Bottoms Up!


OK, guys, you may want to sit this one out… or maybe not.  It’s up to you!  This week, as I sit reminiscing about my wonderful vacation with my family, I can’t help but think that I still could use a great deal of work in some areas.  One of those areas is a trouble spot for many of us and with the season of bathing suits and beaches among us, I feel as though it’s time to address the BOTTOM line!

Honestly, I don’t ever remember putting on a bathing suit and being happy about all aspects of it.  BUT, this week’s Wellness Wednesday doesn’t have to be all about fitting your bottom into a bikini.  It relates to the way our pants/jeans/shorts fit, as well.  So, whether you think your bum it too small (Oh, how I wish I were you), too mushy (don’t have that problem) or too big, I have a few suggestions on how to help tone that tush.

Keep in mind, gym membership or not, we can all do these few things to help our hiney.  Also, before I continue, I must remind you that I am not a personal trainer or trained professional in anything other than group fitness.  However, I do a lot of reading, and have a great deal of experience when it comes working out.

So… Let’s begin by talking specific moves that target your bottom (among other areas):

  • Squats:  This is a simple move where you stand with your feet a little wider than your hips and your toes turned out (like 11/1 on a clock).  You can intensify the exercise by holding weight, either on your chest, by your sides or on the shoulders.  Keep your chest lifted and your core nice and tight.  Sit back, as if you were going to hover over a chair.  Keep your knees in line with, but behind, your toes as you sink into the movement, then squeeze your butt as you rise.  Three sets of 12/15 and you’re good to go!
  • Lunges:  I love the lunge because there are so many variations.  (I don’t love the lunge because it’s tough, that’s for sure!)  Start by kneeling on the floor, take one leg forward and plant the foot in front of you so your front leg is at a 90 degree angle.  Keeping your other leg where it started (also at 90 degrees), tuck your back toes under and rise.  Make sure you leave about a hips-distance between the feet.  Stack your shoulders right above your hips and keep your tummy in tight.  Now, with or without holding weights, sink down until your back shin is parallel with the floor and then push through the front heel, squeezing your butt as you rise.  Same number of reps as before and then switch legs.  Do three sets and you’ll more than feel it.  As I stated earlier, there are a bunch of variations of the lunge, but we’ll stick with the basics.
  • Step Ups:  If you’re at the gym, you can use a bench with risers underneath.  At home, you can find something that you can safely step up onto that’s about a foot or higher off the ground.  Again, holding weight or not, just keep your body nice and tall and step up.  Begin by putting one foot onto your platform and pushing through your heel to lift the body up.  Do three sets of 12/15 then switch sides. Eventually, you can increase the height of your platform, but keep it limited to a 90 degree angle when that foot goes up to step.  Take it slow and FOCUS on the squeeze and you’ll be burning in no time.
  • Hip Thrusts:  Lying on your back, bend at the knees and place your feet hips-distance apart on the floor.  (You can lift the heels off the floor and do this on your toes if you’re comfortable with that).  With or without a weight on your pelvic area, raise your hips toward the ceiling and squeeze your butt.  Slowly lower.  Again, the same number of reps and sets, but if you want a little more intensity, do an 8 count pulse at the top to complete your set.

If you’re not a fan or get bored easily doing the exercises above and/or are not one who likes strength training, always remember, there are also cardio activities that are great for those tail feathers:

  • Cycling:  You can cycle indoors or out.  Two things to keep in mind:  Add resistance or cycle standing to make it a more intense workout for that back-end.
  • Running:  Two words – hills and sprints.  Running, overall, is great for that bottom, but if you add hills and sprints into your workout, you’re targeting that tush a bit more.  If running isn’t your thing, your other option is incline walking.  Dig the heels in and squeeze!
  • Hiking:  This isn’t just a great way to enjoy nature, it’s a fabulous way to burn calories and tone that tail!  Incline=Engaged Gluteus Maximus.  Therefore, if you’re hiking in steeper areas, you’re getting a great butt workout!

No if’s, and’s or butt’s… These are a few great hiney helpers!  As with every workout, don’t forget to focus on each move.  Put your mind into your muscles when you work them, in order to really feel it.

Have a great Hump-Day, all.  Maybe even make today your Rump-Day!  (Wink, wink.)

Carri Nelsen of Gold’s Gym in Shrewsbury.

Got questions for Carri?  E-mail them to blogs@TheZoneMag.com.

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