Improve your bum!

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So, exercising often, but the bum isn’t shaping how you want it?!

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There’s plenty of exercises you can do, depending on equipment available, but here is 1 tip to improve the function of the bum muscles during exercise, and 4 TOP exercises for working the bum muscles.

Tip – Many people have tight hip flexor thigh muscles. These muscles tighen when you are in a sat position for a period of time. (Think desk job or sofa work!) Not only will these muscles tighten, but they will anteriorly rotate the pelvis, often causing lower back pain.

Second, when a muscle is “tight” it will inhibit the opposing muscle, through something called reciprocal inhibition – you don’t need to remember this 
In this case, tight hip flexors will ibhibit the glute muscles, meaning they won’t work to the maximum potential……..not great.

So, to get these bum muscles working properly, before exercise do the following. (Use google or youtube for demos)

Perform a static hip flexor stretch, holding it for 20-30 secs each side.
After this do a hip bridge and hold clenching glute muscles hard for 20sec. If you have a kettlebell or dumbell, now would be a good time to do 20-30secs of swings, focussing on driving hard from the hips.

Perform this routine above twice and you should have inhibited the tight hip flexors – and therefore your bum muscles will “fire” more effectively.

So, what exercises are great for the bum?

In no specific order;

1 – Lunges. As long as you keep the gap big between front and back leg, and drop the back knee, pushing up through the heel of the front foot, you’ll recruit the glutes big time. Look for around 3 sets of 12 reps each side, holding weights to make harder. Want next step up? Google “Bulgarian Lunges”

2 – High stepups Use something challenging, ideally around knee height. Place one heel on, and drive through THIS heal and bum muscle to push up, not the trailing leg. Aim for 10-16 one side then swap legs. Again hold weights to make harder.

3 – Straight Leg Deadlift – keep back flat, and bend at waist, clenching bum to extend upright. Effective for hamstring, lower back and bum

4 – Squats – Many people squat incorrectly, flexing too much at the waist and not the knee, due to tight hip flexors, and not really working the bum muscles. After performing the above you should squat better, sit low, and drive up through the heels and bum. Remember, the bum muscles work on extension, so straightening you up – the lower you get the more your bum will work to straighten you up!

Bonus Option – Something nearly everyone can do – Run hills! Running rarely works the bum for many people due to their running style (lack of pace and knee/heel pickup) Find a hill – the steeper it is, the less you need to run – less steep the longer you need to go and run it HARD! Walk down, recover and go again for a period of time determined by fitness levels – THIS will work your butt!

Plenty of other options and tricks, but those are some fundamentals – they need to be done often, and intensely – finish a “set” and feeling fine, or just working them twice a week won’t make too much progress.

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