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How To Get A Better Butt: 5 Rules For Stronger Glutes

 

Strong, round glutes are the foundation of a great physique and a healthy body. Unfortunately, many of us have weak glutes that just get weaker because we sit all day. Aside from not looking so great, feeble butt muscles can cause a litany of postural problems and pain issues. Even worse, having a weak bum means your primary lifts like the squat and the deadlift aren’t as strong as they could be. If that doesn’t motivate you to put some muscle on your backside, I don’t know what will!

To restore your ailing glutes, you need to make training them a priority. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with constantly tight hips and probably contract flat-ass disease.

Save your butt from these depressing side effects by following these five rules. They’ll help you feel stronger and more mobile. They’ll also help you add some great-looking curves to your rear end.

Hit Them Baby One (Okay, Three) More Times

If your training routine only calls for one glute-specific workout per week, it’s time to ramp things up. Glutes adapt well to frequency— the more often you train them, the quicker they grow in size and strength. Rather than performing a single glute workout once per week, add booty-busting exercises to each workout you do during the week.

Try this: Add loaded hip thrusts, glute bridges, hip abduction exercises, back extensions, or hip extension exercises to your daily workouts.

Single-leg bodyweight glute bridge

Mix Up Your Hip Extension

Hip extension is important for pelvic stability and daily movement. Walking, running, standing, and sitting in with proper posture begins and ends with your butt.

In this age of computers and cubicles, people spend most of their time in hip flexion (seated position). More often than not, long bouts of sitting cause tight quads, a tight psoas muscle, and weak hip extensors—namely the gluteus maximus.

To alleviate these symptoms and put yourself on a path to a perkier posterior, it’s wise to activate your hip extensors regularly. Hip extension occurs when the thighs or pelvis move rearward. The most common—and best—exercises for hip extension are the squat and deadlift. These two lifts belong in your lifting regimen along with assistance exercises to pack on glute mass.

Try this: Use squats and deadlifts as a primary hip extension exercises and add in one or two assistance exercises to each routine. Assistance lifts include, but aren’t limited to: Romanian deadlifts, single-leg Romanian deadlifts, hip thrusts, glute bridges, back extension, reverse hyperextension, glute kickback, and donkey kick.

“The most common—and best—exercises for hip extension are the squat and deadlift. These two lifts belong in your lifting regimen along with assistance exercises to pack on glute mass.”

Add a Little Abduction, Too

Your hips articulate in several ways other than the all-important extension. Your hips can also move in flexion, medial and lateral rotation, adduction, and abduction. If you move your hips in circles, you’ll get the idea. Along with hip extension, another important element of strong glutes is hip abduction, or moving the thighs outward from your midline.

Your glute medius is a major abductor of the thigh. Its anterior fibers rotate the hip internally while the posterior fibers rotate the hip externally. A strong glute medius will control any unwanted sideways movement in your pelvis. For example, if your left hip drops when you stand on your right leg, your right glute medius is probably weak. An unlevel pelvis can lead to other issues like IT band syndrome and patellofemoral pain syndrome, neither of which is pleasant.

Try this: To strengthen the glute medius, add 2 sets of 10 reps of standing cable hip abduction and 2 sets of 12 reps of seated band hip abduction twice per week.

Keep Your Booty Active

If you sit on them all day, your glutes will just become weaker and weaker. This weakness can be compounded when other muscles have to take over a lift in order to compensate for them. Avoid a weak booty by doing a series of activation and mobility drills ten minutes a day. Practicing glute activation will help them fire during every exercise.

Try this: Perform 10 reps of each exercise once per day.

  • Single-leg bodyweight glute bridge
  • Fire hydrant
  • Bird dog
  • Standing glute squeeze

Get Tense

“Passive tension is how your hamstring muscles feel at the bottom of a Romanian deadlift.”

Mechanical tension is the bee’s knees when it comes to muscle hypertrophy (growth). Mechanical tension occurs when you passively stretch or actively contract the muscle. Passive tension is how your hamstring muscles feel at the bottom of a Romanian deadlift and active tension is how your biceps feel as you contact in a barbell curl. Both are key players in muscle growth, and both can make a big difference in gluteal development.

When using a full range of motion (ROM), your muscles are placed under a combination of both passive and active tension. For example: At the bottom of a squat, your glutes are in a stretched (passive tension) position; at the top, they’re in a squeezed (active tension) position.

Maintaining this tension through a full range of motion is optimal for gains. To do it, control your reps, keep a steady tempo, and don’t rely on momentum to get through the exercise—oh, and don’t skimp on the ROM.

Try this: To increase mechanical tension, use a tempo for your exercises. Tempo is expressed as a series of 3 or 4 numbers, such as 2-2-2. The first number is the number of seconds in the eccentric (lowering) portion of the movement, the second number is the pause, and the third number is the number of seconds in the concentric (lifting) portion of the movement.

You can incorporate an exercise tempo as simple as 2-2 or 3-3. You can also incorporate a pause in the middle, like 3-3-3, or even have a longer eccentric portion like a 4-3 tempo. Remember, though, that adding a tempo doesn’t mean you get to forgo a full range of motion.

 

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Round Butt, Rockin’ Body: Glute Training For Women

Hey ladies! If you focus on training your glutes, you’ll get a whole body’s worth of benefits! Here’s the best way to a better rear end and a more aesthetic physique.

