Butt-Toning Exercises and Stretches

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What is the best way to stretch the muscles in my butt? And are there any other exercises (aside from lunges and squats) you suggest to work this area?

When we are really motivated it’s easy to over train and with intensive exercise such as target-training your behind, proper recovery time is a must. It’s during your recovery that the effects of your hard work take place, such as definition building and firming. For this reason, I recommend at least 48 hours in between workouts.

When you exercise, your muscle fibers shorten and form micro tears in the tissue. If you don’t stretch your muscles after exercising they gradually become shorter and tighter. Stretching post-exercise will help lessen this shortening and tightening effect, which is what leads to post-exercise aches and pains.

Your glutes are one of the biggest muscles of your body and are made up of three other muscles:

Gluteus Maximus – backside buttock muscle, its main function is to extend the hip
Gluteus Medius – side of our buttocks and its function is to abduct (move away) our leg
Gluteus Minimus – underneath your gluteus medius, it stabilizes your hip

Basic squats and lunges do a fantastic job of recruiting your lower leg muscles, making them great calorie-burning exercises. To optimize the great work you are already doing, I suggest adding the following exercises and stretches to your routine. Please remember to allow 48 hours rest between glute workouts.

Exercises

Side Leg Raise
• Start by lying on your side, body in a straight line, head resting on your bottom arm
• Lift your top leg just to hip height, hold for 10 counts
• Repeat 15-20 times each side

The Clam
• Start by lying on your side, head resting on your bottom arm, knees bent
• Squeezing your glutes, raise your top knee slowly for a count of 5 and then return to the starting position
• Repeat 15-20 times each side

Glute Bridge
• Start by lying on your back with your knees bent, so your can just touch your heals with your fingers
• Contract your glutes and lift them up off the ground, pushing your hips towards the ceiling
• Hold for 20-30 seconds and return to the starting position
To make this exercise more difficult, you can extend one leg in the air

Stretches

Stretching the hips is beneficial as they tend to get tight when working the glutes.

Lying stretch
• Lying down on your back, bring your knees into your chest and lower them over to the right side
• Hold for 20 seconds, then slide your top leg into a straight position and hold for another 20 seconds
• Repeat on the left side

Thread the needle:
• Lie down on your back with your knees bent so that both feet are on the floor
• Place your right ankle onto your left knee, pulling your toes back towards your right knee
• Hold of your left hamstring with your hands
• Take a deep breath in and as you exhale, lift your left foot off the floor and draw your legs towards your chest
• Keep your head, back and shoulders flat on the floor
• Repeat on the left side

Kneeling hip stretch:
• Kneel on the ground with your left leg forward, positioning your knee at a 90-degree angle
• Be sure that your left knee is aligned with your ankle
• Place your hands on your left thigh, or on the ground for more stability
• Take a deep breath in and shift your weight forward until you feel a stretch in the left hip
• Repeat right

Author:

Sarah Brown is a very healthy woman. She is not only a fitness instructor at Goodlife where she teaches Body Pump, Body Flow and yoga but she is also a registered holistic nutritionist.

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