Don’t hide your “Glutei Maximi”, and don’t just count on those yoga pants to hide them either!
I have been exercising regularly since I was thirteen; that’s a staggering 38 years. I went from freely running around the school yard and spending summers in the pool, to high school and college team sports. Today, I still consider myself an athlete and someone who constantly wants to improve, and the one area that has always needed improvement, in my opinion, is the buttocks.
When yoga pants came into fashion, the glorious super spandex left women like me singing its praises. Let’s face it, a sagging backside may be a sign of age, ‘butt’ it’s never too early to fight gravity.
As my very wise younger sister once said in defense of my almighty ‘butt’, “Did you ever have a butt that was high and tight?” How I wish I could remember . . ., but the answer is probably no. Genetics are what they are and you have to work with what you’ve got. And for the lucky ones I say, “Damn you blessed girls who have flattering ‘butt’ genetics on your side.”
Truthfully, although I like my black spandex yoga pants, I’m still self-conscious in them which means I have to do more than rely on a ‘mysterious fabric’ to hold me in and up. For me, running and using an elliptical just isn’t enough. Here’s an experiment, take a quick grab of your backside when you run or walk. How does it feel back there? Now do a squat. Feel the difference? Yes, your butt muscles are working during cardio, but just doing cardio isn’t enough if you’re ‘gluteally’ challenged.
“The Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Minimus, collectively referred to as the “Glutes,” are the three gluteal muscles. The Gluteus Maximus is the largest of the three. This large skeletal muscle is responsible for providing the butt with shape and helping the thigh move.” (1)
Did you know the “Gluteus Maximus” is regarded as the strongest and largest muscles in the body? Who knew under all that flab is a set of giant muscles just waiting to be discovered, and here we are just sitting on those muscles, taking them for granted every day.
Interesting facts about the derriere.
“The rear, or butt as is popularly known, has been regarded as one of the most vital parts of the body. A firm, well-rounded behind increases fat loss and strengthens the physique. It can boost the athletic performance of a person and help carry out daily activities much better. From an early time, various workouts have been devised to toughen the posterior and provide shape to it.”(1)
Here are a few of my favorite squat exercises:
First get firmly rooted to the ground with a strong stance. With hands forward for balance or behind the head, lower your buttocks to the floor, while keeping your knees over the toes as best you can. Engage the ‘Glutes’ as you squat, and reengage them as you propel yourself back up. Do 15 repetitions, take a break, do 15 more.
Use a step or similar height object; whatever you can find. Lower left knee toward the floor and keep the right knee over the ankle. The right butt muscle, leg with foot on step, is getting the workout. Engage the ‘Glutes’ as you squat, and reengage them as you propel yourself back up. Use the left leg to stabilize and guide. Complete a set of 15 repetitions on one side before switching to the opposite leg. *Position is key- work to get the right distance between your back leg and the step to get maximum benefit.
I’m calling this a ‘sit down’ because you can do it with a chair if you need stability until you feel strong enough to do it without. Squat lifting left leg off the ground, keeping right knee over right toes. The right butt muscles are now engaged. Again, use those muscles to propel yourself back to a standing position. Alternate right and left sides; 10 to 16 repetitions would equal one set.
Like with any exercise, you must know what your body can take when it comes to length of time spent and repetitions completed. Pick numbers that suit you and work up from there. Think in sets – if one set equals 15 reps, try to do 2 or 3 sets in total with breaks in between.
We’ve got four cheeks and two of them house the largest muscles in the body. (Let’s hope we’re talking about our “Glutei Maximi”). They may come in all different shapes and sizes; big or small, round or flat, squishy or hard, lopsided or identical like twins, and they may be effected by age or genetic predisposition, but no matter how they look they deserve a little love, a little care, and a good workout!