Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Shapely and firmer Butts

Get a Better Butt Without Leaving Home

By Raphael Calzadilla B.A., ACE, RTS1
eDiets Chief Fitness Pro

Own your habits.
-- Vince Lombardi

The following is an e-mail I received:

"Raphael, you are an inspiration! I loved your glutes articles but I have a special request. I don't have gym equipment and really enjoy exercising in my home. I'm an overweight female and realize, thanks to you, how important nutrition is to achieve the butt and body I desire. However, is it possible to write a special glutes article that I can perform with no equipment, or very little equipment?"

How can I refuse this request? This article is dedicated to all those who work out in their homes with little or no equipment. For my "hardcore" readers who want a workout in the gym that promotes a near crippling effect, don't worry. I'll be dedicating articles to you in the near future.

I may sound like a broken record, but I always like to hammer home one fact. You cannot get a good-looking butt if you have excessive body fat. I'm not suggesting you can't be 10 to 15 pounds overweight and have a good-looking butt. After all, we need to respect different shapes, forms and genetic structures. However, don't expect to have great glutes with excessive body fat. Nutrition, weight training and cardio must be a priority and approached with consistency.

The three most common questions I receive from people are:

  • How do I get a flat stomach?

  • How do I lose these hips?

  • How do I tighten my butt?

Every female client I have ever trained has asked me, "What do I have to do to get a great-looking butt?"

The gluteus is one of the most beautiful sets of muscles in the body, yet people always seem to buy clothes with the goal of covering it. Let's face it -- we know that people look at our butts. So whether you have a big butt, soft butt or no butt, I have a routine that will produce results.

One of the things I've always told my clients is that after working with me, they'll be able to lie on the floor face down and have somebody bounce a dime off their rear ends. Yes, I have that much confidence that I can help anyone get a better looking backside. However, like all good things it does take work.

Let's get a better understanding of the eye-catching gluteus muscles. The glutes are comprised of the gluteus maximus, gluteus medias and gluteus minimus. The gluteus maximus is a major stabilizer of the pelvis and runs from the iliac crest to the femur and iliotibial band.

The gluteus medias and minimus lie directly beneath the maximus. The primary function of the gluteus maximus is to extend the thigh at the hip and also to rotate the thigh away from the midline of the body. The gluteus medias and minimus serve to move the thigh away from the body and toward the midline of the body. There's more to this muscle group, but this should be a good introduction for you. Plus, I know you're eager for the workout. I always like to provide a brief overview of a muscle group, because it's important to know how your body functions.

Let's get to it. Perform each exercise for two sets of 20 slow and intense repetitions. Make sure to contract the glutes tight and really squeeze in the contracted position. Don't let yourself off the hook and perform them haphazard or like you're going for a walk in the park. Don't consider these exercises leg movements, they are butt movements so work it hard! It's show time!

1. ANKLE WEIGHT BUTT BLASTER -- Place an ankle weight on your left ankle. Get on the floor on your hands and knees. Relax your shoulders and maintain a neutral spine with your head at a natural extension of your neck. Extend the left leg up with a 90-degree angle at the knee. Your foot should be parallel with the ceiling. Contracting the gluteal muscles, push your foot up toward the ceiling. Stop when your leg is at a full extension from the hip, maintaining the 90-degree angle at the knee.

Slowly return to the starting position. After completing the set on the left side, repeat on the right side. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale while returning to the starting position.

2. LYING GLUTEUS LIFT -- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Place your arms at your sides for support. Contracting the glutes, project your hips up toward the ceiling as you lift your glutes off the floor. Slowly return to the starting position, stopping just short of your glutes touching the floor. Exhale while lifting your butt and inhale while returning to the starting position.

3. STATIONARY LUNGES -- Stand straight with your feet together. Hold your hands on your hips. Step forward with the right leg and lower the left leg until the knee almost touches the floor. Bring the left leg back in line with the right leg and repeat the process with the same leg for 20 reps. The step should be long enough so that your left leg is nearly straight. Then perform the same movement with the opposite leg. Do not let your knee touch the floor. Make sure your head is up and your back is straight. Your chest should be lifted and your front leg should form a 90-degree angle at the bottom of the movement. Also, your knee should not pass your foot. Remember, slow and tight!

4. STRAIGHT LEG REVERSE LIFTS -- Begin this exercise on your hands and knees. Straighten your left leg as if you were going to do a push-up. Keep the right leg bent, supporting your weight along with your arms. Contracting your soon-to-be gladiator glutes, lift your left leg up toward the ceiling, stopping when you feel a full contraction of the butt. Slowly return to the starting position. After completing the set on the left side, repeat on the right side. Exhale while lifting the leg. Inhale while returning to the starting position. Do not let the back arch. If you are an intermediate or advanced exerciser, you can add an ankle weight to the working leg to make it more challenging.

Perform the above routine two to three times per week for four weeks on alternate days. Don't forget to make sure you keep your weight training, cardio and nutrition on target. If you don't feel your glutes the next day after performing this routine, then something is seriously wrong. Also, if you're a beginner or novice then reduce the sets to just one and focus on form. You'll need to build to the volume and intensity safely, but once you do, you'll love the results.

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