Lesson 5: Carving

Welcome to Lesson 5 of Mea 3 … or as I like to say MEA 3:5

This week’s theme is: Carving

Fit2B is typically more about function and strength, and less about looks. My 20+ years of experience in fitness has taught me that if you pursue the former the latter happens on its own. However, sometimes certain muscles need a little extra attention when they’ve lost their power.

Power = Perk

When it comes to reshaping your glutes, you’ll get a perkier tush when you focus on power moves. However, you can’t harness the power of your glutes when they’re not positioned to handle powerful moves.

You will carve some definition into your derriere when you eliminate compensation patterns that hinder the coordination of your gluteal muscles. We have been doing precisely that over the past few weeks, right?

You’ve started to catch yourself when you’re gripping, tilting and shifting out of alignment. You’ve corrected it when you feel it happening, and hopefully it’s happening less and less which means you have more and more opportunities to harness the power of your thrusters.

Yes, I said thrusters.

Here’s the definition of a thruster: 

  • a small rocket engine on a spacecraft, used to make alterations in its flight path or altitude.
  • a secondary jet or propeller on a ship or offshore rig, used for accurate maneuvering and maintenance of position.

“Hip thrusters” is mainstream fitness lingo for placing a barbell across your pelvis, planting your heels, and lifting your hips up . To some, the term sounds sexual, but it’s really just a suitable nickname for a physiological motion called hip extension.

Your gluteal muscles are made to maneuver and maintain your hip position AND also alter your path by helping you change directions as you walk or run AND they can change your entire altitude by powering your jumping.

If you want to build a better backside, you have to do the motions that recruit its muscles.

The Best Butt Moves

Sideways Actions – When you step sideways or turn to change directions, a lot of that is your glutes. So when I’m having you do side-leg lifts or step from side to side, that’s working your glutes. Adding resistance to those sideways motions gets your glutes even more good out of it!

Hip Extensions – Whenever your bum has to work to open your hip such as the moment the hips rise during a shoulder bridge, or ascending out of a deep squat or lunge, or when you stomp your foot down. The hips extend thanks to the glutes thrusting the pelvis forward. Hip extension is the chief action of your gluteus maximus AND the action serves us in many ways beyond intercourse.

Gravity Changes – Stepping up and stepping down or squatting up/down is HUGE for your gluteals IF YOU PRESS THROUGH YOUR HEEL. Taking the stairs on your toes will tone your calves, but it takes work away from the muscles that should be the prime movers for those actions: Your Tuchus (that’s yiddish for your posterior)

That’s yet another reason I don’t care for high heeled shoes.

Jumping – It’s the ultimate gravitation change, right? It also incorporates power and thrust. Adding a hop to any or all of the above moves (except maybe the shoulder bridge) such as a little jump squat, or a hop from side to side, or a spin jump – the list goes on and on – and you’ll instantly bring your glutes into the game.

Speaking of jumping…

More recruitment = more muscle fibers used = more power harnessed = more muscle adaptation = more energy used = more calories burned = more definition of da derriere!

The tough part about most moves that work your booty the best is that they require a solid core.

If you can’t run without leaking (and running is really just a bunch of leaping lunges) it’s time to dial back to more basic butt blasters.

This next routine shows you how to utilize a loaded grocery sack to add a small amount of complexity to already-great glute moves.

Did you notice that list above was arranged in order of difficulty?

As you strengthen your south end, you could follow that progression. Let’s review it here: 

  1. Using an active core, start with stepping side to side.
  2. Then work on your hip extensions, both while laying down as in shoulder bridge, while on hands and knees as it leg raises, and while standing as in squats.
  3. Add some harder up and down motions such as stepping up and down on a step or stairway. Work on your ability to squat deeper with the routine you received in Lesson One.
  4. Incorporate a few small hops here and there.
  5. Jump a further, faster and higher as you get stronger and can perform all motions with excellent alignment and zero leaking.

Your stopping point – the moment you quit a motion – is the moment you cannot perform a motion with good form and without dysfunctional (and disagreeable) things happening.

Progression SELDOM happens in just one day.

You try one thing one day and analyze how your body responded. The next time you workout, you try it again and check for any progress: either increased strength/stamina or a decrease in disagreeable symptoms.

Ideally, your stopping point should be right before dysfuntional or disagreeable sympoms show up, but sometimes we don’t know our limits until we know our limits, know what I mean?

If your workouts DECREASE your energy and strength or INCREASE your dysfunctional, disagreeable symptoms then you need to back off what you’re doing, get real honest with yourself, book into a physical therapist, and ask for help with re-framing your goals during this season.

Once you know your limits THEN you can honor them while carefully pushing past them with guidance, gentleness and grace.

Next week MEA 3:6 will explore how we will CONTINUE to keep our glutes in gear for the long haul and you’ll get two more booty-burning routines to “thrust” you into your future of glute strength 😉

Lunging Along With You,

Beth & The Fit2B Team