30-day Glute Challenge

Here’s a 30 day challenge for that badunka-dunk! Print the calendar at the bottom of the blog and post it somewhere where it will remind you! Incorporate the daily exercise into your workout, or just knock them out on their own. You will see as the month progresses, there are more reps! It’s actually pretty intimidating (even for me!), but just pace yourself. Split it up into reasonable sets – maybe add a set to your workout circuit. There’s a variety of squats and lunges and other miscellaneous moves that will target those glutes (some examples below).

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Be sure to watch your form – only add weight if you’re comfortable. If you don’t do a lot of squats or lunges, start out with little or no weight and add on as you become more acclimated to the moves. I will be using my sandbag or barbell. You can use dumbbells too – whatever weight you have lying around. I do squats a lot, so I started off using my sandbag, which is 20+ pounds. But if you don’t do a lot of leg weight training, start off lighter, or without any weight. You don’t want to get sore and fatigued muscles right off the bat! For the hip lifts, I like to place my feet on my ugi ball for an extra challenge – but placing your feet on the ground will also be very effective! If you’re unsure on how to perform a move, message me or I’m sure you can YouTube it 🙂 – but those stick figures are pretty helpful!

On the squats and lunges, make sure that your knees do not bend past your toes – and keep a straight back throughout. If a move is too challenging, then modify it to fit your capabilities. For example, if the elevated leg squats (day 3) are too challenging, then do a side lunge (pic above). Any move that has “pulse/pulses” in it, hold the move and slowly pulse your body or leg for the given number of reps.

Enjoy and good luck!

 

Revolution Whole Body Workout

This is a great total body workout. It involves weight training with a 3 minute cardio session at the end. Do each exercises back to back, resting only 10 seconds between the cardio intervals. This workout is only 1 round, so use a challenging weight and really push yourself each rep.

You will need a set of 5-10 lb dumbbells and a stability ball. You can also use a barbell or sandbag for some of the exercises – use whatever you prefer.  Complete 1 round of the 12 exercises.

Squat + Alternate Knee Raise (12 reps) – Hold dumbbells on your shoulders (or use a barbell/sandbag) and stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down low, pushing hips back. Stand and lift one knee up and slightly diagonally. Lower leg and lower into another squat. Repeat alternating knees.

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Deadlift Row (10 reps/side) – Holding a dumbbell in each hand, place your weight on one leg with the other straight back with toes rested on the ground. Hinge forward at the waist, raising the back leg up and hold as you row both weights up to your ribs with elbows pointing back. Straighten arms back out, then come back up to start. Complete all reps and repeat on the other leg. If you prefer, use a barbell or sandbag – it might make the row a little easier.

Circular Squat (12 reps) – Stand in a wide stance with toes slightly pointed out, holding a single dumbbell in front of you on its ends with both hands. Bend your knees into a squat, then come up lifting the right knee up as you circle the weight to the left and up bringing your right elbow to knee. Circle the weight back and lower your leg and return to a squat, and repeat raising the left knee and circling the weight to the right. The should be a fluid movement. You can also do this holding a medicine ball or kettle bell.

Lunge + Bicep Curl (8 reps/side) – Stand with feet together, dumbbell in each hand at your sides. Take a big step back with one leg and lower into a lunge as you curl the weights to your shoulders. Come back to standing as you lower the weights down. Repeat alternating legs.

Press Abs (15 reps) – Position yourself on a stability ball so that your upper and middle back rests on the ball, knees bent 90 degrees. Hold a pair of dumbbells in front of your shoulders, elbow pointed out to the sides. Crunch up and press one weight up and past center. Lower and repeat with the other arm (1 rep). You can also do all reps with one arm then switch (see pic)

Jackknife + Pushup (10 reps) – Position yourself into a push-up position on the stability ball, with your shins and feet rested on top of the ball. Tuck your knees to your chest, rolling the ball forward. Straighten legs keeping your back and core straight the lower into a push-up (1 rep). For a more advanced move, instead of tucking your knees to your chest, lift your hips straight up into the air, rolling the ball forward – and then lower and perform push-up (see pic 2-3).

