Thoughtful Thursday…My exact routine for firing up the glutes and abs…
Welcome to Thoughtful Thursday. This GreenNote Fitness newsletter mindfully gathers and distills useful information that is supportive to our journey. It is my mission to educate, inspire, and propel you into action that moves you towards your goals and life of purpose. Take control of your journey today.
Once in awhile after training you can feel amazing! You know that feeling when everything was working right, warm-up was even awesome, and then the you get that right combination of exercises performed correctly, you can just feel your muscles thanking you. I had just such an experience and will share with you my exact routine for firing up the glutes and abs. Why a glutes and abdominal routine? I will answer that with a question, why not? Seriously, why not? Two very important aspects of the human body are the glutes and abdominal muscles. A common imbalance is a weak butt. This is due to a combination of sitting for extended periods of time which “turns off” the butt muscles, and then at the end of the day, trying to go jogging, cycling, or any other type of exercise with those butt muscles not activated. That scenario creates a few problems. Firstly, you could get low back pain as your pelvic joint overcompensates for a weak butt, and your hips and legs aren’t generating the power that they should be able to generate. The stomach is a crucial connecting point between the upper body (chest, shoulders, arms) and lower body (butt, hips, and thighs). The stomach muscles play a key role in good posture which reduces wear and tear on the spine. Twisting, lifting, getting up and down from a chair or floor, all require the strength of the the core. To answer the question of why a 'glutes and abdominal routine' more specifically, I chose to focus on those two areas to help with my SI joint issues which you can learn more about here. After doing this routine, my SI joint felt really good. No pain shooting down my leg, no hesitation standing, or bending…moving. I could feel the blood flow had gotten to those areas. Regardless if you are experiencing SI joint issues or not, (or trying to prevent joint issues), a strong core and glute muscles are crucial for functional movement, longevity, sports performance, and overall good health. Sitting for extended periods will ‘turn off’ those muscles so mindfulness is crucial. Warm-up Every good (training) day begins with a warm up to get that blood circulating and your mind and body ready to go. This was no exception, I jumped on the Elliptical machine for ten minutes. Usually I only do 6 minutes but this day I felt I needed a little bit more. The Elliptical is great because it incorporates both the upper and lower body at the same time and is easy on the joints.
Plank hold with alternating straight-leg step-out Immediately after warm-up I went to a core exercise. This one is great for working the rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis. Begin in a plank position on forearms with elbows bent and feet together. Next, keeping both legs straight, move the right leg out to the side, back to center. Next move the left leg out to the side and back to center. Keep repeating this for time or reps. I did this for one minute.
Single leg hip thrust with shoulders elevated Next up - firing the glutes with a single-leg hip thrust. I was so, so excited with this one as it didn’t cause pain in my joint, rather it helped. Bingo! I had tried to do glute bridges from laying on the floor but that angle proved problematic. This angle, on the other hand, was my friend. This exercise requires a good deal of hip stability and strength and can help with any imbalances between sides of the glutes and hips (definitely felt a difference between left and right!). Lie with your upper back resting on a bench and your feet flat on the floor in front of you. Lift your left foot off the ground, then raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. At the top of the rep your right thigh should be parallel to the floor. Hold for a count and then slowly return to the starting position. Don’t let your left foot touch the ground between reps. I completed twelve reps on one side and repeated on the other side. This exercise does a nice job of moving the hips though a full range of motion, targeting the glutes and hamstrings.
Hanging leg raises This exercise maximally stimulates the stomach and works the transverse abdominis. Grasp and hang from a bar with an overhand grip and slightly wider than shoulder width, the raise your legs until your hips are completely flexed, knees are well above hips. Slowly lower legs to starting position, keeping the feet together throughout the movement. This is a more challenging exercise. Less challenging would be to bend the knees and bring them to the chest.
Single-leg step-up to box Another excellent way to target the glutes and work on any imbalances between the left and right leg is stepping up to a box, preferably knee high or taller. The balance required in a high step-up calls more muscles into play, producing fuller, shapelier development - so noted Drs. Angel Spassov and Terry Todd in their article Bulgarian Leg Training Secrets. Start by squaring up to box and push off all four corners of the step foot - the ground foot should not assist. That is really the key here - do not push off with the back leg, instead drive through the foot that is on the box. The taller the box, the more range of motion and therefore the more the glutes and hamstrings get involved.
Walking A great way to finish (or begin) a training session and also to incorporate into your day as much as possible. Note; make use of your time walking with being mindful of good posture and breathing. Butt and Stomach Routine Warm-up: 10 minutes Elliptical
3x (three times) through each of the following exercises:
Plank hold with single straight leg step outs: 1 minute
Single leg hip thrust with shoulders elevated: 12 repetitions each side
Hanging leg raises: 12 repetitions
Single leg step up to tall box: 12 repetitions each side
Cool-down: Walking moderate pace: 1 mile
There you have it, my butt and stomach routine. I will continue to incorporate this weekly with some additional exercises focusing on different abdominal muscles. As I mentioned, I didn’t experience any joint pain with the single-leg hip thrust in particularly. That is also a good one should you be dealing with any knee pain. So glutes and abs - fire them up! Protect your joints, spine, and look and feel better! Enjoy your journey, Lisa Schaffer GreenNote Fitness You wouldn’t happen to know just one person that would benefit from this information? Please forward it to them! Did you miss last week’s newsletter on inflammation…4 things to watch out for ...? P.S. Check out my Facebook page for inspiration. P.P.S. Discover GreenNote Fitness recommendations for books, podcasts, and more on body, mind, and spirit.