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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Glutes- No "Butts" About It!

The major muscles that act on the hip joint are illiacus, psoas, and gluteus. While all are important, one of my favorite muscles to work is the glutes. There are many different type of exercises that can be used to build glutes.  Remember, consistency is absolutely the key in seeing and feeling results. Here are four simple exercises which may be performed in the gym or at home.

Lunges are exercise that works your glutes.  Here are several different type of lunges: stationary lunges, walking lunges, alternating lunges, and side lunges.  When performing the stationary lunge with dumbbells, hold two dumbbells to the side of your body.  Bring one leg forward and stand so that you have good balance.  Bend both legs and allow the dumbbels to bring your body down towards the ground, ensuring your front knee does not go past your toes.  At this time the other knee will almost touch the floor or be parallel with the floor; then return starting position. Do all the reps with one leg forward and then continue with the second leg.

Squats are an excellent and proven way of training your gluteus maximus.  You can add resistance by performing them while holding dumbbells in your hands or with a bar across your shoulders.  If you opt for the bar (advanced), make sure you have a spotter unless the resistance is very light.  Varying the width of your feet will change the emphasis of the exercise.  The closer together your feet are, the more your quads will work.  As you move your feet further apart, you'll feel the exercise more in your hips and butt.  You should always have someone check your form to be sure you are doing the squats properly.  If you workout at a gym, the leg press machine may be easier to use than doing squats with a bar, and it attacks the same region.

Hip extension with flutter kick.  On a step or platform (or on your bed if you train at home) lie facedown with hips on the edge of the step, legs straight with toes resting lightly on the floor.  (If you are using a bed, your legs will be off the edge and your feet high off the floor.)  Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings and straighten the legs until they are level with the hips.  Lift one leg higher than the other and alternate.  Move each leg as though you are doing a flutter kick in water.  Try doing three sets of 20 repetitions on each leg.

In addition, the stairmasters and climbers when used at a slower frequency with honest, normal steps will recruit your glutes muscles into action. When using this equipment, you should feel your body weight as you step down through your heel of each foot.  The benefit of completing full steps rather than short mini steps is that your legs and glutes will be enjoying a better workout as well as your heart.

The deadlifts are excellent for your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back, but form is critical.  Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart, and your weights in front of thighs (bar or dumbbells).  Keeping back flat and abs in, bend forward from the hips and lower your torso until your weights reach your shines.  This is where it's time to squeeze your butt to raise back up.  Remember, keep your weights (bar) close to your legs throughout the entire range of motion, with just the slightest bend in the knees.  Make sure that you do not hyper extend your knees. Try doing three sets of 8-12 repetitions.

The shape of your glutes is primarily based on genetics.  Looking at your parents or other relatives will be a clear illustration of family genetics.


Remember, there is not one magic exercise that will make your butt change.  Consistency in the gym or at home paired with a nutrient packed diet plan supported by adequate protein intake will be your keys to bringing out the best results.

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