Okay WHAT is going on here? I’m sitting down to write my second post within a 7-day period, AND before 7am? Something must be going on here.
That something is yoga. My consistency with practicing yoga is sporadic, and by sporadic I mean determined by the availability of Groupons for studios in my area. I’ll buy said Groupons, practice religiously for as long as it will allow me, and then stop as soon as it expires. At the end of each practice I feel energized and enlightened and tell myself that “for sure I’m going to purchase a membership once this thing expires”. But when the time comes I just can’t bring myself to spend the $100+ that most yoga studios charge for a month.
This time will be different (I think). I purchased an introductory membership for the man and I at a local studio for unlimited classes within 30 days for $40. Considering this studio offers classes from 6:15 am until 10:45 at night, not to mention spin classes, core conditioning classes, and pilates classes as well, I think this is a fantastic deal. I had the pleasure of finishing work a little earlier than usual on Sunday night, so I figured what better way to kick off my 30 days of yoga than to get up at 5:30am to twist and bend in a room heated to 40 degrees celsius?
Oddly enough, every time I’ve practiced hot yoga it has been in the summer, but regardless of the intensified heat I always left feeling invigorated and just…pure. I don’t really know how else to put it. My mind is open, free of stresses, and after sweating buckets for one hour I feel like there couldn’t possibly be one toxin left in my body. Yesterday was no different. When I finished I felt absolutely AMAZING and it was only 7:30am. Usually I’m not even out of bed at that time, which just adds to the overall awesomeness of the experience. I went back at 4:30 with the man for a power class and I’m now waiting to head to a flow class at 8am. I think it’s safe to say I’m officially hooked. Running, lifting, and now yoga. I’m running out of hours to do things like work and sleep! But not eat. There will always be time to eat.
Yoga has so many amazing benefits. Not only does it stretch and relax the body, it makes you more aware of your breath, relieves stress, and can help you handle the little day-to-day annoyances a little better. With consistent practice, yoga can turn you into a mindful powerhouse! But I’m not here to write about the benefits of yoga today. Today I’m here to talk about booties. Not cute little baby shoes. I’m talking asses.
After my hot yoga class I headed on over to the gym. I think ideally you would run or lift before yoga, but I wasn’t prepared to get up at 3am and yesterday was leg day….I can’t skip that! I was hesitant as to whether or not this would be a good idea, but I brought my gym bag to yoga and figured I would decide after class based on how I felt.(*See note below.) As I mentioned above, I felt elated and TOTALLY down for leg day. But not just any leg day. I would make this GLUTE DAY. I got to the gym, sat in the change room to eat some oatmeal and rehydrate, and planned the attack on my butt.
Our glutes consist of the Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius, and Gluteus Minimus. Many people (myself included) consider them to be just the muscles of your butt. On the contrary, they are actually considered the muscles of the hip and assist with movements such as rotating the thigh, flexing our hips forward, and stabilizing the pelvis while we move our legs in different directions. The glutes are one of the largest and most powerful groups of muscles in the body, not to mention one of the most attractive. Who doesn’t want a round booty? As with all things in life, genetic distribution can be unfair and some are born with said round booty and others are born with…well…pancake butt. But don’t fret! Your glutes can be built just like any other muscle in the body, and with some sweat and hard *%#$ing work you can have the ass of your dreams in no time!
This workout is short, but trust me it does the trick. I sit here typing this wishing I had a walker to help me get up and out of my chair. The toilet is my nemesis for the day. (**Update: after a heavy glute day it may be wise to partake in a form of yoga other than flow, such as yin or hatha. Multiple ventures into deep Warrior lunges did not provide the lengthening release I was looking for today. 6pm, still wish I had that walker.)
With a five minute warm-up and ten minute cool-down + stretch I was out of the gym within an hour. You want to go pretty heavy on these exercises as we’re doing a lower number of reps. Are you ready for this?
Ariana’s No-Mercy Booty Killer
1. Smith Machine Squats: 4 sets x 8-10 reps
– Go HEAVY. Go DEEP! Get your thighs AT LEAST parallel to the ground, preferably below parallel. Avoid your knees extending past your toes, and use your heels to push yourself back to an upright position. Really squeeeeze your glutes at the top.
2. Box/Step/Whatever-Gets-Your-Booty-Low Squats: 1 set to failure
– See that step in the middle there? I want you to sit on it. A box might work as well if you’re taller, but don’t be takin’ the easy route here. Park your ass on that step, and then use that ass to push yourself back up to standing. Do it until you can’t do no mo’.
3. Glute Kickbacks: 3 sets x 8-10 reps
– Wrap a cable around your ankle and kick back in a slow and controlled motion. These make me feel uncoordinated and sloppy because there’s no adjustment on the ankle strap at my gym so I had to keep adjusting the strap. Like the saying goes, “no awkward and ungraceful movements, no gains”. Or something.
4. Booty Blaster, Butt Master, or whatever variation of this machine your gym uses: 4 sets x 12 reps
– This guy! Basically you get on all fours and stick one leg back and kick. Just like with the adductor/abductor machine, don’t make eye contact with anyone while using this machine.
5. Bulgarian Squat: 4 sets x 8 reps
– Now this exercise primarily works the quadriceps, but your glutes and hamstrings will definitely still feel the burn. Out of everything I do, this move is probably my biggest love-hate relationship. Any time I include this in a workout I can feel it for days. Not to scare you or anything. If you don’t know how to do this exercise I recommend watching this. Learn how to do it properly to avoid injuring yourself.
6. Romanian Deadlift: 4 sets x 8 reps
– Again, learn how to do this properly and don’t hurt yourself. Use a spotter. Ask a trainer to watch and correct your form. I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE IF YOU INJURE YOURSELF. There. Does that remove me of any liability? However, if you do develop the booty of your dreams I don’t mind taking some responsibility.
7. Side-Lying Hip Abduction: 20 reps each side.
– This is just a “meh” kinda move I tossed in at the end. Lie on one side and stack your legs on top of one another; lift the top leg and hold when you reach the top; slowly lower but do not let it touch the bottom leg. Repeat. Boring. Effective at strengthening your gluteus medius, and therefore your hip. Speaking of hips, don’t let them roll back. Keep your body aligned forward. I think that’s it. ?
Time to stretch and feel that “hurt’s so good” burn for at least a couple of days! What are some of your favourite glute exercises?
*A note about lifting after practicing hot yoga: hot yoga heats up your muscles (duh) which can give them the ability to stretch a little more than usual. This puts you at greater risk for injury, so really listen to your body and don’t lift if you think there’s a chance you could hurt yourself. Lecture over.