It’s the body part women love to hate but with a little effort this winter, you can change your butt-itude and get a pair of perky cheeks by the time the warm weather returns!
Did you know that your gluteus maximus (your main butt muscle) is the heaviest and strongest muscle in your body?
As women, we barely ever take time to appreciate the absolute pieces of art that are our buttocks. We all love to curse them for not sliding smoothly into our favourite pair of jeans, or cringe at their lumpiness in the mirror but ladies, please remember that your glutes are a few of the most important muscles in your body and should be treated with more than a little respect.
The muscles in your backside keep you upright and help to stabilise your body. They effectively power every single step you take and without them there would be no walking, let along running or jumping!
Strengthening your backside can not only improve your posture and help to sort out back pain, it can make everyday activities so much easier and improve coordination too, all of which are big bonuses in later life! If you have weak glutes, other muscles start to take over to ‘compensate’, meaning hamstring, back, or hip injuries are likely to ensue.
So what can you do to make sure your butt stays strong? Nope, the answer is not climbing a million stairs (phew), which will work your quads and calves more than your bottom. What you need are a few butt-specific strengthening exercises, such as the following:
Hip Bridge or Pelvic Lift
Lie on your back with your hands by your sides, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Now place your right ankle on your left thigh, just about the knee. Now lift your hips upwards, towards the ceiling. Slowly lower back down and repeat. Aim for 10-15 reps on that side before switching and repeating with the other leg.
Get on your hands and knees on the floor. Now lift your left leg backwards and upwards, making sure you retain a 90-degree knee bend the entire time, until your foot is higher than your head. Consciously squeeze your butt cheek as you go. Slowly lower back down and repeat. Again, aim for 10-15 repetitions on that side before switching/repeating with the other leg.
Squats don’t necessarily isolate your glutes but they are definitely one of the best functional exercises for your lower body and encourage your quads, glutes and hamstrings to work in harmony with one another. Stand up straight with your feet slightly wider than hip width apart and your toes slightly turned out. Slowly bend your knees and lower yourself down as far as you can without lifting your heels off the floor, or bending forward too much with your upper body. Pause at the bottom and then push yourself up until you are upright again, remembering to keep most of your weight through your heels. Do 10-15 repetitions without resting.
Choose one of the above exercises to perform each day (or perhaps each second day to begin with!) and aim for three sets of 10-15 repetitions, with a 30-60 second rest in between sets.
RESULTS! Once your bottom starts getting stronger (allow up to a month to start seeing real results), you’ll find you may stand straighter and have less pressure on your back. Walking and running may seem a lot easier for you, as will any heavy lifting you may need to do. To top it all off, you’ll start praising your bottom for making you look so great in your favourite pair of jeans... or that great bikini you’ve been eyeing off!