BUILD A BETTER BUTT


Images by Dallas Olsen | Fitness model: Kim Dolan Leto | Hair and make-up by Lisa Lee | Equipment by Gym & Fitness

 

Whether you have a fitness contest coming up, a summer holiday on the cards or simply want to look better in your favourite pair of jeans, this fat-fighting, butt-building plan can help you get there in as little as four weeks.

 

Now, not all of you will have an interest in sculpting rock-hard, rounded glutes to simply look better from behind; some of you might want strong glutes to lift heavier, gain better form (did you know strong glutes can help to prevent your knees from tracking inward during squats, helping to avoid knee injuries?) or improve overall sports performance so you can become a fit, lean machine.

Whatever your fitness goals, strong glutes will benefit you. But remember, although the exercises are important in building and shaping your rear, a well-proportioned butt will only look impressive if the percentage of superfluous body fat is kept low. And we all know the best way to lower body fat and maintain it is to eat clean, build lean muscle and raise your heart rate regularly. When it comes to obtaining the body of your dreams, two out of three ain’t good enough. This workout will do two of those three; the third is up to you in your kitchen.

 

First and foremost, we’ve got the two kings of all exercises: the squat and deadlift. Squats hit your entire lower body, most prominently your hips, glutes and upper hamstrings. The deadlift, on the other hand, will give you a full-body workout, hitting your torso, back, legs, hips, glutes and forearms. Not only will these moves assist you to create lean muscle mass, they’ll also raise your heart rate, meaning you’ll be building muscle and burning fat at the same time.

 

The last three moves will really target those glutes to sculpt strong glutes that will inspire you to climb those stairs at work rather than take the elevator, run confidently in front of the cute guy on the street instead of mosey behind him, and slip on your favourite pair of jeans and heels to strut your stuff on a Friday night.

 

SETS AND REPS:

BEGINNERS: Perform two sets of 12 repetitions for each exercise (on each leg where appropriate).

ADVANCED: Perform three or four sets of 12 repetitions of each movement, depending on your current level of fitness, age and tolerance for progressive resistance exercise.

 

Hip extension

TARGET MUSCLES: Gluteus maximus, hamstrings

Set-up: Stand an unloaded barbell on one end, holding with both hands for balance. Step 30 to 45cm away with your feet slightly apart.

Action: Keeping your torso tall, lift your left leg behind you, making sure your knee stays straight and your toes are pointed. Hold briefly, then slowly return your leg to the start. Finish your set before repeating on your right side.

 

Tip: When lifting your foot behind you, it will rotate slightly out to the side. It’s natural – don’t try to fight it! The barbell is included here only to help you keep balance. Alternatively, place your palms flat against a wall or rest your hands on your hips.

 

Single-leg step-up

TARGET MUSCLES: Gluteus maximus, quadriceps, hamstrings

Set-up: Stand behind a 45 to 60cm bench or high step with your right foot on top.

Action: Engage your abs and raise yourself up on top of the step with your right leg while slightly raising your left leg behind you to extra glute-burn. Hold for a moment before lowering yourself back down. When your set is done, repeat with your left foot.

Tip: If raising your free leg behind you is too advanced, simply hang your non-working leg next to you.

 

For the full article and workout, check out the latest issue of Oxygen in all good newsagents, or you can click here to subscribe.