The Butt Workout: Tone Up Your Glutes and Hamstrings

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Sick of squats? We definitely hear you! This weeks installment is for the female followers of Lifespan Fitness that are looking for a step-by-step on how to tone up their glutes and hamstrings. So sit back, allow some time to read this entire article and more importantly – take action on the information provided – we’re going to teach you how to tone every inch of your rear for a fitter, firmer butt!

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Barbell Deadlift – Load the barbel to a suitable weight, and roll it as close as possible to your shins. Bend at the hips and knees, grabbing the bar with an overhand (palms facing towards you) grip at shoulder width. Pull your torso up and maintain a straight back (if it begins to arch, lower the weight and concentrate on correct form) as you pull up the barbell. Squeeze your glutes whilst performing the movement. Finally, lower the bar to the ground with a straight back as close to your shins as possible.

Dumbbell Deadlift – Similar to the barbell movement, except, you guessed it – using dumbbells. Place a pair of dumbbells on the floor in front of you. Bend at the hips and knees, grab the dumbbells with an overhand grip. Keep your back firm and straight, as you complete both the ascending and descending movements.

1010-dumbbell-step-upDumbbell Step-Up – This movement requires you to stand in front of a bench or step which you will lose as leverage. Grab your pair of dumbbells and place them at your sides, as you place your left foot at a 90 degree angle on the step in front of you. Press into your heel and push your body upwards until your left leg is now straight and supporting your body weight whilst your right foot is hanging in the air. Now, lower back down until your left foot touches the ground. Upon completing a number of reps with your right leg, do an equal amount with your left leg.

Squats – I know, I know – I promised I wouldn’t – but you simply cannot go past the effectiveness of squatting. Squats help tone your butt, hips and thighs. Begin by standing with feet shoulder width apart. Slowly lower your hips, not allowing your knees to pass your toes from a birds eye view (try to maintain a 90 degree bend). Squats can be performed in a number of different ways to target particular muscle areas. Front squats place substantial load on the quads, whilst the traditional squat places more emphasis on the lower back, butt and hamstrings. As with any new exercise, practice without the use of weight, and once you are comfortably slowly increase the weight until you are able to perform eight clean repetitions.

1069364_402993843155152_710676237_nLunges – Perhaps second to the squat in terms of effectiveness are, lunges. Begin with your feet parallel at hip distance apart, take a stretched step forward slowly lowering your body and bending both knees. Keep your front knee aligned with your ankle, and do not bend more than 90 degrees. Step back together, and repeat the motion. Alternate between legs adding weight to increase difficulty of this exercise.

How to Get The Results You Want
No matter the exercise you choose, there are a few core rules if you are to see any progress in the effort you are putting in.

  1. Goals – Create and log your progress towards achieving your goals. Whilst for some losing 50kg may be the ultimate goal; for others, losing that last bit of hip fat might be an achievement. Goals such as lowering your resting heart rate, increasing your endurance and losing a certain amount of inches off your waist are excellent.
  2. Create a Positive Network – If those around you are negative, you too will take on a negative mindset. Read motivating books, get a trainer/coach or a workout partner. A large majority of people who fail is caused by a lack of motivation and positive energy. Progress may take a while to become noticeable at first, but you’re definitely lapping the person sitting on their couch watching television.
  3. Consistency – We stress this throughout the majority of our posts, but consistency IS KEY. A quote Sal Fucito brought to my attention was; “I didn’t get fat overnight, and I wouldn’t get skinny overnight either” – and it couldn’t be more true! Anything worth having is worth working had for, noticeable improvement isn’t going to happen after a couple of sessions; just like you won’t have lost all your progress if you take a week off. Glutes can take up to three weeks to see evident changes, at which point they will appear tighter and firmer.
  4. Good Form – This is not only important for your physical health in reducing injury, but also to maximise the effectiveness of the exercise you are performing. There is no use in loading the weight plates onto the bar if your form is incorrect, it will do far more harm than good. Watch yourself in the mirror initially to ensure your form is correct, work each set slowly until you get the hang of things.
  5. Make it a Habit – Just as laziness can become a habit, so too should daily fitness activities. Habits stick, it’s as simple as that. If you can create a consistent regime of the fitness exercises you perform, you’ll have far more success in the long run maintaining your workout program.
  6. Stretch – Particularly when performing new movements, stretching is key to minimizing injury. Our hip flexors are often overworked during sets as they spend so much time under tension, ensure that these are stretched thoroughly to better activate the glues.

A great workout is only a part of the whole picture. Maintaining a healthy diet is essential in making real progress. No one will see your new-found glute and leg muscles if they’re hiding under an excess layer of fat. A balance of nutrition is important, this includes, lean protein, less processed foods and complex carbohydrates (low in sugar and saturated fat).

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