Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Top 5 Buns Moves

By Kathy Smith

During an interview the other day, a reporter asked me what my all-time favorite exercise move is. This is a somewhat stressful question for someone like me because there are so many moves I love! However, as I started to name a few, I realized several favorites revolved around working my glutes. Let's face it . . . there's nothing like feeling good in your blue jeans! And since this is an area of the body that so many women ask me about, I thought I'd share some of my favorite moves, as well as some little tricks you can use to achieve a toned derriere!

1. Maximize a flight of stairs.

Take advantage of a flight of stairs by thinking about putting your weight in your heels as you ascend. This will engage your gluteal muscles more than just climbing alone. Walking up hills or on an inclined treadmill is also a great way to tone your glutes. Try shifting your weight to your heels as you walk and you'll get a little more toning action.
2. Squats.

Squats are an excellent glute move, and if you've done my Project: YOU™ workouts, you may already know my squat mantra. To really target your glutes in a squat, make sure you put your weight on your heels, so much that you should be able to lift your toes off the floor. In our Project: YOU test group, I went around and put my fingers under people's toes, asking that they not crush them, of course! Risky, I know, but it got the point across (and thankfully, I walked away with no bruises). By shifting your weight to your heels, not only will you challenge your glutes more (and hamstrings, or the back of your legs), you'll also take pressure off your knees.
3. Squats 101.

Still having problems with achieving proper form in a squat? Practice with a chair. Start by sitting in the chair and then standing up. Repeat this a few times. Then, squat as if you're going to sit back down, but instead of sitting down, just hover slightly above the chair and then come back up. Now, repeat the hover-squat a few times while keeping your weight on your heels as you really think about squeezing the muscles in your butt and your inner thighs.
4. Lunges.

This is another one of my favorite moves for working the glutes. Again, a slight shift in body weight during a lunge will help lift and tone the buttocks. So, when doing lunges, first make sure that you have enough distance between your front foot and your back foot so the front knee does not jut out over the front foot. In fact, the knee should be in line over the ankle when you are in the deepest part of the lunge. Then, put your weight on the heel of the front foot so that you're really working those gluteal muscles. Remember, in order to get the glutes to fire, you need to go down deep enough in the lunge. As you approach a 90-degree bend in the knee, the glutes will start to contract and be used in the exercise. If you do not go down far enough, the exercise will stay in the quads or thighs, and you will not get the benefit of working your butt.
5. Add some imbalance.

Once you've mastered basic lunges or squats, challenge yourself by placing your front foot (for a lunge) or both feet (for a squat) on an unstable surface such as a pillow to add a little instability. This advanced move will call on other muscle fibers to fire and increase muscle toning while burning a few extra calories as well.

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