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Plank + Cross Knee (10 reps) – Get into plank with your elbows resting on the stability ball, hands clasped. Spread legs wide apart and keep a straight back. Bring your right knee toward your left elbow, then lower. Repeat with the left knee to right elbow (1 rep).

Lower Back Extension (10 reps) – Lean onto the stability ball with your legs straight back and your abs resting on the ball with arms outreached forward. Extend your back as you bring your right arm to the side and back. Lower back to start and repeat with the left arm (1 rep). If this is difficult, place hands behind your head and do a normal back extension (see pic) and rotate your elbow/torso to each side if you can.

Hip Extension (10 reps) – Roll your body forward on the ball so that your abs and hips rest on top of the ball, and your elbows are resting on the floor in front of you. Keeping straight legs, extend your hips lifting your legs up as high as you can. Lower back to start and repeat. Try to only lift using your hips and glutes. Rest you legs on the ground between lifts if needed.

CARDIO – Lateral Shift (1 minute) – Shuffle 2 times to your right and tap the ground with your left hand. Switch directions and shuffle left 2 times and touch right hand on the ground. Continue as quickly as you can.

**Rest 10 seconds

CARDIO – Jumping Jacks (1 minute) – Do jumping jacks with your arms starting straight out in front of your chest, and open them out to the sides instead of up when you jump your legs out.

**Rest 10 seconds

CARDIO – Full Body Crunch (1 minute) – Balance on your tailbone and lower your upper body down as you straighten your legs out (dont touch the ground). Then crunch your whole body together, hugging your knees to your chest. You should still be rested up on your tailbone and refrain from touching your legs or back to the ground throughout.

  

HiitReps – Kick Your Butt Workout

This workout is a rep-based HIIT workout. Move from one exercise to the next with little or no rest – so you keep the intensity and your heart rate elevated. All of the exercises will focus on your glutes, as well as incorporating other muscle groups. Note your time each round and try to beat it. This will keep your intensity up!

Complete 5 rounds of the 4 exercises – 15 reps/exercise

Sandbag Swing – This is one of my go-to moves…and you will continue to see it in my workouts! You can use a kettle bell or heavy dumbbell if you don’t have a sandbag – but I highly recommend the sandbag for multiple moves (especially this one!) Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding the sandbag (or other weight) down in front of you. Keeping a straight back, bend your knees and swing the bag/weight back between your legs and then up in front of you – using your hips to help propel the weight up. Swing the weight to about chest height with straight arms, then swing it back down and continue swinging at a steady pace. Get those glutes involved, and really snap your hips forward when swinging the weight forward.

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Squat + Press – Use any weight you choose for this. I use either my sandbag or a barbell – you can also use a set of dumbbells. Hold the sandbag/barbell in front of your shoulders so that your palms face out. Squat down, and as you come up press the weight straight up. Lower the weight back to your shoulders and lower into another squat. Hold the same grip if you’re using a set of dumbbells.

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Jump Squats – Try to get some weight involved in your jump squats. Place a sandbag or barbell on your shoulders, and stand with feet hip to shoulder-width apart. Squat down, pressing your hips back. As you come up, hop up and lower into another squat as you land. This should be a continuous motion from one rep to the next. Keep a comfortable pace, and adjust the weight if needed. Focus on your form in the squat and not on using a heavy weight. If you aren’t comfortable using weight, do the jump squats without (pic 2).

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Bridge Thrust – Lay on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, with a sandbag or barbell placed on your hips (pic 1). Raise hips (and weight) up into a bridge, so that your body makes a straight line. Lower and lightly tap your butt to the ground and come up back into another bridge. To add a challenge, you can place your feet up on an ugi or bosu ball (pic 2 – no weight). If you don’t have any weight, simply do the move without. You can also use a weight plate or large dumbbell as well – just make sure that weight is distributed evenly across your hips.

