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Booty Call

Big, small, round, boney, bulbous, flat, flabby, jubbly – whatever the shape or type, the best bum is a toned one.

Whether your motivation is a pair of skinny jeans, a bottom-hugging dress or the thought of long summer days on the beach – with a bit of hard work, you can get your butt into shape. And, as we’ve recently learned, the benefits of a toned bum extend well beyond the aesthetic.

To get to the bottom of this first world dilemma, womanwithdrive spoke with Personal Trainer and Pilates Instructor, Paul Torcasio from Nu Fitness in Albert Park.

“It’s no secret that the hips and bum are common problem areas for women. For physiological/childbearing reasons, women tend to store body fat around the hips and buttock. So although not as dangerous as the male equivalent – around the stomach and internal organs which increases the risk of heart disease and cancer – it still causes cosmetic distress and confidence issues with women.” says Paul.

“The bottom is made up of  gluteal muscles – a critical muscle group that promotes extension and upright posture when you are walking and running – plus it stabilises your lower limbs. So by increasing the involvement and recruitment of your gluteal muscles you will gain a range of benefits.”

 

–  Increased muscle tone and firmness

–  Decreased load and tension through the lower back

–  A more upright and longer posture

–  More stability and strength through your entire body – to the benefit of    other physical activity.

–  Strengthened gluteals will allow you to exercise longer and more    frequently, thus expending more energy and body-fat.

 

Paul’s Top Five Glute Exercises:

 

Bridging – Lay on your back with feet hip width apart. Pull your belly button into your spine, breathe out and drive your hips up towards the ceiling, moving vertebra by vertebra from your tailbone until you’re resting on your shoulder blades. Breathe in at the top of the movement in preparation for the descent. Breathe out as you imprint your vertebrae one by one, from your mid-back down to your tailbone. Breathe in at the bottom of the movement and prepare for your second repetition -
 (10 – 15 reps)

 

Squatting – Standing upright with your feet hip width apart, pull your belly button into your spine, breathe in and sit your bottom back as though you’re sitting down on an imaginary bench. Simultaneously raise your arms straight up to shoulder height ensuring your torso is upright and shoulders drawn back. Breathe out as you extend upwards, driving tall whilst lowering your arms to your sides by squeezing your lats (underarms) – (10 – 15 reps)

 

The Clam – Lie on your side with your head on a bolster and your torso, hips and feet all in alignment. Engage your core and hold your feet off the ground. Without moving through your hips, raise and lower your top knee while squeezing through the side of your top bottom until you feel a good burn. Breathe out on the way up, and in on the way down.  Repeat on the other side -
(15 – 20 reps)

 

Hip flexor stretch – Stretching out through the hip flexors (the muscles on the front of the thighs and hips) will enable greater extension through the hips and a stronger, more toned butt. Start in a lunge position with one knee on the ground, tighten your core and drive your hips forward.  Feel the stretch through the front of your grounded thigh and hip -
(Hold for 40 seconds on each side)

 

Step ups – Standing side-on to a bench, set up onto the bench with the inside leg, transferring all your weight onto this leg, drawing in your abdominals, push through your butt to extend upright.

Your other knee should be high and you should feel like your loaded side is keeping the upright posture. Step down keeping all the load through the leg on the bench – 
(10 – 15 reps)

 

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