Shape your butt, hips and thighs better by doing effective strength exercises, not by doing hours and hours of cardio or working out longer.
Shape your hips better by training the gluteus medius. You can also avoid injuries by training the gluteus medius. Weakness in the gluteus medius can result in knee and back injuries. Weakness in the gluteus medius also contributes to instability when you walk, run and jump. In other words, you will avoid many injuries just by training the darn gluteus medius!
The gluteus medius is the main hip abductor. It moves your hip away from your body’s midline. Abduction occurs during any movement requiring you to move from side to side. The gluteus medius and gluteus minimus also have critical roles in gait (walking) because they stabilize the pelvis. This prevents the pelvis from tilting sideways when you are balancing on one foot.
The following exercises are great for shaping, strengthening and conditioning the gluteus medius:
1. Side lying leg lifts
2. Single-leg squats
3. Side Lunges (pictured above)
4. Cable or resistance band hip abductions
5. Side Step ups
And, in general, you will tone your butt, hips and thighs better with one-legged exercises. One-legged exercises really burn the leg fat. Your muscles will also be better balanced because the stronger leg can’t help the weaker leg to lift your body. One-legged exercises are also more intense than two-legged exercises.
You will improve your dynamic balance by doing one-legged exercises. Having dynamic balance means that you are able to maintain your center of gravity over a constantly changing base of support. You cannot have dynamic balance without muscular balance.
To achieve muscular balance in your lower body, one-legged exercises should be a big part of the training program. These one-legged exercises can be performed as strengh or power (full speed) exercises.
One lower body exercise that should be in your program is front step ups (pictured below). This exercise is done one leg at a time to force each leg to work evenly.
The hanging leg should not touch the bench and you should lower your body under control. This exercise can also be done with dumbbells to increase difficulty. Other good one-legged exercises would be squats and lunges. Add more one-legged exercises to your training regimen.
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Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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