily perform more repetitions, increase the amount of resistance. Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them by your side, or place a weighted barbell on the back of your shoulders so that your muscles are fatigued at the end of every set.
To maximize the focus on the gluteus maximus, stand about 1 1/2 to 2 feet away from the box or step you will be using. According to ExRx.net, how far you are away from the bench will determine which muscles are emphasized. Being further away from the bench or step will cause a greater degree of hip extension, and thus your gluteus maximus will have to do more work. Being closer to the bench or step will decrease hip extension and increase the amount of knee extension, so your quadriceps will be taking on most of the work.