Fit For Life: How to Get a Tight Butt, Flat Belly + Great Legs
Saturday, April 05, 2014
It’s a System
I like to use what I call a systematic approach to training, meaning that I try to queue you to contract muscles while working others at the same time. An example: be aware of your feet flat on the floor, contracting your hips and squeezing your glutes, while you do an arm exercise, thus promoting the whole system to be active all the time. When people ask about training a certain area, I comply but at the same time incorporate exercises that do much more. Your butt and belly are part of your core, and most of the leg exercises will require stabilization of this area as well, so you want to do a series of exercises that will primarily hit these spots, but will benefit you in other ways.
A basic move for this body part is the “glute bridge.” Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor with your heels about 6 inches away from your butt. Slowly elevate your hips toward the ceiling, lock out, draw your belly and butt inward, squeeze and release. Repeat for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.
Another move is the “bird dog”. On your hands and knees with a neutral spine, extend your finger tips away from your heel forming a straight line with your spine, arm and opposite leg. Hold and squeeze for 3 seconds draw your elbow to your knee around mid section of your torso and repeat 6-8 times per side doing 3 sets.
The “standing cross crawl” is a simple yet effective exercise that promotes balance and mobility as well as a strong mid section. Stand with your arms high above your head with your feet shoulder width apart. Extend one arm high while you touch the other elbow to your knee. Alternate sides and repeat for 3 sets of 10. “Lying knee tucks” is another simple yet effective movement. Lying on your back, draw your knees to your chest, exhale and repeat for 3 sets of 15.
I like “super set quads” with hamstrings to keep the intensity high and to save time by eliminating rest periods. “Body weight squats” will work well at first but eventually you will need to load the legs with some added resistance. If weights aren't available, progress to a “split stance squat”, then progress by elevating a leg behind you for a single leg version. Hamstrings are another muscle group that will require resistance to be effective, but you can start with a few basics - try “good mornings”, place your finger tips behind your ears, draw your elbows back, then bend forward, drawing your chest toward the floor, while rocking back onto your heels, return to the starting position, squeeze your butt and repeat for 3 sets of 10. Another great hamstring movement is the “single leg deadlift”. Stand with a split stance then reach toward your left toes with your right hand. Stand tall, open your chest, flex your butt, and repeat. Do each side for 3 sets of 10. Advance this move by raising your rear leg and hold your balance. “Step ups” - find a platform approximately knee height, place one foot on the step and while keeping a tall stance, step up and lock out in the top position. Repeat this move for 3 sets of 10 on each side. To make it metabolic, alternate legs for 60 seconds rest 30 seconds then repeat.
These are basic movements that can be progressed by using dumbbells and free weights. All exercises require multiple muscle groups to work together, engaging stabilizers as well as prime movers. They won't only get you more toned, stronger and more mobil, they will help with your balance and motor control as well.
Related Slideshow: 10 Great Yoga Spots
Providence Power Yoga
Providence Power Yoga is the perfect place to get your daily dose of calm, whether you are just beginning the exploration of yoga or have been reaping its benefits for years. Try Revive and Restore for the ultimate class in revitalization and relaxation. If you’re a music lover, Chillwave Solar Flow is your go-to class, complete with fun electronic indie music and heated power-yoga.
51 Bassett Street, Providence, RI. (401) 273-3500.
Bristol Yoga Studio
If you are a yoga beginner or are experiencing the body changes that come with pregnancy, Bristol Yoga Studio is the place to go. Beginners will benefit from Kripalu Yoga, a mixed-level class that emphasizes wholeness, meditation, and balance. Pre-natal yoga will teach breathing techniques, body awareness, and more that will help both in labor and after you have had your child.
13 State Street, Bristol, RI. (401) 569-0147.
Boiler House Bikram Yoga
Boiler House Bikram Yoga in Providence is the place to be for all things Bikram Yoga. Bikram Yoga is a yoga practice that incorporates 26 traditional Hatha Yoga poses and 2 breathing exercises in a hot room. The benefits of Bikram Yoga include detoxification, increased libido, reduced stress, and so much more. Try it out for yourself; we did!
166 Valley Street, Providence, RI. (401) 383-3840.
Yoga Loft RI
Beginners can’t go wrong with Yoga Loft RI in Warren. Try out Yin Restorative Yoga to bring balance to your life, Sunday Morning Yoga for a healthy and rejuvenating start to your week, or Beginners Belly Dance for a fun and creative experience. If you’ve got little ones, sign them up for the Kid’s Yoga Club!
16 Cutler Street, Warren, RI. (401) 245-0881.
Santosha Yoga Studio
Santosha Yoga Studio & Holistic Center offers so much more than yoga. Enjoy complementary wellness consultations to learn the right path for you to take at the center. Explore acupuncture, therapeutic massage, organic facials, and other great holistic services at the center. If you or someone you know are a survivor of cancer, be sure to check out special classes geared towards survivors.
14 Bartlett Avenue, Cranston, RI. (401) 780-9809.
Eyes of the World
Saturday, January 18 from 12:30-2:30 pm, start your yoga journey at Eyes of the World Yoga Center in Providence. For only $18 with early registration, try out a two-hour beginner’s workshop that will show you everything that the center has to offer. Learn the basics of yoga posture, focus, contentment, and humility. Another unique feature of Eyes is free yoga for veterans that suffer from PTSD—visit their website to see how you can help.
1 Park Row, Providence, RI. (401) 295-5002.
Breathing Time Yoga
Breathing Time Yoga in Pawtucket is out to prove to the world that yoga is beneficial to everyone, regardless of weight, age, sex, or ability. This is made evident with their Yoga for Curvy Women class—awesome! Other unique classes and workshops include Stress Less for Teens, Mom & Baby Yoga, Mindful Eating and more! Take a trip to the studio to find a class that’s right for you.
541 Pawtucket Avenue, Pawtucket, RI. (401) 421-9876.
The Heron Studio
The Heron Studio in nearby Fall River incorporates yoga, meditation and dance into their studio culture. Yoga is taught on three levels: introductory for beginners, intermediate to broaden understanding and goals in the practice of yoga, and advanced for students who wish to bring yoga off the cushion and into their daily lives. Several dance classes are taught that embrace community, fitness, strength, and well being.
187 Plymouth Avenue, Fall River, MA. (774) 365-4016.
Check out Shri Studio in Pawtucket for a mindful and relaxing yoga experience. Highlights of their extensive class list include Yoga for Seniors, Gentle Yoga (free for followers of the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Center, plus one guest!), and Forrest Yoga—designed to address physical and emotional stresses that may be stored within the body.
21 Broad Street, Pawtucket, RI. (401) 441-8600.
Next Tuesday, January 14 at 6:30 pm, visit Serenity Yoga in Warwick for a $10 drop-in yoga session. The class will incorporate a half-hour of yoga practice and a half-hour of guided meditation—the perfect remedy for your hectic week. While you’re in, make sure to check out all of the classes that the center offers.
21 College Hill Road, Warwick, RI. (401) 615-3433.
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