4 March 2008Add to My Folder
Help maintain an active lifestyle with these simple-to-do exercises to help shape and tone
Lunge your way to a better bottom
Here are a series of short and easy exercises that can be done quickly and hopefully make you feel psychologically better — so you can actually say to yourself ‘I have done something today!’
The bottom: (the gluteus maximus, ‘glutes’ – or simply – the bum!)
Exercise 1 SQUATS… the best exercise for the bum
1 Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
2 Tummy in, chest up, bum squeezed together.
3 Bend your knees and really push your bottom backwards to a squat position. (Note: the knees should not come forwards over your toes).
4 Stop lowering when the backs of your thighs are parallel to the floor. You should be able to see your toes in front of your knees.
5 Stand up by squeezing your bottom cheeks together, not the other way around (ie standing up and then squeezing).
6 Breathe out as you squat down and in as you rise back up.
7 Think Kylie, not J.Lo!
A healthy body is a combination of many factors, of which exercise is a small part
Exercise 2 BUM LIFTS… another great exercise for lifting and shaping
1 Lie down facing the ceiling.
2 Place feet shoulder width apart, toes turned out at a ‘ten-to-two’ o’clock position.
3 Pelvic floor muscles pulled in (imagine sucking in your belly button).
4 Raise your bottom by squeezing it together and feel it lift off the floor. (Do not lift it and then squeeze – that’s cheating!)
5 Do not arch the back at any stage.
6 Relax the muscles and bring your bottom to the floor.
Exercise 4 LUNGES
1 Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
2 Step forward onto the floor, a raised bench or step.
3 As you land, bend the back knee.
4 VERY IMPORTANT – DO NOT LET YOUR FRONT KNEE MOVE OVER THE TOES! If your front knee is coming over your toes, move the back leg further back.
5 When your front foot hits the floor (heel first), bend the back knee so it almost touches the floor (both of your knees should be about 90 degrees or thereabouts).
6 Keep the chest and shoulders up and proud.
7 Alternate each leg.
The abdomin: (the abs or tummy)
Exercise 1 BASIC SIT UP
1 Lie flat on your back with your feet on the floor and your knees roughly at 90 degrees. Pull in your tummy muscles and try to pull your lower back on the floor to ‘engage’ your abdominal muscles.
2 Take a normal breath in and slowly curl your upper body off the floor, breathing out as you do, so your shoulders are off and your eyes are looking at something in the distance slightly above your knees.
3 When you feel a tightening in your abs (it will be just underneath your rib cage going down towards your belly button), slowly curl through the spine back down to the floor and repeat.
(Note: before we carry on with other exercises, I will point out that some people who come to my classes get a stiff neck when doing sit ups. If this is you, don’t worry, this is normal to begin with. You can help this by moving your arms to behind your head, reaching for the opposite shoulder (so right arm behind the head to the left shoulder and vice versa), so that your neck is being supported by your wrists. Try to let your head relax on your wrists and it should ease this pain.)
Exercise 2 OBLIQUE CURLS
1 Lie in the same position as you were when doing the basic sit up. The main difference with this exercise is that the torso will twist to the side as you lift it up.
2 Start to take your right arm across the body and try to touch the outside of your left knee. Make sure again that your lower back is pulled onto the floor and it’s your torso that twists, not your lower back. Now it’s up to you whether you do some on one side and then change or alternate straight away, but make sure you do both sides equally.
3 Remember to breathe out as you lift and breathe in on the way down. You would be amazed how many people hold their breath. DON’T!!!!!
Exercise 3 REVERSE CURLS
1 These are quite difficult to do properly, but when done correctly give a ‘nice’ feeling in the lower abdominal muscles, just below the belly button. Again, lie on your back, but slowly pull your knees up to your chest and leave them there, holding your knees as close to your chest as you can (and I don’t mean hold with your hands! Use your tummy muscles to hold them there).
2 Pull your abdominal muscles in as tight as you can and then squeeze them as hard as you can. You will see your knees coming towards your chest, this is exactly what you want, the knees to come in slightly, but without you swinging your legs backwards and forwards.
3 Again, breath in as your knees come in and breathe out as they relax slightly.This is one of the few times that smaller is better. The smaller the movement — the more concentrated the exercise and the better the results.
Exercise 4 DOUBLE CRUNCHES
1 This is a more advanced version of the reverse curl, where the knees still come slightly towards you, but you also lift your upper torso in the same way that you did in the basic lift, as described in Exercise 1. You will feel these quite quickly as they are quite intense, but very effective.
2 Try to be in control all of the time and make movements smooth. Always listen to your body and stop when it hurts.
These are all general exercises and you cannot expect fantastic results from them on their own. A healthy body is a combination of many factors, of which exercise is a small part. Good luck!
Tips and advice
You can do the exercises I have suggested as much as you like, but when doing the lunges, make sure that you do each leg equally. All of the above exercises should hit the spot. With regards to numbers of repetitions per exercise, it’s always best to use common sense. If you’re new to exercising – start slowly and then build up. Also, take time to warm up before doing any of the exercises.