The rear-end is one of the areas of the body that people typically want “harder”, “more toned”, or “tighter”. Why not? Who doesn’t want a butt that’s high enough to NOT hit the back of your legs? Or to not crease when you squeeze into a pair of jeans? Yeah, you get the picture! Looking great in a pair of jeans isn’t the only thing your glutes are good for! You’ve heard me repeatedly saying “squeeze your glutes” for the past few months. It’s not because I’m obsessed with your butt, it’s so I can get you to engage those beasts!
Your glutes consist of three different muscles. They function to extend your leg behind you, raise your leg to the side, and to turn your leg in/out. They’re a huge muscle group that is super important for most every daily activity you do, especially if you’re standing! Plus, engaging your glutes will tilt your pelvis, which will allow you to better engage your core. (Remember the bracing sequence a few months back?) Yah, yah ,yah . . . squeeze your butt. So what?!
Your glutes are more important than giving shape to your backside. Strong glutes are necessary to walk, run, hike, etc. Ever see the glutes on a sprinter? They’re huge! That’s because the glutes extend the leg, which gives the sprinter more power. They also function to stabilize your pelvis, which reduces back and knee pain. Stronger glutes means reduced back and knee injuries and better performance. Who wouldn’t want strong glutes?
That being said, this is your exercise butt-lift recipe! Remember, they’re the biggest muscle group on your body – work them hard and they’ll work for you! They’re big calorie burners!
1. When doing a squat exercise, push through your heels and squeeze your glutes throughout the entire range of motion.
2. Lying on your belly, arms & legs straight. Lift your entire leg off the ground. Repeat 15 times then switch to your other leg.
3. Lunges – reduce your range of motion when you step forward or backward, bend both knees deeper, and place more weight on your front leg, pushing through your heel as you stand up. *Split jump lunges (deep) will work your glutes even more!
4. Single leg squats – always a great butt exercise! Just remember to put all your weight on that one standing leg and to push through your heels and squeeze glutes. The deeper you go, the more you stretch your glutes, the more you work them. Just be careful not to let your knee turn in toward your other leg.
5. Ball leg curl or heel press – lying on your back with the ball under your feet. Really squeeze your glutes as you pull the ball in and out or as you push down into the ball. Hold your butt as you do this to make sure you really are squeezing your glutes. It works!
NOW do you understand why I keep telling you to squeeze your glutes? 🙂