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Fit For Life: How to Get a Tight Butt, Flat Belly + Great Legs

Saturday, April 05, 2014


Do you want a better butt? There are certain exercises that will target this problem area.

“I want a tight butt.” “Flatten my belly.” “I want nice defined legs.” If you’re a personal trainer you have heard these requests a thousand times, and if you are a woman you have said these a thousand times. In the area of most concerned parts of your body, these are yet – and usually get the most focus by many people either just starting a workout program or already working out. Although I am a believer that you cannot spot reduce one or two certain areas of the body without training the entire system, there are certain exercises that will target these problem areas.

It’s a System

I like to use what I call a systematic approach to training, meaning that I try to queue you to contract muscles while working others at the same time. An example: be aware of your feet flat on the floor, contracting your hips and squeezing your glutes, while you do an arm exercise, thus promoting the whole system to be active all the time. When people ask about training a certain area, I comply but at the same time incorporate exercises that do much more. Your butt and belly are part of your core, and most of the leg exercises will require stabilization of this area as well, so you want to do a series of exercises that will primarily hit these spots, but will benefit you in other ways.


A basic move for this body part is the “glute bridge.” Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor with your heels about 6 inches away from your butt. Slowly elevate your hips toward the ceiling, lock out, draw your belly and butt inward, squeeze and release. Repeat for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Another move is the “bird dog”. On your hands and knees with a neutral spine, extend your finger tips away from your heel forming a straight line with your spine, arm and opposite leg. Hold and squeeze for 3 seconds draw your elbow to your knee around mid section of your torso and repeat 6-8 times per side doing 3 sets.


The “standing cross crawl” is a simple yet effective exercise that promotes balance and mobility as well as a strong mid section. Stand with your arms high above your head with your feet shoulder width apart. Extend one arm high while you touch the other elbow to your knee. Alternate sides and repeat for 3 sets of 10. “Lying knee tucks” is another simple yet effective movement. Lying on your back, draw your knees to your chest, exhale and repeat for 3 sets of 15.


I like “super set quads” with hamstrings to keep the intensity high and to save time by eliminating rest periods. “Body weight squats” will work well at first but eventually you will need to load the legs with some added resistance. If weights aren't available, progress to a “split stance squat”, then progress by elevating a leg behind you for a single leg version. Hamstrings are another muscle group that will require resistance to be effective, but you can start with a few basics - try “good mornings”, place your finger tips behind your ears, draw your elbows back, then bend forward, drawing your chest toward the floor, while rocking back onto your heels, return to the starting position, squeeze your butt and repeat for 3 sets of 10. Another great hamstring movement is the “single leg deadlift”. Stand with a split stance then reach toward your left toes with your right hand. Stand tall, open your chest, flex your butt, and repeat. Do each side for 3 sets of 10. Advance this move by raising your rear leg and hold your balance. “Step ups” - find a platform approximately knee height, place one foot on the step and while keeping a tall stance, step up and lock out in the top position. Repeat this move for 3 sets of 10 on each side. To make it metabolic, alternate legs for 60 seconds rest 30 seconds then repeat.

These are basic movements that can be progressed by using dumbbells and free weights. All exercises require multiple muscle groups to work together, engaging stabilizers as well as prime movers. They won't only get you more toned, stronger and more mobil, they will help with your balance and motor control as well.


Matt Espeut has worked as a personal trainer for almost 20 years with clients ranging in age from 14 to 86. His focus is on overall health, strength, and functional conditioning. Holistic health and nutrition is the cornerstone of all his programs. Matt works in private and small group training available at your home or office location or at gym facilities. Matt offers his services to everyone wanting to be more fit and healthy, overweight young people, youth/collegiate athletes, and seniors. Matt has worked and continues to train at several facilities in the Providence area including Gold's Gym and CORE Studio, and he believes continued education is a must in his field. Email Matt: [email protected], check out his website at http://www.fitnessprofiles.net or on Facebook at Matt Espeut or on Twitter @MattEspeut.


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