For the past couple of weeks, I've been doing a strength training move tutorial for the abs....well, today, it's time for a lower body strength training move! Lower body is my favorite to train, but it wasn't always that way! (No pun intended.) I love lunges, and plie squats, but bridges are probably my favorite move. Now, I know there has been a glute craze recently, but there are far more reasons to strengthen the largest muscle group in your body other than getting rid of cellulite! Here are 3:
1. To prevent back pain - your glutes are part of the posterior chain of muscles that include the erector spinae (the muscles that run vertically along side your vertebrae) and your hamstrings (backs of your legs). If one link in this chain is weak, then your back health is greatly put at risk, because the largest muscles in your body can't do the job...think about it.
2. To burn more calories - muscle builds calories. The larger the muscle, the more calories you burn, but steady state cardio will not build muscle. Strengthening the glutes will burn more calories, because you need lean muscle to burn calories, even at rest...no muscle...no burned calories...no glutes, less calories burned...Make sure you strength train the rest of your body too!
3. To protect your knees - I love squats and lunges, but depending on how they're performed, a too much emphasis can be placed on the front side of the knee or the quads...Your muscles support your joints, and your hamstrings need to be strengthened as well. Glute bridges also strengthen your hamstrings, and your strength for certain movements, such as running will come from your glutes, not just your quads.
The how to: lie on your back. Feet flat on the floor hip width apart. (Feet should be about 12 inches from your glutes.) Pulling your navel toward your spine, press into your heels, squeeze your glutes and lift your hips off the floor...keep squeezing your glutes as you pause at the top.
Slowly lower your hips back to the start but don't quite touch the floor. This is a great move to incorporate into the beginning or end of a workout!
Happy Hump Day!