Skinny Butts Are NOT Where It’s At!
Some studies have reported that women with bigger butts have shown to be more intelligent, more resistant to disease and may be less likely to develop heart disease and diabetes! Although this thought is still up for debate since there are obviously different types of big butts (strong, functional booty vs not so much), we do want to applaud Jennifer Lopez for helping launch the trend that made bigger butts sexy.
Regardless of whether your motives are aesthetic or functional for your glutes, we can all agree that strong hips are important and will add to your health.
Strong Hips = Strong Knees and will help the integrity of your joints and connective tissue and ultimately, will enhance your running, climbing, jumping, skiing and more.
The best program for strengthening and sculpting any area is to incorporate a variety of exercises that progressively challenge the muscles in a number of different ways. For the glutes aka butt, you should incorporate exercises like lunges, squats, step ups, bridging etc. And there are a ton of variations within each of these exercises so the key is to mix it up!
Here are the specific technique tips for 4 of my favorite exercises for your booty.
- Complete 1 set of 8-20 reps with a 1 minute rest or core conditioning exercise in between each leg exercise.
- Complete two times per week on non-consecutive days and build to 2-3 sets of each exercise
Start with one leg positioned in front of the other leg. Keep the front knee over top of the ankle or forefoot. Keep the back knee underneath or slightly behind your hips. Slowly lower the back knee towards the ground keeping the front knee over top the ankle/foot the entire time. Only lower as low as you feel comfortable. Keep your body weight positioned over the front leg – this is your working leg. Maintain proper posture and keep your abdominals contracted. Complete 8-20 reps to fatigue for each leg. Hold hand weights to advance this exercise. As you advance, you can add movement by making it a dynamic or walking lunge.
Keep your knee caps facing forward and your feet about shoulder width apart. Slowly squat down and to a comfortable position and then slowly return to the starting position. You will notice your upper body will come forward to compensate for your hips sinking backwards – just be sure to maintain a long spine. Perform 8-20 repetitions. You can hold heavy hand-weights or a barbell to intensify this exercise.
Position yourself in front of a bench with one foot on the bench. Chose a height that challenges you without straining to complete. Ideally, you can advance to where the bench height is positioned so that your knee is at about 90 degrees. Keep your kneecap facing forward and your weight distributed on all four corners of your foot. Now slowly step up extending the supporting knee into a fully upright, balanced position. Now slowly lower yourself down to the starting position. Perform one set of 8-20 reps to fatigue for each leg. Keep the height shorter if this bothers your knees at all. Hold hand weights to advance this exercise.
Lay on your back with your legs bent and your feet positioned on the floor. With your arms at your side, slowly lift your hips and buttocks up towards the ceiling while contracting your glutes (buttocks) and hamstrings (back of thigh) until your body weight is resting comfortably on your shoulder blades. Throughout the entire exercise, be sure to keep your hips square to the ceiling and your abdominals contracted. Slowly lift up and down 8-20x. As you develop strength in your legs, you can do this exercise on just one leg – just be sure not to tilt to one side while doing these 1-leg lifts. Or try with your legs on a stability ball.
Sherri McMillan, M.Sc. has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for over 25 years and has received numerous industry awards including International Personal Trainer and Fitness Presenter of the Year. She is the author of five books including “Go For Fit – the Winning Way to Fat Loss” and “Fit over Forty” and is the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver and can be seen running, hiking or cycling with her two children, Brianna and Jackson. She can be reached at www.nwPersonalTraining.com or www.ShapeupwithSherri.com
Note: As an avid Columbian reader, you can redeem a 2 week pass at her world-class training studio to help get you started. Contact 360.574.7292 for more details.
Join us for the Couve Clover Run – 3, 7 & 10 miles March 20 @ 9:00am! Celebrate in your festive green while running or walking along an extremely fast and scenic course to support local charities.