One of the most popular areas of the body to work on nowadays (especially for women!) is the butt! While I am not sure exactly when popular media started with its butt obsession, mine probably started in high school though for probably not the reasons you are expecting.
One weekend while I was I believe in grade 11, I was out of town playing in a softball tournament. Not sure how it happened, but I somehow started having intense knee pain and had to sit out of the final day of the tournament. The next day I could barely walk around at school without tearing up, so my mom took me to see a physiotherapist. The physiotherapist told me I had patellofemoral pain syndrome, which was partly due to a weak iliotibial band (IT Band) and gluteus medius. In layman’s terms, the pain in my knee was caused by weak muscles in my butt and side of my leg that were not keeping my knee cap where it should be. I was put on a strengthening plan for both my glutes (since my gluteus maximus needed work too) and IT Band. And my butt obsession started!
This week’s workout is partly based on rehab exercises that I did back in high school (glut bridges) and partly based on my current glute favourites (skaters). The main focus is to not only get that glute burn on, but to also learn how to actively contract your glutes. This leads to proper muscle recruitment, which means you are using the right muscles to perform a task like a squat and decrease your chance of injury. Because being injured is not fun!
Let’s get working out and set those glutes on fire!
10x/side Reverse Lunges
10x/side Drinking Birds (1 leg deadlift)
20x/side Lying Leg Circles
10x/side Side Plank w/leg lifts
20x Glute Bridge
Beginners: Repeat 2x, 1 minute rest between rounds
Advanced: 4x, 1 minute rest between rounds
Squats: Start with feet hip width apart, standing tall. Bend like you were going to sit in a chair aka Butt back. Bend down to a 90 degrees bend in the knees or as far as comfortable/can keep balance. With control, come back to standing. Hips finishing in line with the rest of body (don’t leave your butt sticking out.)
Reverse Lunges: Standing tall, feet shoulder width apart. Arms can go where you need for balance. Step one foot backwards in a straight line behind of you. Bend at both knees to 90 degrees (or as deep as comfortable), keeping chest upright and eyes looking forward. Shoulders relaxed. Pause for a second at the full bend. Press knees to straighter position then step back to starting position. Alternate feet lunging backwards.
Skaters: Starting balanced on one leg, knee slightly bent. Other leg is slightly behind the torso, knee bent. Arms bent at the elbow, in runner position. Torso is slightly bent forward, head up, eyes looking forward. Squat down on standing leg, contracting leg muscle. Push off of side of foot, jumping in a lateral motion. Land on opposite foot, with knee bent. Find balance, getting back into starting positon. Push off foot once balance is achieved. (Same motion that you use while ice skating.)
Drinking Birds (1 leg deadlift): Standing tall, chest up, legs straight, facing forward. Shift weight onto one foot, and lift unweighted foot slightly off ground. Bend standing leg knee slightly. With control, hinging at the hips, bend forward. The non-standing leg should go backwards, like a counter balance. Work hard to keep hips and shoulders as level as possible. Reach hands towards the floor. Pause once torso and leg are parallel or as close to parallel as you can manage while keeping balance. With control, return to standing position. Can hold a water bottle or broom handle to help keep shoulders flat.
Lying Leg Circles: Lying on your side, bottom hand supporting head, top hand in front of stomach on floor. Feet are stacked on top of each other, and slightly forward of hip (for balance). Hips rolled very slightly forward. With control, contract abs and glutes and raise top foot about 5-10 cm. While flexing your foot, draw small circles forward with your heel. After 10 circles forward, then reverse and draw 10 circles backwards. Make sure to keep glutes contracted the whole time!
Side Plank w/leg lifts: On your side, bottom arm’s elbow is situated under your shoulder. Shoulders, hips, knees and feet are in a line, feet stacked on top of one another. Top hand can either go on your hip or along your side. Do not lean forward on your hand, as it will rotate your torso forward. While keeping balance, lift the top leg upwards (about 30 cm). Pause at the top, then return to starting position.
Glute Bridge: Lying on your back, feet flat on the floor, knees bent at 90 degrees, hands by your side. Contact your glutes (if you have trouble contracting, imagine trying to hold a $100 bill between your bum cheeks. Don’t drop it!). While keeping your glutes contacted, slowly lift hips up until you form a straight line between shoulders and knees. Hold for a second, then lower back to the floor. If you feel the contraction more in quads or hamstrings then glutes, dig heels into the ground. Toes can lift off the floor.
Photos to come!