Improve Your Rear View

Are all those hours of sitting at a desk or in meetings showing on your backside? You're not alone. "Reducing and toning the glutes is a common fitness goal for many of my clients," says Brad Lepin, a trainer at The Pearl 24 Hour Fitness in Portland. Lepin's strategy for these clients includes exercise – both cardio and weight training – as well as nutrition.

Get With the Program

"First and foremost, before we work on firming, toning and sculpting, we get the eating habits in line. Sometimes I instruct clients to keep a food log so we can identify any poor food choices," says Lepin.

Once that is in order, they set up a program to attack the target area, which is made up of three main muscles: gluteus maximus, gluteus minimus and gluteus medius. The gluteus maximus is the largest; the others lie under the gluteus maximus and hold the pelvis upright.

"The program of weight training and cardio will differ in intensity, depending on the person," says Lepin. "For the novice, it is usually a combination of weight training three times per week and 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week." Beginners should check with a doctor before embarking on a program to firm the glutes – or any exercise program.

"For the gym rat, the amount of strength training and length of cardio is increased. In any case, changing up your exercises is important because if the body gets accustomed to only one (exercise) you will lose efficiency." Perform cardio and weights on the same day or alternate days.

Cardio For the Glutes

True cardio, Lepin says, is any action 20 minutes or longer that elevates the heart rate. Whether you're a seasoned athlete or fitness neophyte, there are some great cardio exercises that target the glutes.

  • Hiking - Walking is a good workout for the glutes, especially on hilly or mountainous areas.
  • Cycling or spinning - Biking targets almost every muscle in the hips, thighs and butt. Move efficiently and avoid rocking side to side.
  • Running - Running is always great for the glutes; add some hills to your training regimen.
  • Walking - Make sure you're walking at a fast enough pace to make it count!
  • Elliptical trainer - This works even better if you stand upright and try not to use the handrails.

Strength Training For the Glutes

There are many machines and exercises for this area that allow you to vary your strength training routine. "As long as it involves hip extension, you are bound to be working the gluts," says Lepin.

  • Squats - Sit back as far as you can; the deeper the squat, the more you–re working the muscles.
  • Lunges - Do these while holding dumbbells or barbells down at your side or without weights. Clench the glutes as you push up from the floor.
  • Leg lifts - Add ankle weights to make them more effective.
  • Leg press - Use a slow, controlled motion.
  • Butt Blaster or any other hip extension machine – Again, use slow, controlled motions.
  • Dumbbell step-up - Dumbbells in hand, raise one foot to a platform or bench and "step up!" Stepping a distance from the bench works the glutes.

"Some people plateau on exercise machines because they–re not using enough weight. They should increase weight if they want to get results and change muscle appearance." Lepin suggests starting out in one session with 8 to 12 reps of the usual weight. Then, in the next session on another day, increasing the weight to the point of muscle fatigue or even muscle failure but doing fewer (4 to 7) reps. After the weight increase, give the body a rest before building to 15 or more reps with the increased weight.

Eating better and adding cardio and strength training to your weekly schedule will surely improve your rear view. Get started at 24 Hour Fitness today! If you have questions or would like a demo of the proper form, just ask any of our trained fitness professionals!

This information and other information on this site is intended for general reference purposes only and is not intended to address specific medical conditions. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice or a medical exam. Prior to participating in any exercise program or activity, you should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional. No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition.