Want a Better Body?
Don't Ignore This Body Part
Three exercises that will literally sculpt a better body.
There are vanity muscles and then there are functional muscles. One group gets all the attention, while the other does most of the real work. Big, round biceps and defined pecs? Vanity muscles. Strong quads or your entire core? Functional muscles. But there's one set of muscles that's a little of both—your glutes. That's right, your butt muscles. And they're often overlooked. Which leaves you with the sad, pancake-flat posterior of a middle-aged man. Look, booty training shouldn't just be for the ladies.
What you want is a rear view that's toned and strong, which not only makes you look better in clothes but will help improve posture, movement and athletic performance. "Much of your power and strength comes from the biggest muscle group in your body, your glutes," says celebrity trainer and strength and conditioning coach Michelle Lovitt, who has whipped such leading men as Jason Statham into shape. "But if you can't fire those muscles while you're working out, then you're likely to overuse your hamstrings and hip flexors instead, which can compromise your results and lead to injury." Lovitt suggests working your glutes from multiple angles, like in these three exercises below, for maximum results. They might hurt, but you'll see results. It's time to put that cushion you sit on all day to work.
Stand with your feet hip width apart and your hands behind your head. Your toes should be pointing straight ahead or only slightly outward.
Keep your weight on your heels and bend your knees while lowering your hips towards the ground as if you are sitting down on a chair.
Keeping your back straight, return to the start position by pushing down through your heels and extending your hips forward until you are standing straight.
Lie on the ground and place your right foot on a weight bench or the soft side of a BOSU balance ball. Extend your left leg straight into the air. Keep your arms flat and your core tight.
Push down with your right foot, elevating your hips. Tighten your glutes when you come to the top of the movement and hold.
Slowly, lower your body towards the ground but do not lie back down until the end of the set.
Position your hands underneath your shoulders and place your knees under your hips.
Keep your right knee bent at 90 degrees and flex the foot as you lift the knee until it is level with the hip.
Lower the knee without touching the floor and repeat the lift. Complete your reps and switch legs.