I have a few questions to ask you – do your glutes work properly when you perform functional movements like picking something up, walking, running and exercising? Have you looked at the shape of your bottom recently? Does it need a make-over?
Being a Personal Trainer in St. Albans when I’m out and about in the city I get asked a great many questions on fitness, nutrition and health advice. I love answering all your questions and sharing my knowledge but the most common questions are usually about the tummy area. I have been feeling for some time now that your bottoms are being neglected and your tummies are the main focus above everything else! I really want to emphasis that the bottom is just as important as your core area with regard to posture, a desirable figure and body alignment. Are you forgetting about your bottom just because you don’t look at it that much and you can’t see it in the mirror? Have you given up because you think it’s too late to do anything? Just because you may not be a size 10 it does not mean you can not have a nice shaped bottom look at Christina Hendricks from Mad Men, how gorgeous is she! And just because you may be a size 10 or under it doesn’t mean you have a good bottom – see the picture at the bottom of this blog. Whatever your size it needs to be worked at to look good and work functionally.
The bottom muscles (the glutes) are the largest complex of muscles in your body but due to long periods of sitting and inactivity throughout the day the muscles can weaken and end up being lazy and not fire correctly. When this muscle weakening occurs your legs end up doing all the work when you walk, run and exercise and the glutes get weaker and weaker. Do not worry you can get the muscles working in synergy again and I have put together five quick exercises you can do at home or in the park without any equipment to help you re-activate your glutes.
Please remember to always warm up with gradual dynamic movements before exercising and if you feel any pain while exercising stop and consult your doctor/physio.
1. Lunges – these are a great functional move that combine the whole of the lower
body together. Lunges work the bottom and leg muscle complex in synergy and can give you lovely long lean shape.
- Take a long step out to the front and have both feet facing forward in the same direction.
- Tuck your bottom under and make sure your body is straight during the whole movement, do not be tempted to lean forward.
- Lower yourself down as far as you can by bending the back knee. As you get stronger and more flexible with this exercise you can lower yourself further down.
- Push yourself back up again by the front leg.
- Try to get to 10-12 lunges on each leg.
- The progression can be – back lunges, walking lunges, alternate lunges.
2. Walking up and down the stars – again an extremely functional and good use of
the whole lower body.
- Pull your tummy in tight to activate the core while doing this
- Squeeze your bottom with each step up to make sure you activate it and the legs are not doing all the work.
- Make sure the front leg is doing the work, do not push off from the back leg.
- The progression can be finding a stable surface like a higher step or wall and do 10-12 step ups on each leg.
3. Walking up hill – When you are walking on a flat surface the tendency is just to use your leg muscles. When you are walking up hill the bottom muscles have to activate to power you forward as your legs can not do all the work alone, try to find a steep hill to really activate those glutes. Again squeeze your bottom to activate.
4. Standing Leg Lifts –This move is a very controlled exercise so don’t rush through it. As it is so controlled it is also really good for the core and your balance as well as your glutes. These exercises can be done by holding one hand onto a chair, the sink, or a wall and the other on your hip. As you get better you will not need the support as you can support yourself.
- Hold the core tight and bend both knees and slightly stick out your bottom.
- Keeping the tummy/core tight lift one leg off the floor so you are balancing on one leg keeping the supporting leg bent.
- While balancing push the suspended leg behind you to straight and squeeze the bottom.
- Throughout the whole exercise keep your hips facing forward and square – do not be tempted to swing the hips with the legs.
- These leg lifts can also be done diagonally and to the side to activate all the muscles in the bottom.
- Aim to do 10-12 on each leg.
5. Wide Squat with leg lift – the squat is a very functional move and should activate the whole of the lower body. The leg lift at the end will kick the glutes into activation if they are being lazy.
- Stand wide with your feet and knees facing diagonally outwards and your hands on your hips.
- Squat down pushing out your bottom and keeping your feet firmly flat on the floor. Make sure your knees are staying wide and moving in the same direction as your toes. Do not bend too far forward as this will activate your back and not your lower body.
- As you push up and towards the end of the squat, lift one leg to the side out straight with heal leading.
- As you lower the leg back down go into the wide squat again.
- Repeat for 10-12 reps and then change sides.
Repeat the above 4-5 exercises set 2-3 times. Always stretch at the end of any exercise to keep the muscles strong and supple.
If you have any questions on this or anything else contact me through the website or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget you can sign up for my 10 top tips for weight loss.
Enjoy the rest of the summer.