When people start on a fitness journey it’s often motivated by two desires.
- A health and lifestyle upgrade and/or;
- An aesthetics upgrade
I’m no different. After more than 10 years of absolutely no exercising, I was asked (and by asked I mean TOLD!) by my doctor to start to exercise otherwise accept the consequences that were creeping up on me. At the time I was 39 and my stomach was protruding so far from my mid-line that when I looked down, I could barely see my toes.
I'll be honest, my motivation was largely driven by fear and concern that my doctor's warning instilled in me, and, of course there was the vanity piece being reinforced every time I looked myself in the mirror.
The silver lining is that incorporating a new habit of daily exercise would help me with both my health and my self-image. Of course there are other exceptions… i.e. you might be able to argue the health benefits of having massive bi-ceps. LOL!
Science has done a wonderful job of proving the case for a variety of workout styles, but none more impressive than HIIT-style training. This training style will help with both physical fitness and more than that, will also improve your overall cardiovascular and muscular health.
I honestly think aesthetics is an added bonus to leading a healthy, active lifestyle, but there are some specific health benefits tied to body composition. For example:
Health Benefits of having a Lean waist
A lean waist often means less body fat. Fat around your belly is a particular high-risk factor for your health.
Today, we know that a big round belly often means fat between and lining your organs. As Dr David Haslam, clinical director of the National Obesity Forum, explains:
“Visceral fat is known to cause inflammation in the colon and the artery walls, and is a major cause of heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.”
Health benefits of having Strong glutes (tight butt)
When we talk about our butt, the muscles that we are referring to are called Gluteus Maximus or glutes. This particular muscle group are actually some of the biggest muscles that we have on our body and they play an important role in our musculoskeletal system.
Basically any kind of movement involving the legs also uses the glutes. You can think about the glutes as your balance controlling muscles. They are the big powerhouses that connect your upper body to your lower body and balance everything.
Weakness or imbalance in the glutes will result in balance issues and when that happens, other muscles will take over to compensate. This is often referred to as a a bio-mechanical problem and is one of the main reasons for a number of muscular, soft tissues and joint issues. When smaller muscles have to work hard to do the big guys’ work, problems will start to show themselves.
Issues in ankles, knees, hip and lower back can often be directed back to weak glutes. The West End Chiropractic has the following statement,
“For many of my patients with low back pain the cause is due to weak or inhibited glute muscles.”
So, aesthetically speaking, a tight butt is not just something that should be desired because it looks good, it's benefit from a functionality is paramount – and this goes for guys too! (BTW, I'm often asked, “What exercises lift your buttocks?“… well, read on…)
What Causes Weak Glutes?
Before we jump into how to fix the issue, let’s get an understanding of why so many of us have weak glutes.
For people who sit most of the day, their risk of heart attack is about the same as smoking – Dr. M. Grogan, Mayo ClinicTweet This!
The chances that you have weak glutes now are rather high. Have you guessed what I’m talking about? It’s what some people now are calling, “The new smoking” – and YES, it’s the sitting disease.
Due to our modern lifestyle, most people spend massive amounts of time sitting in the car, at work, at home etc. We are sitting our glutes to death.
As mentioned earlier, the glutes are the bridge between our upper and lower body. When we sit, there is little need for that bridge and our legs are taken out of action, which means there’s no reason for the glutes to fire themselves up. The support work that the glutes should do have been taken over and replaced by a chair…
We’ve become so sedentary that 30 minutes a day at the gym may not counteract the detrimental effects of 8, 9 or 10 hours of sitting – G. Healy, PhDTweet This!
5 Exercises to Make Strong Glutes (aka Your Sitting Muscles)
Besides trying to sit less, it’s pretty easy to strengthen the glutes and the good news is that you can do it a home with very little to no equipment. Let's have a look at some of the best body-weight exercises for strengthening the glutes.
#1 – The squat
Squatting is often mentioned as a great booty workout and it’s true if done correctly.
In order to engage the glutes as much as possible, there are some key points to be aware of.
- Keep the chest as high as possible during the squat – this will make the glutes work hard.
- At the bottom of the squat, make sure to press the knees out – again for most glute activation.
- On the way up, make sure to squeeze your butt.
- Go as deep as possible but make sure to keep a good form – don't go up on toes, or lower your chest.
#2 – Lunges
Lunges are a kind of squat, except we work one leg at a time. Of course, we will hit the muscles a bit differently than with squats.
- Same key points as with squats. Chest up, knees out and squeeze butt on the way up.
#3 – Step ups
Step-ups will need a lot of balance work for the glutes and are an excellent strength exercise.
- Select a manageable height of the step.
- Don't let the knees collapse in.
#4 – Bridges
When doing bridges, we isolate the glutes and you will feel sore faster here than with some of the other exercises.
- Start with your feet raised and keep the knee-joint at 90 degrees.
- Squeeze your butt and raise your hips as high as possible.
#5 – Superman hold
This exercise can be a challenge for most but give it a try as it really helps to build strong glutes.
- Lie on your stomach with your arms extended in front of you
- Raise your arms, upper body and legs
- Keep head in a neutral position – point fingers and toes
- Squeeze your butt
- Hold this position for as long as possible
You have a great toolbox to build a tight and strong butt with these exercises,. If you reach a point where the exercises become too easy, there are different ways to make them harder. Let’s look at some of them.
3 Ways to Spice Up the Intensity of Any Body-Weight Workout
- Add weights. For the squats, lunges, step ups and bridges, you simply add weight either by holding some dumbbells in your hands or a barbell on your shoulders. For the bridges, place a weight on your hips.
- Plyometric. Add explosiveness to the exercises. For the squats and lunges, you can do them by jumping instead of a smooth movement.
- Isometric. Basically the opposite of plyometric. You hold the position where the muscles are mostly engaged for as long as possible. Don't be shocked if the muscles starts to spasm, that is normal.
The Best 15 Minute Booty Blaster Builder Workout
Let's now look at a way to combine these exercises into an efficient booty workout.
As time is an issue for most of us, we want to make sure that we get most out of the workout in the shortest time possible. Therefore, we will do it in an HIIT style so you can save time and work on your condition as well.
First start with a good warm-up because we need to prepare the body for the HIIT style.
Then follow this template: The AMRAP
We will do an AMRAP, meaning we should try to do as many repetitions as possible during the work time. However, it’s important not to compromise on the form. Quality is always more important than quantity.
Work for 45 sec, then rest 15 sec and move on to the next exercise.
Do 2-3 rounds of the following exercises:
- Lunges – alternate legs
- Step ups – alternate legs
- Superman holds – hold for as long as possible. Take small breaks if needed.
The pace should be challenging but still match your current fitness level. If a high pace is too for you, it’s better to slow down and do 2 rounds instead of 3. What we are looking for is a pace you can keep for all rounds.
If this workout is the only workout you do then there is nothing wrong with repeating it three times a week. Add some walking or cycling and you have a great workout routine for the first couple of months.
If you already working out, you might want to only repeat this 1-2 times a week.
Good luck with your new booty workout.
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Author Bio: Henrik Nielsen
My name is Henrik Nielsen. I’m co-owner and head coach at CrossFit Landskrona in Sweden. I’m also the founder of Fits-Me which delivers online body-weight training for any fitness level. Be sure to also connect with Henrik via the Fits-Me Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/FitsMe.co/
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