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Heel Taps and Double Leg Stretch

Do these 2 ab exercises in supersets, doing one right after the other. Rest only 30 seconds between sets. Aim for 5 supersets, but do at least 3.

Heel Taps (30 reps) – Lay on your back, arms down by your sides. Lift shoulders off the ground and curl your chin and reach to touch the right heel with right finger tips, then touch the other heel with the left fingertips (1 rep). Alternate side to side in a fluid motion, and keep shoulders off ground the entire exercise. Add variation by spreading feet further apart, or by touching the inside of the ankle instead of the heel. This will target your upper abs and obliques.

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Easy modification: Aim higher up on the leg, and reach and touch your calf it the heel is too much of a stretch

Hard modification: Grab a pair of weights and hold them in each hand as you perform the exercise.

Double Leg Stretch (12 reps) – Lay on your back with knees and hips bent 90 degrees, shoulders off the floor and hands placed lightly on your shins. Pull your abs in and flatten your lower back. Extend both legs and arms out overhead to 45 degrees, pause briefly and circle your arms and bend your knees to return to start and repeat. (1 rep). Keep your shoulders lifted for all reps. This will work your upper and lower abs.

Easy modification: If your neck is straining, or it’s to difficult to keep your shoulders lifted, lower shoulders after each rep. You can also do this move without even lifting your shoulders. Try to lower your legs as far as you can though.

Hard modification: As in the previous exercise, you can do this holding a pair of dumbbells as well.

Benefits of Weight Training

Growing up as an athlete, I thrived on my athletic ability and my high level of endurance. It shaped me into achieving the fitness level I have today…with the help of  some other factors. After sustaining serious leg injuries my senior year of high school, I had to adapt to my new limitations and physical restrictions. Not only did I have to take a break from sports and working out, but I literally had to learn how to walk again. Physical therapy involved rebuilding the muscle mass and strength that I had lost, while allowing my injuries to fully heal. Although it was a long and challenging process, I learned how to use weight training in my workout regimen, and the benefits were great for me. Over the years following, I relied heavily on weight training, as running/jogging were no longer an option. And I fell in love with it and the way it has changed my body, and provided me with greater strength and stability.

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Now, it’s a common misconception (in females especially) that “lifting” will cause you to “bulk  up” – which isn’t really the look women are usually looking for. Personally, I’ve found it to do the opposite. While I have noticeable muscle definition, I am more lean and toned. The lack of testosterone in women (comparable to men) prevents our muscles from developing too largely. Men generally have a higher caloric intake as well, which is needed to develop larger muscles (on top of having all that testosterone!) Unless you’re a body-building fitness competitor, a normal diet and workout routine will not cause you to become a beast. But….if you want to be a beast you may need to read a different blog. I don’t have the same dedication those people have!

So what are the benefits of weight training/lifting?

Tones you up – Like I said earlier, I’ve noticed my body to be more toned as a result from lifting weights. Lifting heavier weight reshapes your muscle and fires more muscle fibers – which gives you a more toned look (which is better than skinny-fat, by the way).  So the more toned and shapely you want your muscles to become, the heavier you should lift. If you stick to strict cardio, you may be burning fat – but you’re also burning muscle and not building it.

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Increases metabolic rate – The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. Not only do you burn calories more effectively during your workout, but you continue to burn calories post-workout — for up to 24 hours! This is because your muscle fibers are still firing and recovering after weight lifting, which also burns calories. Bottom line –  the higher your metabolic rate the more calories you will burn (and can intake).

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Improve stability and strength – Increasing your strength from weight training is a no-brainer, but I’ve found to have more stability and functionality also. Having a strong muscle base helps with everyday activities, which can in turn prevent injury and fatigue. Stronger muscles help support the joints and help in preventing arthritis as we age. Having osteoarthritis and scar tissue in my legs, I’ve found that strengthening my leg muscles with weight training significantly helps reduces discomfort and swelling, and improves my stability.

Here’s a nice diagram that explains the benefits to weight lifting compared to running. (hopefully you can read it)

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