Fit For Life: How to Get a Tight Butt, Flat Belly + Great Legs
Saturday, April 05, 2014
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.
Related Slideshow: 10 Great Yoga Spots
The Core Connection
The Core Connection in Northborough offers so much more than a traditional yoga studio. They’ve got yoga, which creates a union between mind, body and soul; Pilates for a strong core; and cardio/fusion to help you burn calories and kick fat to the curb. This studio is also perfect for teen girls; they have a special class just for teens that promotes self confidence, posture, flexibility and strength.
290 West Main Street, Northborough, MA. (508) 393-8086.
Bikram Yoga Auburn
For a twist on traditional yoga, visit Bikram Yoga Auburn. Bikram Yoga is a type of yoga that includes 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises. It is practiced in a heated room, and is one of the most challenging—and effective—exercise programs in the world. Bikram Yoga Auburn is the perfect place to get in on the action. Check out their Early Bird Special: 6 at 6! Enjoy their Monday-Friday 6 am class for only $6.
567 Southbridge Street, Auburn, MA. (508) 832-YOGA.
Metrowest Yoga offers two convenient locations so that you can have close access to the practice of yoga wherever you are. To make things better, Metrowest literally has a class perfect for anyone. Choose from kids classes for mini yogis, open meditation sessions, power hours for fat burning and strength building, and classes for total beginners.
69 Milk Street, Westborough, MA. (508) 366-5025.
32 Millbrook Street, Worcester, MA. (508) 752-1533.
C. Mass Yoga & Wellness
West Boylston’s Central Mass Yoga & Wellness offers a unique program to anyone who wants to help combat post traumatic stress disorder and combat stress: Yoga Warriors International. The mission of this program is to use the calming properties of the practice of yoga to alleviate the symptoms of PTSD and COSR. Other programs include hot yoga to soothe the muscles, healing yoga designed for those who have experienced loss, and more.
45 Sterling Street, West Boylston, MA. (508) 835-1176.
On Saturday, January 11, take a trip to Earthsong Yoga in Marlborough for the Earthsong Yoga Open House! Enjoy free yoga and a massage from 9 am-1 pm and see what Earthsong is all about. Learn about their special pre-natal yoga classes for expecting moms, family classes including stories or guided meditation, children’s classes, and Evening Flow classes to prepare you for bed.
186 Main Street, Marlborough, MA. (508) 251-9620.
Wellness Works Yoga & Healing Arts is the perfect place to start yoga later in life. Wellness Works is dedicated to sharing the practice and art of yoga with Worcester’s seniors, although people of all ages are invited and encouraged to join. Try yoga classes ranging from Rise and Shine morning classes to meditation sessions and more. Also, enjoy healing massage techniques like Reiki, reflexology, and polarity.
128 Providence Street, Worcester, MA. (508) 330-4258.
Auburn Yoga & Pilates
Find inner-peace and fight fat at Auburn Yoga & Pilates Center. Try out the Community Pilates class for only $5 on the 1st and 3rd Fridays of the month. complete with spinning classes, family classes, pre-natal classes, and more. Even better: Auburn Yoga & Pilates Center offers special pricing for college students!
889 Southbridge Street, Auburn, MA. (508) 832-8177.
At Flowforms Yoga, you can try before you buy. Your first class—any class—is free! If you find that you want more, Flowforms also has a new student special: 5 classes for only $50. Explore Body Mechanics classes that will aid in body awareness, traditional Indian Yoga, Yoga for Birth (designed for couples), and several other great workshops and classes offered at the studio.
195 Lake Avenue, Worcester, MA. (508) 752-4700.
State of Grace
If you are looking for a one-stop shop to renew your body and your mind, look no further than State of Grace Yoga and Wellness Center in Uxbridge. Stop by to take part in level-specific or mixed level yoga and meditation classes. New students can take advantage of their 40 for 30 offer: $40 for 30 days of completely unlimited yoga.
104 E. Hartford Avenue, Uxbridge, MA. (508) 278-2818.
Every Body Balance
If you are like the many people searching for balance in their life, why not give Every Body Balance in Southborough a try? This unique studio uses the serenity of a yoga mindset and the body benefits of Pilates to craft great classes for people of all ages and skill levels. Strength and Flexibility Yoga for Every Body and Candle Light Yoga are favorites.
155 Boston Road, Southborough, MA. (508) 485-8585.
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