Thanks to our sedentary lifestyles, the muscle fibers in our booties often stop functioning the way they're meant to. Many of the most active people that come to me for training have inactive glutes. Namely, long distance runners, Pilates practitioners, routine lifters and even devoted yogis are all guilty of lights-out booties.
Never fear, sleepy bottoms! Here are some simple way to integrate corrective, exercise-inspired mindfulness into what you're already doing to help wake up those glute muscles.
1. Thrust up.
When you're coming up from a squat or chair position, squeeze your butt forward while also pulling your lower abs (the spot below your belly button) in toward your spine like someone's going to punch you in the gut. Basically, you'll be thrusting your way back up from the low position of a squat. You can also mimic this motion when coming up from lunges, single leg squats and deadlifts.
It's important to be mindful of your hips while you do this: make sure you're not arching your lower back any further than your natural curve. If you do, your butt won't be doing the work — your lower back and hip flexors will.
2. Work your abs.
Often, when I get a client's abs working like they're supposed to, the butt follows suit. To get your abs firing with your butt, try this move:
Butt Squeeze Bicycles
- Lying on the ground with your legs out straight, flex your feet and place your hands behind your head. Now squeeze your butt so hard that your hips lift slightly, while also bringing your lower abs in toward your spine. It helps to think of "tucking your tailbone," like you're trying to touch the tip of your tailbone to your bellybutton. Don't let your lower back arch further than the natural curve in your spine.
- Keep squeezing your right butt cheek while bringing your left knee in to a 90 degree angle. Crunch up and twist your right elbow around to the outside of your left knee. Slowly return to the start position, keeping lower abs deep and tailbone tucked.
- Squeeze your left butt cheek now and do the same movements on the other side. Do 20 slow reps total for 2-3 sets, three times per week.
Glutes and abs are meant to get along! Don't keep these two muscle groups apart.
3. Get up and move.
It's our sedentary lifestyles that make our derrières so sleepy. So get up and get moving as often as you can! If you work at a desk, set a timer for every 15-30 minutes. When it goes off, do one of these three things:
- 20 bodyweight squats (don't forget to thrust!).
- Climb three flights of stairs and then walk back down to return to your desk.
- Take a walk around the block. Not only will moving be good for you, so will the fresh air and change of scenery.
Don't get overwhelmed. Taking just one of the steps above is enough to wake up — and perk up! — that derriere of yours!
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