About The Author

Kellie Davis is a freelance writer and blogger turned fitness coach living in Northern California.

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How To Get A Better Butt: 5 Rules For Stronger Glutes

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Skinny To Strong: Karina Baymiller’s Complete Fitness Journey

Vital Stats

In the fitness community, I’m most often recognized because of my big weight-loss transformation. I went from 185 pounds to a little less than 130 pounds. It took me a few years to get to my lowest weight, but I followed the motto that slow and steady wins the race and I never gave up. I know it was this attitude that helped me place second the 2013 Bodybuilding.com BodySpace Spokesmodel Competition.

Sometimes, I look back and can’t believe how far I’ve come. I don’t even remember the girl who had never stepped foot in a gym and gorged on pizza, chips, and ramen all day.

But I’ve decided my transformation work is not yet done—in fact, it’s only just begun! I’m on a second transformation journey, and this time I’m putting my happiness and my health first. I’m transforming my body from skinny to strong, and my mind from unhealthy to happy.

Before

After

Why I Decided to Change … Again

Believe it or not, when I weighed 185 pounds, I was one confident girl. I loved my body and never thought of myself as fat. I was who I was and that was that. I wasn’t defined by my body’s appearance. But that self-confidence changed the moment I decided I should lose weight. It seemed as though the more weight I lost, the more self-conscious about my appearance I became. I reached every weight-related goal I had set for myself, and yet I was never good enough.

At 125 pounds and with barely enough body fat to function, I competed for the first (and last) time with anxiety that I was “too fat” to be on stage. I had become so progressively wrapped up in numbers and body fat percentages over the few short years of dieting, that I was mentally destroyed.

I also noticed that my training started to suffer. I first began working out to be healthy and because I loved the way it made me feel, but I had lost sight of those reasons. I trained to burn calories and stay as thin as possible. If I didn’t burn enough calories according to my heart rate monitor—which was never accurate anyway—my mood was ruined. More often than not, I would make myself go back to the gym later to do HIIT or run. I started to hate outdoor runs because I was forcing myself to do them. I allowed my training to control me. I stopped doing the things I enjoyed in exchange for doing whatever it took to stay thin.

Along with a severely distorted body image and training that was running me into the ground, my relationship with food started to become extremely disordered. Gone were the days of using food for fuel. If my food wasn’t weighed out to the gram and if I didn’t prepare it myself, I refused to eat it. There were days that I had full-blown anxiety attacks because I couldn’t log something in MyFitnessPal.

“If I didn’t burn enough calories according to my heart rate monitor—which was never accurate anyway—my mood was ruined. More often than not, I would make myself go back to the gym later to do HIIT or run.”

I began taking hours of my day to try to configure my food so I would hit my macros just perfectly. If I didn’t, another anxiety attack would ensue. To say I was obsessed is an understatement. I restricted myself with calories, types of foods, and situations. God forbid I would eat a cookie!

I felt like I was drowning, like I was just barely holding my head above water. Everything I had loved so much in the beginning—the healthy eating, the workouts, my body—now had complete control of my life. They were no longer positives. They had become negatives, weighing me down with each passing day. I knew I had to change. It was only a matter of time before I broke down completely.

That’s when I decided I wanted to find strength.

Letting Go

The first thing I had to change was my mindset. I had to let go of the unhealthy habits that were slowly suffocating me. My negative body image was, and still is to this day, the hardest thing to let go of. I found it much easier to allow for self-hate than to find self-love. Sadly, I think this is true for many people. But I had to let go.

I had to let go of having visible abs 24/7. I had to let go of desperately trying to maintain 12 percent body fat. I had to let go of the number on the scale. Most importantly, I had to let go of the idea that I would only be happy if I was lean. I wanted to be happy when I looked in the mirror, and I knew it wouldn’t come from a certain size. It had to come from letting go and loving myself no matter what.

“I’m proud of the person I’ve become and the changes I’ve made.”

I still remind myself of where I started. That girl sitting on her ass eating ramen all day is 180 degrees from where I am today, and she always will be. I’m proud of the person I’ve become and the changes I’ve made. Whether I stay the size that I am now or gain or lose a few pounds, I love who I am. My worth is no longer based on what the scale says in the morning.

I don’t have “fat days” or “fluffy days” anymore, because quite frankly, I don’t care. I refuse to let something like three pounds of water destroy my day. I know now that I’m healthier than I ever was at 130 pounds. My hormones aren’t out of whack, I’m not moody or depressed, I don’t have random headaches, I’m not constantly fatigued, and I don’t feel weak.

Unfortunately, there’s a widespread belief that equates health to six-pack abs. This might be true for some people, but for the majority it’s not. I can lift more, sprint faster, and am healthier now than I ever was. There is beauty in strength. I don’t just say it, I know it.

Letting Go

I wanted my fire for exercise to burn like it did when I first started lifting, so I let go of the forced daily runs and extra HIIT sessions to “make up” for calories. I began to utilize conditioning work 1-2 times per week instead. I added back my short outdoor runs, but much more infrequently, and never because I felt pressure to burn a certain number of calories. I threw my heart monitor away.

I also discovered powerlifting. When I finally dropped the light-weight, high-rep stuff I was doing to stay thin, I started following Wendler’s 5-3-1 program and quickly fell in love. My strength skyrocketed, and when I decided I wanted to take my training to the next level, I signed with The Strength Guys. Now, the spark is back when I’m in the gym. I feel the fire again.

