I’m sure you’re wondering, what the hell is a diaper butt?
A diaper butt is when trousers (especially khakis) sag excessively in the butt area making it look as if you’re wearing a fully loaded diaper.
Here’s a visual of what I mean:
Middle aged men are more likely to suffer from diaper butt syndrome but it’s not uncommon to see younger men stricken by the affliction as well.
There are two reasons that cause a diaper butt: poor fit and a lack of muscle.
First, most guys wear clothes that are simply too big for them and khakis are no exception. If you can grab a fistful of fabric when wearing your khakis then they are likely too big for you. Stick to a slim option instead such as the Dockers Alpha Stretch Khaki in Athletic Fit:
As you can see, these are not your grandpa’s khakis. Dockers Alpha Khakis are meant to be slim but the athletic fit gives you just a little extra room through the seat and thighs. These also have a much narrower leg opening then traditional khakis so you won’t have any fabric pooling at your ankles. If you’re not have a fan of Dockers for whatever reason, I also recommend going with the J.Crew Strech Chinos in 770 Fit.
The second cause of a diaper butt is a lack muscle, specifically in the glutes and hamstrings. Not having enough muscle here causes khakis or trousers to literally hang off your waist, creating that baggy look in the backside that is none too flattering.
What can you do?
Fortunately, the problem is fairly straightforward to resolve: hit the gym!
The following are a few key movements I recommend that will hammer the glutes and hamstrings and force them into growth:
Sprinting is one of the best all around exercises anyone can do. Not only is it good for your heart and lungs, but unlike long distance running, sprinting is great for overall leg development.
Short, hard sprints are an explosive exercise that require a lot of muscle power. They engage literally every muscle in the lower half of your body.
I prefer sprinting hills because they hammer the glutes and hamstrings even more than sprinting on a flat surface. They are also much safer for you as you can’t quite develop the same amount of speed going up a hill which means less force is transferred through your joints and tendons.
I recommend doing between 5-10 x 80-100m sprints at a decent incline (no need to determine the precise grade, just find something hilly). Sprint as fast as you can to the top, walk back down as a form of active rest and then do it again. If you want to really get wild then do a set of 10-20 burpees or pushups at the top of each sprint. Hitting these 2x per week will do wonders for your leg development. Don’t be surprised if you end up getting leaner, too.
I love db lunges and there are several reasons why they are one of my go-to leg exercises.
First, because the dumbbells are in your hands there is no loading on the spine. This is good news for aging lifters who have back issues that preclude them from doing barbell squats or barbell lunges. Second, doing high rep db lunges are similar to doing farmers walks in that they test your grip strength and your cardiovascular system. Third, many guys find that dumbbell lunges target their glutes and hamstrings much more effectively than even high bar, Olympic style back squats. I know that this has been the case for me.
My recommendation is to do these for a minimum of 15 reps (I usually shoot for 20) and to superset them with other leg movements like single leg, leg presses, leg extensions, leg curls etc. Keep the rest period between sets or supersets short (no more than 90 seconds).
Glute Ham Raises (GHRs)
Glute ham raises (GHRs) are one of my favourite movements for the lower half of the posterior chain (low back, glutes, hamstrings, calves). What makes GHRs particularly effective is that they hit your hamstrings in two ways: extension and flexion.
For those of you who don’t know, the hamstrings have two functions: to extend the hips and to flex the knees. GHRs are one of the only exercises that hit the hamstrings in both ways simultaneously. Not only that, but GHRs also do a pretty good job of targeting your glutes and lower back too.
I recommend doing GHRs for higher reps (10+). Feel free to add weight (e.g. weighted vest) if bodyweight GHRs are too easy. The key to performing this exercise well is controlling the eccentric (lowering) portion of the movement. Don’t just let your body drop. Engage the glutes and lower yourself down slowly before exploding back up.
And if weighted GHRs are easy, try doing them with a resistance band. The band changes the resistance curve of the movement and makes it harder near the top. Here’s an example:
Putting it all together
The following protocol is how I’ve been training my legs for the past several months:
DB lunges x20
Bodyweight GHRs x12
Single Leg, Leg Press x10-12
I run through this superset 3 times, resting 90 seconds between sets. I end up doing this 3x per week on top of hitting hill sprints 2x per week. When I do hill sprints I do 5x80m sprints with 10 burpees at the top of each sprint. I walk back down between reps as a form of active rest.
If you are not used to this type of volume I recommend cutting the weight workout by 2/3 (so you only perform 1 superset) and doing the hill sprints 1x per week (sans burpees at the top). You can then slowly add volume over time as you get stronger.
The diaper butt syndrome is something that plagues many men. Fortunately, the remedy is quite straightforward: find trousers that fit well and beef up that backside. There’s no reason to be walking around with a flabby derriere. It’s not good for your health and it’s not good for your style. You’ve been advised.
Here’s to staying fit!