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Ester Marsh: A little work can keep butt tight

Q. What are some good “buns of steel exercises,” and do they work?
A. Yes, I believe in working the Gluteus Maximus (the Latin name for the butt muscle) hard.
As I have mentioned before, you cannot spot reduce by only doing buttocks exercises. However, you can strengthen and tighten those areas.
My favorite exercise for the buttocks (and legs) is the lunge. Start with both feet together. Then take a big step forward with one foot. Make sure your knee stays above your ankle and does not go further than your toes.
From that stance, push back to the start position. Make sure your upper body is erect. Do not lean forward.
You can alternate legs or you can finish one leg, and then start the other one. You can perform them without weights, or use a barbell or a set of D-bells.
This is working more than just your buttocks of course. You also will be working your leg muscles as well.
Another great exercise is squats. Done the proper way, they can give you a great buttocks and leg workout.
Pretend you are ready to sit in a chair. As you are in the process of sitting, stop right above the seat and stand back up. Your back is straight, chest up, neck in alignment with the rest of your spine.
Do not look up. It is not good for your neck.
Your weight should be toward your heels, which should give you the ability to wiggle your toes.
There are also the famous kick-back and “butt buster” machines, which will give you a great work out. All these exercises will help you tone and strengthen your buttocks and legs but it does not make your fat miraculously disappear.
Remember the message from the last 3 columns? Eating better and exercising regularly will help you with your body composition.
Go slow and use the proper technique. This way you will get a lot more out of your work out. There are five components of fitness; strength; strength endurance; cardiovascular; flexibility; and body composition.
Throughout all of your workouts, you should have a balance between all of them.
For example, to do a lunge that focuses on strength, you should do between eight to 12 repetitions.
To focus on strength endurance, you can do 15 reps to one minute at a time. If you go past one minute, change directions, speed and movement to prevent overuse.
Use common sense. If it hurts your knees, stop. Have a trainer re-evaluate your technique and possibly change your exercise routine.
You can use some great pre-set programs on the elliptical machine that will focus on the buttocks and legs, take a cycling class or put your treadmill on an incline to feel how hard your buttocks and legs have to work.
Cross train. It keeps you, and your body from getting bored. Do not be afraid, try something new and find out how much fun exercising can be.
And last but not least, accept what God and your parents gave you. Some people can do all the butt exercises in the world and nothing will make it perk up. Or the opposite is OK, and that booty is not going anywhere.
However, with dedication and exercise it stay high and tight.
Good luck.
Ester H Marsh, ACSM Cpt

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