In addition to helping you look unforgettable in a pair of skinny jeans, there are actual health benefits to maintaining a firm and strong back side, independently of any trending round butt craze. And when we say back side, we’re thinking:
· gluteus maximus (which happens to be the largest muscle in your body, supporting hip and thigh movement),
· gluteus medius (fan shaped, helps in hip rotation),
· gluteus minimus (helps with thigh rotation),
· the hamstrings (preventing injuries to the hips and helping shape your back side).
The gluteus muscles help you with:
Improving your posture
In the seated position, the gluteus muscles are turned off, so to speak, and that makes the hip flexor muscles tighten and shorten, which, in turn, raises the risk of hip and knee injury. It also causes deviations in posture, such as slouching. Keeping the gluteus muscles turned on as much as possible will prevent or minimize all these risks.
Reducing hip, back and knee pain
Toned gluteus muscles help stabilize your pelvis, thus protecting your hips. Protected hips mean a pain-free lower back. A stable pelvis reduces the pressure on the knees and ankles. In short – strong glutes equal a pain-free body.
Improving sports performance
Fit and toned gluteus muscles boost your speed and help reduce your reaction time, thus improving your overall sports performance. They also help reduce the stress your feet take every time they hit the ground.
With all this in mind, let’s take a look at 7 effective butt-firming and toning exercises. You can use these exercises during your normal workout or, for a killer combo, you can practice them together, in series of 8-10 repetitions per exercise. Most of them use the body’s own weight, except the resistance band butt blaster (but even this one can be modified to make do without the band).
1. Basic squats
Stand upright, feet apart at hip distance. Hips, knees, and toes all face forward. Like sitting into a chair, push your butt backward and bend your knees. Keep your knees behind the level of your toes and rest your weight on your heels. Rise back up. Repeat.
2. Jump squats
Stand upright, feet apart at hip distance. Bend your knees to lower yourself into a squatting position. Keep a straight spine, lift your chest and keep your knees behind your toes. For balance, keep the arms in front of the chest. Jump, while swinging your arms overhead. Return to squatting pose.
3. Plié Squats
Stand upright, feet apart at slightly more than shoulder distance, toes turned outward at 45 degrees. Lower your torso and bend your knees, while keeping a straight back and tight abs. Come back to standing position while squeezing your glutes.
4. Cross behind lunges
Stand upright, feet apart at hip distance. Lean onto your left leg, then cross your right foot behind it, while keeping the hips facing forward as you bend your knees to lower yourself towards the floor in a lunge. Back straight and chest lifted. Keep your weight on the front leg. Step back to starting position. Repeat on the opposite side.
To start, position your feet apart at slightly more than shoulder distance, and keep your arms at the sides. Push one leg backwards, at a slight angle, into a reverse lunge. Your front knee should make a 90-degree angle. Swing your arms in front of the bent knee and pull the back leg forward to switch sides in a skating motion. Arms swing alternatively as you switch sides, like how a speed skater would move.
6. Glute Bridges
Lie on your back with your knees bent, hip distance apart. The feet are flat on the mat, stacked under the knees. Lift your hips into a bridge position, while engaging the core and squeezing the glutes. Hold, squeezing tight, then slowly return to the mat. Repeat.
7. Resistance Band Butt Blaster
Kneel on the floor and wrap the band under the right foot. Place your hands down, under the shoulders, pressing the band handles to the floor. Lift your right knee slightly, and push your right foot back until fully extended, tensing the band and squeezing your glute. Slowly bring the knee back into a bent position. Switch feet and repeat.
If you are struggling with your motivation have a look at one of our many articles for inspiration.
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