by Amy Hammond
Don’t Fall “behind” on your buns just because it is winter.
Have you ever heard the saying, “Summer bodies are built in the winter.”? Unless you are one of the lucky ones who live in hot climates year around, you know just why that saying seems to resonate with many of us. When fall is nearing its end and we are facing down 6 months of cold, snowy, dreary days, it can be very hard to stay motivated to work out and work hard. This time of year I find myself relying on my comfy sweaters to hide some of my neediest areas. Out of sight, out of mind, right? That is until April hits and the swimsuit magazines start arriving in my mailbox. Then it is panic time!
Summer bodies are built in the winter.
In an effort to remember to work on my summer body all winter long I started searching for some go to exercises for my most troublesome spots. These 6 exercises for toning and tightening your buns posted by Women’s Health Magazine fit the bill perfectly.
The author recommends doing these exercises two to three times a week. Aim for three sets of each exercise for the prescribed number of reps, resting 60 seconds between sets. Do all three sets for each exercise before moving on to the next.
EXERCISE 1: PRONE LEG RAISE
Lie facedown on the floor with your head supported by crossed arms, legs shoulder-width apart, core engaged (a). Contract your glutes to lift your legs about 12 to 16 inches off the ground and bring them together to touch (b). Pause, then slowly lower back to start. That’s one rep.
Author’s Note: For an added challenge, I try to raise my head and arms at the same time I raise my legs to form a superman pose. This really gets your core and lower back engaged in the exercise.
EXERCISE 2: GLUTE BRIDGE
Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor 12 to 16 inches from your butt (a). Brace your core, then press into your heels and squeeze your glutes to raise your hips toward the ceiling (b). HOLD the position for two seconds before lowering to start. That’s one rep.
EXERCISE 3: STRAIGHT-LEG HIP EXTENSION
Face a low cable machine and attach the ankle strap to your left ankle, HOLDING the machine lightly for support. (If you don’t have access to a cable machine, use a light resistance band.) Shift your weight onto your right leg, keeping both knees soft (a). Squeeze the glutes and extend your left leg straight behind you, keeping your toes slightly flexed (b). HOLD this position for two seconds. Return to start. That’s one rep. Complete all reps before switching sides.
Author’s Note: Like they author suggests above, when I am at home I use a resistance band for this exercise. It works great and it can even travel with you to your office or on the road.
EXERCISE 4: PLIE SQUAT
Stand with feet more than shoulder-width apart, toes turned outward 45 degrees. HOLD a barbell across your shoulders and stand tall (a). Bend your knees to lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor, keeping your chest upright and core tight (b). Press through your heels and straighten your legs to stand. That’s one rep.
Author’s Note: Don’t let not having a barbell handy give you an excuse for skipping this exercise. Hold some free weights or perform without any added weight. It is still a great move and something is better than nothing!
EXERCISE 5: WALKING LUNGE
Place a barbell across your shoulders (a), then step your left leg forward into a lunge, bending both knees to 90 degrees (b). Press through your left heel to push up and step forward into a standing position. Step your right leg forward into a lunge and repeat. Each step is one repetition.
EXERCISE 6: SPRINTER KICKBACK
Face a low cable machine and attach the ankle strap to your left ankle. (You can also use a light resistance band if necessary.) Lift your left knee up in front of you, right knee bent (a). From this position, squeeze your glutes and drive your left leg back to extend your hip until your leg is straight behind you, pressing through your left heel (b).
Better buns when the sun comes!
Shake away those winter excuses. Remember you can’t wear that long, loose sweater all year around (at least not where I live). When the sun starts making its regular appearance you will be thanking yourself for not letting the winter weather trick you into sitting around and falling behind on your buns.
Author’s Note: As I mentioned in exercise four, if you don’t have a barbell handy, you can still do all of these moves using free weights or no weight. A resistance band works great on the leg raise exercises. And, if you can’t get out to the gym due to time or weather, bring your workout home, with handy DVDs or Workout Cards.