Long ago, I was in the market for a book that would outline various lower body strengthening exercises. So I visited Borders (aw…*takes moment of silence*) and found this gem in the exercise section:
I can’t imagine what caught my eye. It’s a mystery.
What I affectionately term “The Butt Book” has turned out to be one of the most useful tools in my exercise regimen. I can’t think of a lower body exercise – in or out of the gym – that this book does not describe. It will tell you how to do it and how to make sure your technique is correct so that you do it safely. It also outlines different workouts and the rate at which you should increase the intensity of your strength training. For a person such as myself who tends toward the all-or-nothing frame of mind, this has been helpful.
Today’s movement involved the five exercises I describe briefly below. I completed two reps of ten each, since that seems to be my starting point this month. Starting slow also helps me slow down and pay attention to form.
Again, as with all strength training – engage your core so you don’t hurt yourself. It’s also important in these exercises to isolate the movement. Try to keep the rest of your body still while only the muscles required to execute the rep are used.
1.Post squat (…ish. I totally keep both feet on the floor) – Holding on to something sturdy (I used my largest bookshelf), bend from a standing position to a sitting one. Don’t let your knees cross over in front of your toes, because that’s bad for you knees, and they will tell you about it – loudly – if you do it. Stand back up to complete the exercise.
2. Good mornings – This is like a crunch but for your back. Actually, the idea of crunching your back gives me the willies. Pretend I didn’t say that. What I meant to say was that it strengthens your back. Stand with your feet just over shoulder width apart, feet turned out (second position, modern dancers). Contracting your abs and keeping your head and spine aligned, bend forward until your body is parallel to the floor. Stand back up.
3. Kick backs (not the name in the book – I forget what the book calls them) – Holding on to the same sturdy thing from before and contracting your abs, lift your right leg behind you. Lower and repeat with left leg.
4. Kneeling side leg raises (or what I like to call Fire Hydrants) – Get down on your hands and knees. Keeping the leg bent, lift your right leg up until it is parallel to the floor (watch. your. alignment. It’s easy to piss your back off with this one). Lower leg and repeat with the left leg.
5. Seated inside raises – Sit on the floor, one leg bent and the foot on the floor in front of you and the other leg turned out and stretched out at an angle in front of you. Keeping everything else still, lift the straight leg up and in (so that it ends up in front of you at the same angle as your other leg, only extended). Lower down. Repeat with other leg.
Because the last three are one-leg-at-a-time activities, this sequence will feel more like eight exercises instead of five.
Strength training, if done correctly, can make everything else easier. Strength training, if done incorrectly, can injure you and make everything else – even sleeping – harder. My advice is that if you are serious about adding strength training to your plate, go to a gym and take their weight room orientation, or talk to a personal trainer.
Or at least buy The Complete Book of Butt and Legs and do what it says.*
* Full disclosure – this is an affiliate link, which means if you follow the link and buy it, I get a cut.