Squat

Strength Training Program

I follow an intense, block-periodization powerlifting program created by my coach, Jon Stewart. It’s high volume, tailored to correct my weaknesses, and uses movements and load intensities built for progression. I’m on six-week cycles of five-day splits. I have one day of light conditioning and one day of complete rest. Mobility is a vital component of my current program because my training pushes my body to its limits.

Each day and week I use different sets, reps, and weight with a specific rest time, exercise tempo, and rate of perceived exertion (RPE) to follow. Days one and three look on week three of my program.

  • Mobility TrainingMobility Training Mobility Training
    30-40 minutes

Mobility Training includes foam rolling the area to be trained, plus two or three dynamic stretches/movements the prepare the area for training.

Pause Squats have the lifter descending to the bottom position of the squat and freezing. The bottom position is held for three seconds, maintaining tightness in the muscles and correct technique, before returning to the starting position.

Compensatory Acceleration Training (C.A.T.)

is lifting sub-maximal loads with maximum force. For more details check

elitefts.com

.

  • Mobility TrainingMobility Training Mobility Training
    30-40 minutes

Mobility Training includes foam rolling the area to be trained, plus two or three dynamic stretches/movements the prepare the area for training.

Reset Deadlifts are performed the same as a standard deadlift, but the lifter will put the weight completely on the floor and reset their hip position between each rep.

Letting Go

The hardest physical aspect to change for me was my diet. I had developed such rigid views and habits around food that it was almost more of a struggle to let them go than it was to keep them. I packed away my food scale and deleted MyFitnessPal. I started incorporating foods that I hadn’t allowed myself to eat in years. I stopped restricting. I re-learned how to eat, not from a clock or scale, but from what my body was feeling.

At first I thought I would feel free without the calorie counting, stress, obsession, and anxiety, but I didn’t. I would take two steps forward and three steps back, wondering if I would ever be able to change. It took years to develop my disordered relationship with food, and I knew it wasn’t going to take a week to fix it. So, I trusted the process just as I always had, kept working at it, and didn’t give up.

Today, around 70-80 percent of the food I consume is healthy, nutrient-dense food that allows my body to perform at its optimal level. This includes things like lean proteins, organic dairy, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts (and butters!), and seeds.

70-80 percent of the food I consume is healthy, nutrient-dense food like lean proteins, organic dairy, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts (and butters!), and seeds.

The other 20-30 percent of food I consume is made up of things that I crave, or that I just plain want—no explanation or condition necessary. There is no special time, day, or place for these foods. I allow myself the freedom to eat them when I want them. Some days I’m at a 50/50 split, some days it’s 100/0, but on most days I stay right around 80/20. It all balances out.

I don’t restrict, I listen to my body’s needs and wants, and most important, I consume everything mindfully and in moderation. Through all of the extremes, I’ve found balance to be the key component in my physical and mental health. It’s also been the key to my happiness.

Sample Day

I don’t have a meal plan to follow because the foods and amounts I eat change on a daily basis. I don’t weigh or measure anything, so all quantities below are estimated. I don’t know my caloric intake or macro breakdown, but I would guess I’m somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,200-2,700 calories per day. Here is what I ate yesterday:

Greek Chicken Wrap

Final Thoughts

Throughout my second transformation, I’ve found myself spending more time with friends and family. They couldn’t care less what I look like—my abs make no difference to them. As long as I’m healthy and happy, they’re happy too.

It’s funny because these are the people I pulled away from when I started my downhill slide into disordered eating and thinking. I sheltered myself from everything that wasn’t fitness related, even friends and family. But when I finally let go of the obsession and the stress, I felt free.

During this second transformation, I found that the middle is where I want to be.

The fitness community is full of extremes. We work out until we can’t move. We eat diets of tilapia and broccoli. It takes a strong individual to endure what we put ourselves through. But during this second transformation, I found that the middle is where I want to be.

I want to be somewhere between the overweight college girl and the underweight girl on stage, somewhere between the girl who ate pop-tarts for every meal and the girl who ate lettuce for every meal, somewhere between the girl who never stepped foot into the gym and the girl who wouldn’t leave it until she’d burned enough calories. This middle spot is where I’m happy and strong. It’s where I found my balance.

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Fitness 360: Karina Baymiller, Petite Powerhouse

Karina Baymiller may have had 6-pack abs, but she wasn’t happy. Learn how she let go of her obsession with image and built a healthier, happier, stronger body and mind!

Perfect Legs: Karina Baymiller’s High-Rep Plyometric Leg Workout

Leg day is so nice, you better do it twice! I go heavy on legs early in the week and then finish them off with this powerful plyometric workout.

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Karina found out through relentless experimentation that good things come to those who are patient. She tried every plan in the book and perfected her own formula!

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Skinny To Strong: Karina Baymiller’s Complete Fitness Journey

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How to lose fat

Want to up your fat-burn potential? Try these top tips…


If you’re ready to get serious about fat loss, do yourself a favour and steer clear of fad diets and calorie restricting. Instead, try these super-easy tips and tricks to help you become the best version of you!

Refuelling hazard

Ever felt ravenous after a workout? Make sure you come prepared – bring a protein shake or healthy snack to consume post-workout. I’ll save you from making decisions that will hamper your results.

