Having a rear view that is pleasing to the eye takes more than a few side lying Jane Fonda style leg lifts. No offense to Fonda, as these classic exercises do help improve tone, but to really get a round, shapely butt, it takes a lot more.
The following are the exercise she will demonstrate:
1. Plie Squat:
This works the quadriceps, hamstrings, with emphasis on inner thighs and glutes. Start off the workout with this exercise (after a good 10 minute cardio warm-up and gentle stretching) to pre-exhaust the quadriceps and inner thigh muscles. The idea is to tire these muscles a bit so that the glutes work harder in the following exercises with less help from stabilizer muscles. Depending upon your strength and weaknesses you should feel this especially in your inner thighs and even the glutes. If your quadriceps lack strength, they will tire with this movement, which is the idea. Minna will use a heavy dumbbell for this.
2. Reverse Lunge:
This is THE best butt exercise in her opinion. The reverse direction of the lunge allows you to really place all the workload into the glutes. It is a compound movement, so it recruits a lot of muscle fibers, which means you are really working your butt off (or on!). It takes some feeling through it to find how far back you should lunge. The main idea is to keep your mind focused into your glutes, maintain joint integrity throughout the movement and keep your body weight in the forward heel. This is Minna's own claim to fame for keeping her butt fit. Use appropriate weight towards your goal. If your glutes barely exist, use heavy weight. If you need to tone down, just use body weight and higher reps. Minna will use a pair of dumbbells for this.
3. One legged Squat:
This is great to superset with the reverse lunge. After you've done a set of reverse lunges, immediately do a set of one-legged squats. The squat is a classic exercise for shaping the legs and glutes. Being on one leg only, instead of two, requires more strength in the quads, but by now, the quads are tired from the plie squats and lunges, so the glutes will work harder.
Here's how you can triple the effect - if you've got it in you, add this exercise onto the set after the lunges and squats. Hold this pose for 10-30 seconds or until your buns are burning - this will really exhaust your glutes.
5. Dead Lift:
Even if you do not have the flexibility in your hamstrings, doing a bent knee version works just as well, if not better. It is a stretching type movement, which is a great way to end your strength workout. It really works the hamstrings, which is necessary for support so that the glutes don't sag. It also really works the glutes and lower back, done right with correct form and mental focus. Done incorrectly, the back takes all the stress, so form and tight abs are crucial on this exercise.
For more fitness tips, visit Minnalessig.com.
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