Ester Marsh column: Does my butt look good in this?
After much (great) feedback on last week's column, I figure it is time that we move from the stomach to the buttocks.
You know all of us have asked, “Does my butt looks good in this?” or have heard this question before. There even was a commercial with some guys asking each other that same question.
Are you looking to have your butt look good in pants? It can be done with hard work and, of course, healthy eating and not just to look good in pants but also in swimwear.
The gluteus maximus (big butt muscle) is the main muscle in your buttocks. Like all other muscles, when you are not using it, you will be losing it. Don't you hate it when your “cheeks” are not in your underwear where they belong? So what can we do to get your butt back where it belongs?
As any other muscle, you have to strengthen it to get it tighter. The following exercises are emphasizing on your gluteus maximus muscle. However, I do believe in working the whole body. In your workout you could pick three or four exercises of the ones I am going to give you (all exercises focusing on the buttocks).
For strength, do 6 to 10 reps for 3 to 4 sets, and for strength endurance, do 12-20 reps 1 to 2 sets.
• Lunges — step forward with one leg and push back to start position. The farther you step forward, the more gluteus maximus you are working. This is one of my favorites. Not because I particularly like doing them but because it works so well.
• Squats — make sure you go deep enough that your upper legs are parallel with the floor. Knees do not pass your toes (you should be able to see your toes when squatting down). Back straight, head in extension of your spine.
• Kick-backs — your leg is on the roll, which should be at least horizontal or higher. The leg you are standing on is slightly bent. Bring leg down and extend towards the back without arching your back. (You probably want a trainer to show you first).
• Leg press — let your knees come as close to your chest as is comfortable for you.
The following exercises are done without weight. You can time the exercise or count.
On hands and knees, keep mid section stable—bring right knee towards chest and extend completely towards the back. Do not swing the leg up in the air (your back will thank you). Do the same on the other leg.
Same position, bring bent leg to the side. Also called “fire hydrant” (male dog lifting its leg to the side). Do the same other leg.
On stomach with forehead resting on hands. Keep both hip bones on floor—lift one leg straight off the floor keeping both hip bones on floor. When coming down, don't let your leg touch the floor. Keep the tension on the muscles. Same other side.
Lie on your back, knees bent, feet on floor, arms side ways. Lift buttocks off floor and squeeze hard. I always say in class “squeeze so hard you can empty a tube of tooth paste!”
Stay focused, work hard, eat healthy and you will be saying, “My butt does look good in this!”
Ester Marsh, ACSM CPT and Health & Fitness Director JF Hurley YMCA