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Health & fitness: Building a better badonkadonk...

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By Kent Pegg

Glutes, bottom, rear end, backside or butt. Call it what you like but we all have one and we all want a good one. And to have a good one you must have a strong one.No one wants a saggy or flabby bottom and having muscle is the key to having great glutes. With the right exercises you can get that muscle and that butt you’ve been wanting.Many exercises work the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and hamstrings. They can be worked with free weights, weight training machines or through floor work.Two of the best exercises for the glutes are squats and lunges, both performed with free weights. Since these exercises are advanced and for people with some weight training experience, make sure you have the necessary knowledge or seek the advice of a fitness professional before including them in your exercise routine.When performing squats, make sure you descend to a point where your thighs are parallel to the ground to get the best stretch and most involvement of the glutes. Warm up with lighter sets and add weight gradually until you reach the weight that you can perform for 10-12 repetitions.The safest way for most people to do lunges is to perform stationary lunges. To do this step forward with one leg and place the knee of that leg directly above your foot. Without allowing your knee to move forward, drop the knee of your back leg toward the floor. Stop before your knee reaches the floor and press yourself back up to the starting position. Again, repeat with sets of ten or twelve while holding dumbbells in your hands or a barbell across your shoulders.Weight training machines also work your glutes effectively. Leg presses with moderate to heavy weights can be an excellent exercise. Always look for a leg press machine that has a rounded back cushion to prevent involving your lower back in this heavy exercise. Flat-back leg presses force your lower back to accept some of the strain of the exercise and could cause injury.Another machine that will work the glutes is a multi hip machine where you can perform hip extensions. Place the pad behind the leg and press back by contracting your glutes while maintaining and upright position with your upper body.Other specialty weight training machines are available that are designed to work the glutes exclusively. When possible, include these in your workout routine.Floor work can also be done to supplement the glute work you’re doing in the gym. Quadruped hip extensions and rear leg raises will tighten and tone your glutes.To perform quadruped hip extensions, get on your hands and knees and extend one leg out parallel to the ground at hip height. Bend your knee 90 degrees and pull your toe in toward your shin. Then press your leg up leading with your heel. The entire movement should only be a few inches long and you should feel the tightening in your glutes.Rear leg raises are also done on your hands and knees. Extend one leg out and, while keeping your leg straight, raise your foot upward until it is slightly above hip height.This exercise, as well as the quadruped hip extensions, can be done in relatively high volume. Start with sets of 10-15 and work up to sets of 25 or so.So get to work in the gym and include more glute exercises in your workout routine. That great butt you’ve been wanting will be yours before you know it.

Kent Pegg is a certified personal trainer and the owner of the Los Alamos Fitness Center. If you have any questions about the information or exercises in this story you can call him at 662-5232.