Summer Work Out: The ‘Backend’ Burn
Great Ways to Tone Your Butt!
There are many downsides to aging, but among the most seemingly unfair aspects is the effect of gravity. Though it can wreak havoc on many parts of the body, the hardest hit is often the buttocks. Coupled with cellulite, which often gets worse with age, the sagging butt syndrome can be devastating to women or men trying to look their best. Thus, if these things sound remarkably familiar, then it might be time to hit the gym – or, at the very least, your living room floor. This article addresses five ways you can improve your backend. Each of these exercises can be done as described or with the addition of weights for added impact. Take it slow, do it right, and always ask a doctor before starting a new workout routine.
For the first exercise, you won’t need much room, but you may want to stand near something – a counter, couch, or bench – that can offer support should you get off-balance. Called the crab squat, this movement begins with feet shoulder width apart and pointed out. Slowly bend the knees, as if sitting in an invisible chair. When thighs are parallel to the ground stop and hold the position and then smoothly return to standing position. Do several repetitions of this movement every day and the benefits will be quickly noted. Another great thing about this exercise is that it can be squeezed in during the day. Close the door to your office and do a few squats during lunch. While waiting for the water to boil for dinner, sneak in a few more, and then do a final set beside the bed at night.
Another great exercise is the backward leg lift. This is done while lying on your stomach on a hard surface (i.e. the floor). It will require enough room for you to lie stretched out with hands straight over your head. With your head down, pull your stomach muscles tight (think about touching your navel to your spine). Then, slowly lift one leg, just slightly off the ground. If you begin to feel tension in your back, the leg is too far from the ground and should be lowered slightly. This exercise is meant to work the butt, not the back. Hold the position for a count of fifteen and then return it, slowly, to the floor. Repeat this with the other leg. Again, several repetitions of this exercise can be done daily for best results. As your gluteus and abdominal muscles get stronger, you can change the position of this exercise slightly. This will require being positioned on your hands and knees. However, it is essential that the stomach muscles be strong enough to remain flexed throughout the exercise, or this could be stressful to the back. In this instance, the leg is lifted until in line with the back. Hold for the same count before slowly returning it to the floor and repeating with the other leg.
The stairs can also be tremendously beneficial in the battle for a firmer butt. One great way to make use of the stairs in your home begins by standing on the floor before the first stair. Begin by stepping up onto the first step with one foot and then the other. Then, one by one, return your feet to their starting positions. Repeat this ten times. Return to the first step and repeat this movement between the first and second steps ten times. Continue this pattern as you slowly climb the stairs. The workout is over when you reach the top. If it is too much for you, start more slowly. Climb only half the staircase or do fewer up-and-downs at each level.
Perhaps the most dreaded, but also among the most effective butt exercises is the lunge. This movement begins in a comfortable standing position. It will require some space. Step forward with one leg, while keeping the other planted firmly on the ground. Keeping your back straight and bend the back knee toward the ground, while keeping your front knee directly over your front heel. Allowing that knee to extend forward will negate the workout. Push up with your back leg to slowly return to standing, step back with the front leg until in the starting position and then repeat the process with the other leg. This is another great exercise that can be done in a variety of settings, so squeeze them in when you can – your butt will thank you!