Ditch the boyfriend

Don’t panic – it’s only for the workout. Men usually burn more calories than women in the same workout due to being heavier, in addition to which Mother Nature acts to protect women’s role as child bearer, which means we maintain adequate body fat for nourishing healthy babies. Doing your partner’s workout, then, might end up with him shedding pounds but you only shedding tears. Go solo, girl!

Turn on the afterburners

Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) is the term given to the body’s attempts to recharge and restore itself immediately after a workout, a process that results in additional calorie burn. Research has shown that high-intensity interval training leads to greater EPOC than steady cardio workouts, so turn up the dial with alternate bouts of maximum effort and rest for serious results. Try the Tabata format – eight periods of 20 secs full-out work followed by 10 secs recovery.

Muscle up to slim down

Building lean muscle mass will speed up your metabolic rate and promote fat burn – so get strength training. Compound exercises that use bigger muscle groups will be most effective – like squats, deadlifts and kettlebell swings.

Running on empty

Exercising in the morning before your first meal is a great way to shed fat. Research shows that fasting (which is essentially what happens overnight as we sleep) leads to increased adrenaline and reduced insulin levels, creating an environment that is more conductive to the breakdown of fat for energy. If you’re not used to this, though, ease yourself in and remember to stay hydrated.

Team tactics

When it comes to fitness, it’s easy to fall into a rut by doing the same workouts over and over – especially if you’re partial to studio classes. So give your fat-loss hopes a sporting chance by joining a football, hockey or tennis club. Not only will variation keep you motivated, these sports incorporate the need for repeated bursts of effort (interval training) that we know burns fat.

Up and down

Alternating your exercises between upper and lower body in a circuit format results in an extra calorie burn because your cardiovascular system has to work harder. Peripheral Heart Action training, as this is known, challenges the heart to keep pushing blood from one part of the body to another, in order to deliver oxygen to fuel the muscles. A routine like this also allows you to move straight from one exercise to the next, as muscle groups get a chance to rest, so you can get your workout done quicker.

Explode the fat

Also known as jump training, plyometric exercises involve stretching the muscles prior to explosively contracting them. Think burpees, box jumps and jumping lunges; all of which result in high calorie expenditure, making them a valuable weapon in your fat-loss armoury.

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How to get single-digit body fat, safely

While it’s unlikely most gym-goers will be wrapping themselves in bin bags and heading to the sauna, obtaining the coveted single-digit percent body fat has become a badge of honour. Previously reserved for bodybuilders, male models and the truly dedicated, men off the street are now using pre-competition fat loss logic for jaw-dropping abs. So what’s the answer? Can this extreme body be maintained in a safe, sustainable way?

(Related: The 5 workout mistakes you are probably making)

Well, yes it can. Providin it’s done safely. It’s also important to note that ‘living’ with such a low percentage of body fat isn’t always practical nor is it entirely safe. For example, some body fat is necessary for your body to function efficiently. The International Journal of Sports Psychology and Performance found male bodybuilders dropping fat for competitions also saw their testosterone levels tank. More worryingly, the subjects’ heart rates dropped to a meagre 27 BPM – a recipe for dizziness and cardiac arrest.

(Related: Is cardio necessary for single-digit body fat?)

man with muscle in gym

Easy hacks to lower your body fat

It’s inadvisable to become obsessed and allow your body fat to drop too far, but if you’re aiming for around 8%, it’s achievable with hard work, diet and exercise. Our expert PT Jason Patmore, gives his tips on dipping below double figures, with no dehydration needed.

Reduce your carb intake and eat more protein (oh, and fat doesn’t make you fat)

The latest nutritional guidelines have shown that fat is in and carbs are out for a while now, but many are stuck on the old staple that carbs are necessary before a gym sesh. Dead wrong if you’re gunning for single digits.

“People need to get it out of their heads that fat makes you fat,” says Patmore. “Carbohydrates release insulin, and when insulin levels are raised the body is actually prevented from using fat as fuel. The goal is to reduce your body to that state.”

(Related: 4 health benefits of a low carb diet)

Cutting body fat means training your body to use fat stores as fuel, something it won’t be doing while you’re burning through pre-workout pasta. Patmore recommends a high-protein breakfast without carbs before hitting to the gym, only using carbs after training to improve the protein synthesis process – this is the reason most protein shakes have a mix of both protein and carbohydrates.

(Related: Your most common protein shake mistakes)

Your session is going to suck because of the low energy reserves before your body adapts, but, if you’re set on that lonely number it’ll all be worth it to watch the fat melt away. Eating your carbs later in the day is more beneficial in a low-calorie diet, as the journal Obesity (Silver Spring) has shown that carbs in the evening reduce hunger pangs and improve weight loss.

(Related: Here are 5 easy ways to get more protein into your diet)

man with single digit body fat

You can’t target fat loss

One of the biggest body-fat myths around is that you can “spot reduce” fat by targeting certain body areas. For example, if you want six-pack abs, you’ll be able to target subcutaneous fat (belly fat) specifically for faster results. But Patmore knows better.

(Related: The best workout to lose weight)

“Can you spot reduce?” he asks incredulously. “Your body will pile on or lose fat, but spot reducing is a myth. Certain areas of your body are more likely to store fat, so general fat loss will equate to losing flab in certain areas more than others.” No targeting your double-chin, we’re afraid: push through the pain and watch it melt away with the rest of your body.

