When you run, walk, climb stairs or jump, it’s the gluteal muscles, or the muscles in your butt, that propel you forward, enable your hips to extend, stabilize your core, and keep your body in alignment. Weakness in the glutes has some serious and obvious disadvantages: bad posture, and a host of related injuries like Achilles tendinitis, runner’s knee, shin splints, ankle and hamstring injuries. For runners, strengthening the glutes is absolutely essential because it provides the foundation for a strong core, hips and pelvis.
Palms flat on the ground throughout the exercise; Feet flat on the floor, as close to the butt as possible. Photographs by Pradeep Gaur/Mint
There is a common misconception that running automatically works out the butt muscles—actually, if you have weak glutes to begin with, the hamstrings, quadriceps and calves take over all the work when you run, so it’s important to isolate the glutes for a thorough workout at least once a week. The glute bridge is the simplest and most effective way to a stronger, and yes, bikini-worthy, butt.
Your body should be in a straight line from shoulder to knees, with the core braced; Try to relax your hamstrings while keeping your glutes contracted.
Lie on your back, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, with your heels as close to your butt as possible. Place your hands by your side, close to your body, with the palms down on the floor. Lift your hips and back off the floor until your body is in a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Make sure your feet and the palms of your hands remain flat on the floor. Squeeze your butt at the top of the movement and make sure your back is straight and your core tight. Hold for 10 seconds, then slowly lower yourself to the floor. Repeat 10 times.
As you get better at this, try to isolate the glutes further by trying to relax your hamstrings while your glutes are contracted as hard as possible. Get a friend to place a hand on your hamstring to see whether it’s relaxed. When 10 seconds become comfortable, stay in the top position for 20 seconds, for a total of 10 repetitions.
Straighten your leg till it is in line with your spine; Maintain your balance, don’t let your spine sag.
Experts show you the perfect way to execute the most functional exercises that give your body the maximum benefit.
Do the exercise as described above, but when you reach the top of the movement, straighten your right leg slowly in the air till it forms a straight line with your spine. Hold for 10 seconds, bring your foot back down, then lower your body. Do five repetitions with the right leg, then five with the left leg.
Model: Suna Kanwar Workout Details: Ozone Fitness and Spa, New Delhi.
Coordinated by Rudraneil Sengupta.
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