Most likely you have been doing exercises and using machines that promise you the butt of your dreams. Well, have they delivered yet? Chances are you’re still wearing that sweatshirt around your waist to hide that hump of mass that’s gaining in popularity. Well, you can throw that sweatshirt away because a great backside is just a few exercises away.
Dedicating yourself to eating healthy and exercising consistently will always be a plus, but time is a huge factor for most of us. When we exercise, we need to be as efficient as possible because we don’t have all day to workout! And even if you did, choosing the correct stretches, exercises, and form will get you farther than those gruesome two-hour workouts at the gym.
First, let’s take a step back and learn a little about the body. We have muscles that surround our hips: the hip flexors and glutes to name a few important ones. The hip flexors start on the front, inner portion of the thigh, run vertically across the hips and attach to our lower back. The glutes run across from the lowest part of our spine and the top of the pelvis, and attach to the highest part of our outer thigh. Each muscle spoken of has a few tasks to do when we move. In simple terms, the hip flexors flex the hips when we sit. The glutes extend the hips when we stand from a seated position. The glutes also help us move side to side. These muscles perform opposite roles. So, it’s important that each muscle is in the best position to work effectively.
When we remain in certain positions for extended periods of time, muscles adapt to these altered positions. We call these altered muscle positions “muscle imbalances.” When a muscle becomes shortened, the muscle that opposes it becomes lengthened. It is important to know this because when one muscle becomes short, it doesn’t allow its opposing muscle to work properly.
Remember those we talked about earlier that surround the hip? Most people’s hip flexors are prone to becoming short and tight because we tend to sit all day. This alters the position of our hips. Our hips tilt forward, causing our glutes to become lengthened. A lengthened muscle will not work effectively because muscle imbalances change the way the brain sends signals to the muscles being asked to work. In order to get those glutes working full time, we have to make sure that our brain is sending the right signals to the right muscles at the right times. This may sound complicated, but firming up the backside is as easy as 1-2-3.
The following exercises are just a few of the ways to rev up that rear end! Always remember that proper posture, good flexibility, and appropriate form and progressions are essential to whatever program or exercise you choose! Without all of these, your program will not be as effective as you would like it. And since most people don’t have the time to spend hours each day in the gym, doing the following exercises right saves you time and frustration! Here’s how to get started:
If you tend to sit all day, whether at work or in your car commuting, chances are your hip flexors are short and tight. To get the maximus out of your gluteus, you have to start by stretching out those hip flexors.
Kneel on the floor as shown.
Squeeze your glutes and pull your bellybutton in toward your spine.
Lift your arm on the side you’re stretching, reach over your head, and turn slightly to that side. For example, if you’re stretching the left hip flexor, raise your left arm and turn to the left.
Now that you’ve stretched out those hip flexors, you can strengthen the long, weak glutes. Because one of the duties of your glutes is to extend your hips, you’ll start simply with a ball bridge. The purpose of this exercise is to get those glutes to fire properly. As you become stronger, you can bridge with only one leg, straightening and extending the other to add weight and difficulty to the exercise. As with any exercise program, always exercise carefully and safely.
Set up on the ball as shown.
Draw your bellybutton in toward your spine.
Keep your legs and feet pointing straight ahead.
Squeeze your glutes and lift your lower extremity up towards the ceiling.
Because the glutes extend the hips and help you move from side to side, you can combine two movements to help you blast the butt! This exercise is called “tube-walking” and requires the use of an elastic band. See your fitness professional for tips on where to find one or visit http://bit.ly/lmp6QT
Place an elastic band around the middle of your lower legs, at about calf level.
Place your feet hip-width apart with your toes pointed straight ahead, and your knees lined up with your toes.
As you step, be sure not to sway or use momentum to move from side to side.