No equipment? No problem. This at-home bodyweight workout will help strengthen your glutes and contribute to better balance and posture.
For those under new tier four restrictions who have once again had to wave goodbye to their gyms, or for the people who just don’t have time to get out for a longer strength training session during the Christmas period, bodyweight exercises can help you stay on top of your fitness.
There’s no need to worry about losing your progress when you introduce bodyweight exercises, because they allow you to continue building up strength while doing great things for your balance and stability. They also don’t require too much space, meaning they can be done just about anywhere.
So, if you want a good lower body workout, there are plenty of bodyweight exercises you can try that will keep you on track to your fitness goals, no equipment necessary. And a good place to start is your glutes.
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Your glutes are your body’s biggest muscle, and are responsible for keeping you upright when doing everything from running and walking to working from home.
Stronger glutes also support proper posture. As body transformation coach Nazia Khatun explains, a lot of lower back pains in particular “can be the result of weak glutes or glutes that aren’t being used properly,” and so by strengthening them you can help to prevent or treat these pains.
She goes on to explain that not only can you get an effective glute workout with no equipment, she actually recommends it. In fact, according to Nazia, it’s a good idea to “get used to training without any equipment, unless of course you are competing,” because this will help you to build up strength without putting your joints under undue strain.
“The main objective of strong glutes is to stabilise the pelvis and movement around the hip area,” Nazia continues. “This will also help with good posture and a strong lower back, which will support the motion of everyday movement.”
If you’re looking to put together a bodyweight workout for strengthening your glutes, then Nazia recommends the following five exercises:
- Bulgarian squats
- Glute bridge with band
- Side lunges
- Donkey kicks
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She suggests doing three sets of this routine back to back, “performing each exercise for 20 reps.”
Bulgarian split squats
Stand a foot or two in front of a sturdy chair, and place your left foot on the surface behind you. Keeping your core tight, lower your body downwards until your front leg is at a 90 degree angle and your back knee is just a couple of inches off the ground. Nazia says to do this slowly, because “not only will you feel it more, but it will also add lower body mass,” making the exercise more challenging.
Standing straight with your feet shoulder width apart, lower your body towards the ground by pushing your weight back into your heels and bending your knees. Once your legs are at 90 degrees (or as near to that as you can get), push back up to your starting position. “Ensure you squeeze coming up,” says Nazia, “and you will feel this exercise hit the legs and glutes far more.”
Glute bridge with band
Lie on your back with your arms by your sides and a small resistance band around your legs, just above the knees. Keeping your palms facing downwards, lift your hips off the ground so that your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. “Hold at the top for three seconds” and then return to your starting position. And, “to really get your glutes fired, focus on the tension going up and down,” says Nazia.
Side lunges are great for “hitting the glutes from the sides so you can cover all the angles,” explains Nazia. To complete the exercise, start from standing with your feet hip-width apart. Then, holding your hands in front of your chest for balance, step your left leg out to the side as wide as possible and push your hips back. With both feet now flat on the ground, you should feel the stretch through your extended leg. Then, push up with your right foot to return to standing.
Starting on your hands and knees on a mat, lift your left leg out behind you, keeping it bent as you move. Once your back foot is parallel with the ceiling, bring it back down and repeat with the other leg. Make sure to keep your movements slow and controlled, “to target the bottom part of the bum cheeks.”
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