(Related: These are the best cereals for fat loss)

The best exercises that will burn fat

(Related: How to cut out 600 calories from your diet, safely)

Operating at a calorie deficit, carefully managing your carbs and harvesting fat-stores during workouts will begin to drag your body fat down below the decade. All that remains is to roll up your sleeves and get on with the workouts – and for this, Patmore recommends upper and lower-body supersets followed by a steady-state run.

(Related: The HIIT dumbbell workout)

3 sets of each of the following supersets, 15 reps of each with 2 mins rest between supersets, should kick your fat-loss journey into overdrive. We’ll see you on the cover of the mag next year.

Upper-body superset

 

Goblet squat

Stand with your legs slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, clasping a kettlebell in each hand in front of your chest with palms facing each other.

(Related: How to perform the back squat effectively)

Bend your knees and lower yourself into a squat, keeping the kettlebells in the same position and ensuring you don’t round your back by tensing your glutes throughout. Drive back up and repeat.

Dumbbell shoulder press

Sit on the bench holding two dumbbells at shoulder height with an overhand grip.

(Related: These are the 10 best dumbbell exercises for men)

Press the weights up above your head until your arms are fully extended. Return slowly to the start position.

Lower-body superset

Dumbbell bench press

Lie on a flat bench holding two dumbbells over your chest with an overhand grip.

(Related: 3 reasons you’re not benching bigger numbers)

Push up until your arms are straight, then lower under control.

Dumbbell split squat

With a dumbbell in each hand, stand facing away from the bench with one leg resting on it, laces down.

Squat down with your standing leg until the knee of your trailing leg almost touches the floor. Push up through your front foot to return to the start position.

(Related: How to get bigger legs without lifting weights)

Finisher

 

Steady state run

Run at 65% intensity for 5km.

Increase the effort by adjusting the treadmill to an incline

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How to get single-digit body fat, safely

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Grind To Grow: Try Your Squats And Presses With Kettlebells!


I’ll never forget the first time I squatted with a pair of 32-kg kettle bells on my chest.

It felt like an elephant was sitting on me. The pressure in my gut was immense, and I could barely breathe. Afterwards, my abs were almost immediately sore. I was shocked, because as a competitive weightlifter I could front squat, butt-to-ankles, more than 400 pounds. But these two 70-pound balls of iron made me feel like I was fighting for my life!

Click Here! For 5 Steps to looking 10 Years younger

I quickly learned that kettlebells are unjustly overlooked as strength equipment; they are often only favored as endurance tools for high-rep ballistic movements like swings and snatches. They’re equally adept and providing muscular overload on slow, heavy lifts like squats and presses.

Why? It’s simple: Your body knows that to get stronger, as well as to continue burning fat, it must adapt. Heavy kettlebells give it a challenge that is uniquely difficult to overcome. Because of their odd shape, kettlebells actually make the body do more work than traditional implements such as barbells and dumbbells. Sub them out even just for a couple of movements you already do, and you may be surprised at the benefits you receive.

The Toughest Squat You’ve Never Done

The reason the double-kettlebell front squat is so much more challenging than its barbell cousin is due to leverage. Consider the rack position: With a barbell, the load rests near the top of the spine, across the collarbone and the front of the deltoids, just below the head. In this arrangement, the barbell becomes virtually one with the lifter, making it easier to move the external resistance. This allows you to move much more weight.

With a kettlebell, it’s almost the opposite. In the rack, the weight rests low, against the outside of the forearms, with the elbows pointed down rather than out. The bells try to pull your body forward and off-balance, which forces your entire midsection to reflexively contract in order to keep you from folding in half.

If you’ve been lifting—or just reading about lifting—for a few years, you’ve probably heard this same argument used as a reason to do barbell front squats rather than barbell back squats. But the truth is that the simple substitution of two kettlebells—or even just one—for a barbell means your midsection will take even more of a beating. And this has benefits beyond building core strength.

To start with, you’ll become a better squatter. Because the spine is protected due to the increased reflexive core activation from the rack, lifters can usually squat deeper with kettlebells than they would with a barbell. The difference here is one you’ll likely feel on your backside for days after the first time you try it, so consider yourself warned.

Kettlebell Exercises
Watch The Video – 0:44

Grind To Grow

The increased stability demands upon your core musculature during the front squat are also present in other slow kettlebell lifts—or “grinds,” as they’re often called. Look at the double kettlebell military press, for example: The increased demands placed upon your core mean your body has to work harder to stabilize your joints so your prime movers—the lats and delts, in the case of the press—can do their work.

The upshot, as with the front squat, is that you’ll need less weight to make all types of muscles work more efficiently—particularly the crucial stabilizer muscles around the shoulder and other joints. Efficiency, in this case, means they’ll do what they’re supposed to when they’re supposed to do it. To pick one painful example for many lifters, a strong rotator cuff stabilizes your shoulder joint so you can safely bench press. A weak or injured one, on the other hand, keeps you from benching heavy, or from doing it at all.

Double Kettlebell Military Press

I’m also of the opinion that one of the causes of what are commonly called workout “plateaus” are actually stabilizer muscles that are weak or don’t work properly. Faced with a heavy load that might damage the joint, your body intuitively protects itself by shutting down the nerve force to the bigger muscles—the prime movers—that traditionally do the work.

You may have heard similar logic used to tell you why you should train with free weights rather than with machines. Yes, it’s true: Core and joint stabilizer activation happen to a certain extent with any training tool, but both are more intense with a kettlebell, due to the increased muscular activation from the offset handle. Consider them the freest of free weights.

You Only Need One

“Resist the urge to let your stronger side set the pace. Train both sides to be relatively even with each other.”

Want to know what’s even tougher than a double-kettlebell grind? The same movement loaded unilaterally. Working one side of your body at a time, as with a single-kettlebell military press, requires your body to make all the muscles on the side opposite of the load—and especially the core musculature—contract to keep you from being pulled over sideways.

Another interesting result from training with a single-kettlebell is that you can even-out strength imbalances from side-to-side. Often, side-to-side imbalances are responsible for holding back your progress on traditional bilateral exercises like the barbell squat, deadlift, and military press. Many people find a single-kettlebell front squat to be much more challenging on the core than a double front squat. The same thing holds true for the military press.

If you find you have a strength imbalance, resist the urge to let your stronger side set the pace. Train both sides to be relatively even with each other, both in the number of reps and the amount of weight you put over your head. You may feel like you’re holding back at first, but don’t be surprised if your big barbell lifts get stronger as a result.

Grind to Burn

Strength is a worthy goal on its own, and it’s more than enough reason to try kettlebell squats and presses. But getting stronger is also essential for burning fat and getting leaner over the long term.

Think of it as a cycle. The increased muscle activation and range of motion you experience from doing deep, difficult squats and overhead presses demand that more muscles work harder than they would otherwise. When you work harder, you burn more calories. And since training the core, especially in an integrated manner while standing, makes the body stronger, you’ll be able to lift heavier and work even harder in the future—which burns even more calories. And so on …

The downside, if there is one, is that kettlebell grinds are known to leave bruises—on your ego. I think you’ll be just as surprised as I was at just how hard they make you work. But stick with them, and you’ll also be surprised by the fruits of your labor: A stronger midsection, a more powerful and defined body, and more strength you can put to good use.

Swing For The Fences: Kettlebell Training – Burn Fat And Build Muscles!

Make the kettlebell swing your 1-stop shop for increased muscle size, definition, fat loss, and the heart of a racehorse!

Kettlebell Explosion: Harness The Power Of The Kettlebell Swing

Don’t try to learn the kettlebell swing by watching it get butchered in your local gym. Use these drills to nail this powerful movement once and for all!

Meet The Squats: 7 Squat Variations You Should Be Doing

In the old days, there were two kinds of squats: ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ Today, you can shop around between multiple versions of the movement. No more excuses. Get off the machines and give the squat a shot!

Contributing Writer

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The 7-minute workout

Sculpt in 7 Minutes!

Your best body in less than 10 minutes, you say? it can be done- Wahoo’s 7 Minute Workout app shows us how.

Whether you’e a full-time mum or busy office worker, we’re pretty sure a short and sweet workout  you can get done in under 10 minutes will sound appealing. Well good news, it can be done. If you’re prepared to go hard and give it your all, it is possible to have an effective workout in 7 minutes, and with Wahoo Fitness’ 7 Minute Workout, which combines aerobic and resistance training to work your heart as well as your mules, you don’t need to leave the house to make it happen. This high-intensity form of training is popular for a reason, but you need to work hard if you want to see results.

Try the workout here to reap serious rewards asap!

 

Perform each move for 30 seconds at a time with a 10 second rest in between each. Try to do as many as possible in 30 seconds. keep going for seven minutes in total.

Kit you’ll need: Chair/step

Squats, Areas trained: Bottom, Quads

Technique

Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips and your toes pointed slightly out.

Keeping your back straight, bend your knees and bend at the hips to lower until you are parallel with the floor.

Push back up to th orginial standing poisition and repeat.

Step-Ups {onto a chair), Areas trained: Bottom, Legs

Technique

Stand in front of the chair.

Step up onto the chair with one foot, followed by the other.

Pause and then step off with the opposite foot first.

Repeat, changing sdes with each rep.

 

Side Plank, Areas trained: Core, sides

Technique

Form a straight line with your body on its side, resting on one forearm with your feet stacked on top of each other.

Hold for 30 seconds.

 

High knees, Areas trained: Legs, Bottom, Core

Technique

Run on the spot lifting your knees as high as possible.

Swing your arms as if you were running normally.

 

Tricep Dips, Areas trained: Triceps

Technique

Sit on a chair with the heels of your hands on the edge.

Slide your bottom off the seat and support your weight with your hands.

Bend your elbows back and slowly lower your bum toward the floor while keeping your elbows tucked in.

Push back up to the start and repeat,

 

Lunge, Areas trained: Legs, Bottom

Technique

Stand with your shoulder back and relaxed, and your chin up.

Take a large stap forward with one foot.

Bend both knees to about 90-degree angle, with your back knee just about the floor.

Push back up to the starting position, then repeat on the opposite leg, alternating legs with each rep.

 

Jumping Jack, Areas trained: Bottom, Legs, Core

Technique

Start with your feet together and arms at your sides.

Slightly bend your knees and jump up in the air.

As you are jumping kick your legs out and bring your arms up and out to for a ‘star’ shape.

Land softly and repeat exercise.

 

Press-up Rotation, Areas trained: Chest, Triceps, Core, Sides

Technique

Starting in a plank poisition with your hands directly under your shoulders, bend your arms to lower your chest towards the ground.

Push back up to the start.

At the top, rotate your body into side-plank position with one arm on the ground and the other extending towards the celing.

Rotate back to plank position.

Repeat, this time rotating to the opposite side, continue to alternate with each rep.

 

The 7-minute workout

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Running tips for women

Ace your next race with these top tips

Going for a run is probably one of the most popular ways to get your workout on, whether it’s hitting the roads or jumping on a treadmill when the weather’s gross outside. If you sometimes find running a little tedious, why not challenge yourself to go faster or further?

Here are our top tips to smash your run.

To the gym

Weight training could make you a better runner. A Norwegian study found that resistance training three times a week for eight weeks significantly improved running efficiency and endurance in well-trained, long-distance runners.

Uphill battle

Want to conquer the hills? To race uphill, run with a short stride while pushing off the balls of your feet and pumping your arms. Then relax your arms and use a longer stride to go downhill.

Ready, set, splash!

Getting wet could make you a better runner. Swimming increases your upper body strength, making your runs more efficient, while aqua jogging mimics your usual movement sans impact – reducing the risk of injury.

Bright idea

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‘Watch your stance when running,’ tips Fitness First trainer Andy Hall. ‘Leaping forward and striding too far will drain your energy fast. Instead, make sure you stand tall and lean slightly forward, so when you feel like you’re going to fall, you step forward just enough to catch yourself. This should be the length of your stride.’

Take five

Listen to your body! If you’re feeling under the weather or if your body is sore and ready for a rest, take a recovery day. Only you know if those aches and pains are from a good run or the sign you need to rest.

Sand storm

Here’s a good excuse to book a beach getaway – running on sand can improve your speed and muscle tone. A study from St Luke’s University Clinic in Belgium found that pounding the sand requires 1.6 times more energy than running on pavements as your body has to work harder to deal with the soft, unstable surface. That adds up to more defined muscles and a swifter run when you get back to solid ground. Neat!

Drink up

Hydration is key for runners, but plain old water is best if you’re only doing short runs. Upgrade to a sports drink if you’re running for longer than an hour to help shuttle glucose to your muscles and combat fatigue.

Play it safe Protect yourself – the great outdoors brings potential hazards:

Navigate new destinations Make use of online running forums and social media groups to discover popular routes. Clearly defined, well-lit roads are a must when running in the dark, and remember there’s safety in numbers. Recruit a running buddy or join a club to improve your technique with like-minded enthusiasts – it’s way more fun than going solo!

Ditch your headphones An uplifting playlist can send motivation soaring, but when you’re running outside you need to be aware of your surroundings so you can rely on your senses when you need them. Save the tunes for your indoor workout and shift your attention to your breathing and form – or if you feel you really can’t run without music just keep the volume low.

Check the forecast We all know the British weather is unpredictable. It’s worth checking the forecast before you lace up so you don’t get caught in heavy rain that could hamper your performance and increase your risk of injury.

Read the article –

Running tips for women

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The Muscle-Building, Fat-Burning Slider Workout

If you want to look like an elite athlete in time to take your shirt off for summer, then you better start training like one. Don’t know where to start? We recruited Ben Prentiss, a strength coach and owner of Prentiss Hockey Performance in Stamford, CT, who trains NHL All-Stars like Jonathan Quick and Eric Staal, to write this full-body workout that can be done with nothing more than sliders—an excellent tool to challenge your muscular stability, balance, and overall athleticism.

“The workout pairs agonist and antagonist muscles together as supersets,” explains Prentiss. “This allows you to train the full body equally without any overcompensations.”

Another benefit: Performing exercises that incorporate movement on an unstable surface forces your body to work harder to keep you balanced. In turn, you burn more calories and become stronger in positions that are more practical and natural than, say, a biceps curl. To finish, you’ll power through three core-focused exercises to jack up your heart rate and strengthen your abs.

CORE CONCEPTS

A strong core is the centerpiece of top athletes, and though this workout targets your abs plenty already, we consulted Ice Cross Downhill 2016 world champion Cameron Naasz—who glides down a 1,200-meter ice track on skates at 40 mph while battling for space against fellow skaters—for more ways to add core work into your training.

WORK UNILATERALLY

To challenge stability, Naasz suggests performing exercises, like box jumps and squats, with just one leg. “If you really get it down, then you can move into one-footed box jumps with a pistol squat at the top of the box. Then you have to jump down on one leg and do another pistol squat. It’s all about progression,” Naasz explains. “Once you get that down, just keep trying new one-legged challenges to improve your stability.”

USE A BALANCE BOARD

“With skating, you have to have the ability to stay under control while working through transitions, so your core is a major factor,” says Naasz, whose sport challenges his core due to constant shifts in his body mechanics. To replicate this, he performs exercises on an uneven surface. “I’ll do squats on balance boards, and I’ll also jump down from boxes on them, trying to land on one leg.” We suggest starting with the former before moving on to the latter.

JUMP LATERALLY

In Ice Cross Downhill, Naasz has to fight to stay forward and upright while his opponents bump into him and he makes contact with the boards. To train for this, Naasz works lateral hops into his program. “We tie a string to a squat rack or boxes and stand next to it facing forward. Then we hop over it laterally,” says Naasz, who will also have a teammate lightly push him mid-jump to disrupt his balance. “It’s awkward. You have to fight to stop your body from shifting midair.” To start, practice by hopping laterally over a bench or small box two feet at a time, keeping your torso and head facing forward. Being pushed by friends is optional.

