Body parts fade in and out of fashion. Sometimes it feels like everyone is searching for the secrets for a curvy butt, Madonna-like arms or 6-pack abs. This week, I’ll share my secrets for looking great from behind in no time!
I can still remember the time in the late ‘90s when women’s magazines announced that having a big butt was a good thing. I was in my teens and had never even thought about how my body looked because to me, as an athlete, my body was my vehicle. I had muscles upon muscles and my posterior chain was rock solid but, thanks to Jennifer Lopez, I suddenly felt that I didn’t just look like a boyish athlete! I had a quality that was associated with being feminine, sexy and, to my mind, awesome. Through a summer media craze based on one woman’s derriere, I suddenly received a huge confidence boost.
It’s amazing how the media continues to play a huge role in the way we think about our bodies. As a runner, a strong physique came with the job description, not to mention my genetic predisposition from my parents. I sure hope it’s a fashion statement that will last because my children are already showing signs of having sprinter-shaped bodies.
I’m not saying that a big butt makes anyone more or less attractive overall but I do think that it’s important to have strong set of muscles behind you. Add in the confidence boosting benefits of a firm butt and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t make sure a saggy bottom is never part of your life.
What’s the best way to tone up your butt?
As a trainer I’m often asked: “How do I get a good butt?” and my answer is generally the same every time. I have to be honest and say that genetics play a huge role, however body builders are the living proof that quality exercise and nutrition can enhance any muscle group. A strong ‘gluteus maximus’ and ‘gluteus minimus’ – the training terms for your rear end – can be achieved through a combination of strength training and a good sprint program.
Butt toning tip 1 – Run your way to a great booty
Not surprisingly, I recommend running – it will help burn off excess flab while also building up your muscles.
Sprinting is essentially the weight lifting of running especially when you throw hill running into the mix because your posterior chain muscles – including your calves, hamstrings and glutes – generate a lot of the power that is required when sprinting.
Try adding one or two 30-minute sprinting sessions into your workout week. Sprinting for 20 seconds then resting for 60 seconds is my personal favorite. Remember to build up to it though. You must walk before you can run, so only up your speed as and whenyour body feels ready.
Butt toning tip 2 – Make squats work for you
Squats, squats, squats – you can never do too many squats.
Squats will work your butt muscles and putting the effort into a repetitive squat routine will get your booty in shape in no time. I recommend variety, so try a combination of squats. Options include a basic squat with no weights, then try adding weights, a jump, or speed variations. You could even work your way up to split squats and one-legged squats.
There are many variations to this amazing exercise so, no matter if you are new to exercising or a seasoned professional, find the types of squat that are most comfortable for your body and add them into your fitness routine three days a week.
A great butt is not the be all and end all
By adding these exercises into your weekly routine you’ll be working your glutes and building a firm butt, but don’t forget that burning calories and being active are a great reward too.
When it comes to your body, health and wellness, we have to put jokes, vanity and the media aside. Remember that the visible benefits that come from working out are just an added bonus – it is the internal change and the improvement of your overall wellness that is of ultimate importance.
True beauty always comes from the inside.
Written by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife.