I am a full supporter of loving your body from head to toe, but for me (and pretty much every other woman I know) this is a lot easier said than done. So lets just get right down to the bottom, your bottom. Whether you have a whole lot going on behind you or your derriere is a little less-than-there (I’m sorry for the rhyme, I had too). Your butt is amazing. Yes, your butt, the trinity of muscles in which you throne yourself upon, the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus, is an incredible muscle group. Yes, it is a muscle! And it’s actually the largest and strongest muscle in your body. The glute muscles are the reason humans are able to walk upright. It is important to keep these muscles strong because they support a healthy posture and can help protect you from chronic back pain. However, they are also probably the muscles being least activated on a regular basis if you live in the modern world where we spend much of our time on our butts, not using them.
Your Butt is Amazing and 5 Exercises For The Butt
There’s some truth behind the saying “lazy butt,” not because your glutes cant handle a lot of activity but it takes a little extra effort to get them engaged in your work out. In order for any exercise to really be effective you have to work on “activating” those bottom muscles. Sitting for long periods of time can put strain on your hip flexors and in the process weaken the glutes. After all that neglect, you might need to spend some quality time getting to know exactly what’s going on back there. You’re going to need to pay more attention to your butt. Learn how to isolate different muscles while you’re working out. The glutes respond best to explosive and repetitious exercises for the butt. You don’t necessarily need to use a lot of weight to achieve results in toning and shaping an awesome behind. Try some of my favorite exercises for the butt below to help target your backside muscles and most likely have more than just you paying the area some extra attention.
Although running is a great cardiovascular exercise it is not the way to get a more muscular butt. The glutes are a fast-twitch muscle. That means the muscle is thicker, contracts quicker, and tires out faster than than slow-twitch muscles. Fast-twitch muscles are the most powerful but have the least endurance, they are activated when the body is making powerful movements. That’s why sprints are an awesome glute work-out that helps get your backside more round at the top. Try doing sprint intervals of about 20-30 seconds on the treadmill. If your cardio isn’t exactly sprint ready, walking on a high incline on the treadmill also works and tones the butt muscles.
Strap a pair of ankle weights securely on both ankles (this exercise is also still effective with out weights if you don’t have any). (1.) Get positioned on all fours, keep your back straight with your knees squared with your shoulders. (2.) Raise your leg, keeping it bent at a 90º angle, until it is evenly aligned with your back and shoulders, lift your leg up.(3.) Extend your leg fully out and lift. Repeat these exercise for the butt evenly with both legs.
Lunges of any kind are amazing for working out your glutes. I prefer reverse lunges though because I am also an avid runner and put my poor knees through a lot of abuse. The reverse lunge puts a little less strain on your knee joint than the traditional front kind. (1.) Start by standing tall with your legs about shoulder width apart, holding a dumbbell in both hands at your sides ( if you choose to not use weights placing your hands on your hips can help you balance). (2.) Take a large step backwards with one leg, land on the ball of your foot, make sure that your front leg knee is not extending past your shoes (3.) Sink down until your legs are as close to parallel with the floor as possible.
Another great lunge that’s easier on the knees is a side lung, it also works the glutes, thighs, and hips. (1.) Stand with feet shoulder width apart with a dumbbell in each hand (again optional). (2.) Take a wide step to the right or left and sink down to your feet with weights (depending on which leg you’re working). (3.) Make sure your knee is not extending past your toes, keep opposite leg fairly straight. (4.) Return to starting position by pushing off from the side you lunged on.
When doing lunges I like to do a continuous set by alternating legs and no rests in between. This increases the cardio difficulty which will boost your whole work out. If you want to focus on really engaging your muscles and practicing form, try doing sets of 10 on each leg.
Exercise Ball Roll Ups
This is one of my favorite exercises for the butt. It not only works your butt but the back of your thighs. Lie face-up on the floor and place your lower legs and heels on your exercise ball. Balance is important in this exercise, focus on keeping your legs and knees straight and together. (1.) Push your hips and legs up so that your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. (2.) Keeping your core (stomach) muscles tightly engaged, pull your heels toward you as you roll the ball up and as close to your behind as possible (3.) Hold the position for a few seconds and then slowly roll the ball back until you’ve reached your starting position.
You can modify this exercise if you don’t have an exercise ball simply using a chair or bedside. Instead of pulling your legs up and in just do lifts and hold for a few seconds.
I hope you enjoy these exercise for the butt!
Photos by C. Gaston