Just because Summer is on it’s way out doesn’t mean your Bikini Body has to be!
In light of my recent decision to compete in a bikini contest in December, I decided to ask the Butterflies and Bikinis fans on Facebook what types of workouts they would like to see posted to help stay in shape as Fall and the holidays approach. The winning topic for this week just so happened to be my favorite body part to train….BOOTY!
In order to firm up your booty you need to work the right muscles, your butt (or Gluteus) is one of the strongest muscles in the body. It’s comprised of three distinct regions: The Gluteus Maximus, The Gluteus Medius, and the Gluteus Minimus. Since they connect and surround the hip and thigh, they are responsible for lifting the thigh as in running, rising from a seating position or climbing, abduction and adduction of the thigh, and support of the body when one foot is off the ground, like when taking a step.
Oftentimes, weak Gluteus muscles are the cause of pain in the lower back or hips. All of these muscles work together and if one muscle is off balance or not up to par, the others will have to overcompensate, leading to lower back pain or injuries. Building solid Glute muscles will not only give you a perky backside, but will also reduce your risk of injury.
Firming up your butt is not as difficult as many women think it is, and even if you were blessed (or not so blessed) with a flat butt, all is not lost-you can still build those muscles into a more pronounced backside. Whether you’re packing too much junk in the trunk (hello, that’s me) or not enough, neglecting to focus on the Glutes during training will leave your butt looking saggy and sad.
To target the Glutes, choose exercises that require use of the Glutes as stabilization. When training your Glutes you may not feel a flex or contraction as you would when doing an exercise like a bicep curl , but what you should feel is tension or stretching of those muscles throughout the movement. As your strength and mind/muscle connection improve, you’ll be abel to use your Glutes predominately to move weight or lift your body in a given exercise.
TIP: To target your Glutes, always push from the heels, whether you’re doing a lunge, squat, step-up, or the like.
4×15 Stiff-Leg Deadlifts
4×15 Stability Ball Leg Curls
4×12 Each Leg -Walking Lunges
4×15 Each Leg- Step Ups
4×12 Each Leg-Split Squat
4×12 Each Leg-Single-Leg Presses using Leg Press Machine
4×20 Pop Squats
Description of Exercises:
Stiff-Leg Deadlifts: Stand with feet just less than shoulder width apart. Grasp a barbell in both hands in front of you. Bend your knees slightly; slowly lower the weight while keeping your back straight and you chest up and out. Lower the weight as far as you can go without rounding your back. Return to the starting position using your Glutes to lift your torso. Squeeze your butt for an added a boost. Repeat.
Stability Ball Leg Curls:
Lie face up on the floor, resting your calves on a stability ball by your feet. Keep your back in contact with the ground, and extend your arms alongside your body, palms facing down. Lift your hips from the ground by pressing through your palms until your body forms a straight line from your head to your toes. Bend your knees, bringing the ball within inches of your glutes. Hold for one count, then extend your legs without dropping your hips to the ground. Repeat.
To target the Glutes while performing a lunge, step forward and bend the leading knee. The knee that is following should remain as straight as possible. Use the heel of your leading foot to push off and propel you into the next step/lunge. Repeat.
Stand behind the bench or plyo box that you plan to use. Step up onto the bench/box with one leg; as you come up bring the opposite leg out and back slightly squeezing the Glutes. Step down and repeat.You can perform all reps on one leg and then switch or you can alternate legs after each rep. *To increase the burn, hold a dumbbell in each hand while performing the exercise.
Single-Leg Press Using Leg Press Machine:
Using a basic leg press machine weighted or unweighted, place on foot height on the machine and keep the other one on the floor. Unrack the weight, lower the machine and use your heel to push the machine to full extension. Be careful not to lock out your knee. Lower and repeat, then switch legs.
Hyperextension for Glutes:
Using the hyperextension apparatus (often called the back extension); set the machine to your stature. The pad should rest at the top of your legs below your pelvic bone. Cross your arms at your chest and slowly lower your body (while keeping your back straight and chest up and out) toward the ground. Use your Glutes for stabilization and to lift your torso back up to starting position. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement. Repeat.
Stand in squat position, feet wider than hip-width apart and arms at your sides. Don’t allow the knee to extend past the toes. Swing your arms back and jump in the air with your toes pointing out while using your arms for momentum. Land into the squat, knees at a 90-degree angle, and squeeze your butt tight.
Split Squat With Dumbells:
Stand two to three feet in front of a stability ball, holding a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip. Step one foot back and place it on top of the ball, with your sole facing upward. Bend your front leg to lower your body toward the ground, tracking your front knee behind your toes. Pause, then press through your heel to return to standing. Complete all reps on one leg, then switch and repeat.