PRO TIP

If you don’t want to shell out $15 for sliders, use a pair of (preferably clean) socks on a hardwood floor instead.

THE SLIDER WORKOUTPerform 15 minutes of foam rolling, lateral band walks, and light shoulder exercises. Then do this workout two to three times per week.

EXERCISE 1A

REVERSE LUNGE W/ FORWARD REACHHow to

Reverse Lunge w/ Forward Reach thumbnail
4sets
8-12reps
30 sec.rest

EXERCISE 1B

PUSHUP AND PIKEHow to

Pushup and Pike thumbnail
4sets
8-12reps
60 sec.rest

EXERCISE 2A

HIP THRUST W/ NEGATIVE CURLHow to

Hip Thrust w/ Negative Curl thumbnail
4sets
10-12reps
30 sec.rest

EXERCISE 2B

BUZZ SAW PLANKHow to

Buzz Saw Plank thumbnail
4sets
10-12reps
60 sec.rest

EXERCISE 3

PRONE SNOW ANGELHow to

Prone Snow Angel thumbnail
4sets
15reps
10 sec.rest

FINISHERSDirections: Perform between five and 10 rounds of the following circuit, depending on how you’re feeling. Rest 30 seconds between rounds.

EXERCISE 1

MOUNTAIN CLIMBER ON SLIDERSYou’ll need: Sliding DiscsHow to

Mountain Climber on Sliders thumbnail
1sets
10reps
rest

EXERCISE 2

GROINERHow to

Groiner thumbnail
1sets
10reps
rest

EXERCISE 3

OBLIQUE SLIDEHow to

Oblique Slide thumbnail
1sets
10reps
rest

Read more –

The Muscle-Building, Fat-Burning Slider Workout

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Jenna Douros’ pyramid shred workout

As much as we appreciate the calorie burn native to hill sprints, they can get boring come the end of your training week. Change up your routine with this high-intensity blast courtesy of our beautiful cover model, Jenna Douros – if you’re game!

Regardless of your fitness level or exercise experience – whether you’re a bodybuilder, gymnast or a weekend warrior – you can implement pyramid techniques and principals into your workout routine to achieve amazing results.

One of the reasons I work pyramid sets into my own training and that of my clients, is because they’re so versatile – you can apply them to nearly any workout. Pyramids can be a great way to break through those barriers that have brought progress to a standstill. The abnormal rep range helps to shock your system, shift those stubborn plateaus and really wake those muscle fibres up to improve tone and shape.

My training style contains a lot of exercise variety and an abundance of challenges to keep my mind motivated and my results moving forward. I’m so excited to share this pyramid workout with you!

40% OFF On Phen375 Products Warning: this workout is quick, innovative, fun and, best of all, makes you feel like a child again. However, don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s a training session you can cruise through. The following pyramid set is a high-intensity, full-body workout that will require everything you’ve got and nothing less.

JD’s Pyramid Workout 

10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 reps (and back up to 10 if you are game.)

The aim is to perform 10 reps of each exercise with little to no rest. Follow suit performing 9 reps of each exercise with little to no rest, then 8 reps, then 7 reps and so on, descending all the way down to 1 rep. If you are game, work your way back up the pyramid in the same fashion until you reach 10 reps again.

There is nothing like a bit of healthy competition to push you harder so you exert more energy and keep yourself accountable. I suggest recording your time for completing the entire workout, so you can try and beat it the next time. Your only competition is you!

Roll-ups (inverted burpee)

Begin in a standing position. Squat down, rolling on to your back while tucking your knees into your chest with your hands above your head. Rolling forward, throw your hands down towards your feet and kick both feet into the air and press into a hand stand. Lower both feet simultaneously to the ground.

Tip: If this is your first time, you may like to do this against a wall 

 

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Fat burning full body workout

This full body workout takes just 30 minutes to complete and requires minimal equipment – so it can really be done absolutely anywhere! This training session will target your upper body, lower body and abs, while still incorporating some cardio to keep the heart rate high.

Each set has three exercises to be performed one after the other, followed by one minute of cardio (one round). Repeat each set three times before moving on to the next set. Take a one-minute break in-between each set (or between each round for beginners). As with any exercise, warm-up and cool down is always recommended.

P.S: No skipping rope? No problem! Just jump in place, mimicking the movement.

Set One

This first set focuses on your upper-body. You may want to choose a lighter weight since you will performing a high number of reps, or you can always drop the weight down as your muscles fatigue.

Repeat this set three times. Rest for one minute before moving on to the next set.

Bicep curl x 15 reps 

Make sure to keep your elbows in by your side, your hips tucked under and your core tight. Start with the weights fully extended down, then curl them up, squeezing at the top. Release the weight down to the starting position (resist the momentum and control them all the way down).

 

Military press x 15 reps 

Start with the dumbbells under your chin, then rotate them out and up to an overhead press. Bring them down below your chin and that’s one rep.  Make sure not to arch your back as you press them up – always keep your core tight.

Push-up x 15 reps

The beauty of push-ups is that they can be modified to accommodate your fitness level.  You can do tricep push-ups, wide push-ups or push-ups on your knees (I like to do a mix).

Cardio

Jump rope for 60 seconds.  You can do alternating single leg jumps, jumps using both feet or any other combination you like.  This cardio burst between each set keeps your heart rate up and the calories burning!

 

 

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