Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ba-Dunk-A-Dunk...How Much Junk in Your Trunk? -- Finding the Perfect Butt

It seems to me there is a lot of emphasis put on your tush, derriere, behind, rear, buttocks, gluteus maximus, bum, and well, let's just say it...your @$$. Or maybe more correctly the bums of women. If you listen to the tabloids the once reigning Queen of trunks may no longer be from the block but instead now trying to cross over from reality show diva to singer? Really, a singer was her next choice? But hey, I'm not judging and I'm as guilty as the next for upping their ratings.

But on to bums...personally I get that having a nice, firm tush is a major asset. (Had to slip it in there!) I get that having that nice shape is preferable over either a flat bottom or on the flip side a jiggly one set atop cottage cheese thighs. But, where I seem to differ from some is that I don't get the whole loving a REALLY big butt. Or I guess rather, I don't necessarily think larger is always better...if it's taut, tight, and toned, YES...but if it's only large because of excess fatty tissues, NO.

My butt hasn't really ever been my big 'body part' focus; instead that has usually been wanting to get a flat stomach and some abs definition. Thanks to running lots of miles in the past I naturally was able to build up a strong butt and get a firm shape that I was happy with. But, for people who do set out wanting to build up their butts, my suggestion is to do not only glute specific exercises but hit all those leg muscles in general. Though to be honest with one you usually get the other; for example doing squats naturally works all those regions. Some great butt and leg moves:
  • Standard Squats: Yes it may sound a bit obvious but there are plenty of variations you can to to keep it interesting and ALSO keep your muscles from just adapting to one exercise and not giving you the results you want. For a leaner look you want higher rep's and lower weights, so you may want to do sets of 20-25 with some light weights or even just your body weight. If you have a flat bum are looking to build muscle and get more of a POP, go for higher weights and lower rep's. Here you should test out that bar and load some plate weights on either end; go for an amount that gets you burning after only 8-12 rep's. For all of these make sure you get down into a deep squat and that you are balancing back on your heels and not your toes. 
  • Get Plyo: Plyometrics are awesome mass builders because they tap into those fast twitch muscle fibers. So do squat jumps, bounding, box hops at various heights, all those good things.
  • Get Climbing: Stair climbing is great and so is running hills. Play around with doing hill repeats and go for different distances; do shorter quick bursts that are more like sprints one time and then find a longer hill that gets you climbing for a few minutes at a time.
  • Squat Kicks: Taking the squat idea and making it more dynamic, go down into a squatting position and then on your way up lift your right leg up and into a forward kick. Lower back to the squat and then go up with a left leg kick. Do this faster and get your heart pumping at the same time.
  • Donkey Kicks: This one you'll get down on the ground on your hands and knees; lift your left leg up until it is even with your bum and bent at the knee, now kick it up towards the ceiling and do some sets of 15, repeat with the other leg. You can also make this harder by getting into a plank position first and then doing the donkey kicks.
  • Gettin' Isometric: Holding a squatting position is another modification; get into a deep squat and hold yourself there, balancing on your heels, for 30-45 seconds and do that for a few times. Make it harder by holding weights or again getting that bar with plate weights. For people with back trouble you may want to find a wall and a big fitness ball; wedge the ball between the wall and your back and then lower into your squat.
  • Choose Your Cardio Accordingly: For this one, if you've got the choice between say a rowing machine or a treadmill opt for the latter. Do leg heavier cardio and you'll be killing two birds with one stone...or rather two cheeks with one exercise. ;)

There are TONS of ways to get your butt the way you like and these are some top picks. Now, in getting back to junk in the trunk, just how much do you people prefer?

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