The Best Butt-Toning Move You’ve Never Heard Of.
Our body is built to move in three ways: forward and backward, in and out, and rotationally. But we spend most of our lives just moving forward and backward—think walking, squatting, lunging, sitting down, and standing up. Because of this, many of us end up with a strong gluteus maximus (aka center of the butt) but weak gluteus medius and minimus (or outsides of the butt).
The takeaway from this is that the weakness in the sides of your butt can cause pain in your lower back. I know this ALL too well. It can also weaken your hips, which get stuck in that rut of forward-backward motion.
To tone the outsides of the rear end and give a little TLC to your smaller gluteal muscles, you need to do some in-and-out and rotational work. That's where clamshells, an external hip rotation exercise, come in. They're a favorite of physical therapists for a reason - because they're simple to do, and they fight the hip immobility that tends to come with aging.
How To Do Clamshells:
Simply lie on one side in fetal position. Keep your feet stacked, one on top of the other, but lift your top knee up and out to form a diamond shape. Hold momentarily, then very slowly lower to starting position. You should take about 3 times as long lowering as you do lifting. Do 20 repetitions on this side before rolling to your other side for another 20.
Now I know what you're thinking, these remind you of that old leg squeezer they used to sell on infomercials. I know! My mum used to have one hehe. But I cannot deny that this movement pattern works. Another way to increase the intensity is to get a exercise band and pop that around your knees to pull apart. Much like the Abductor (good girl bad girl) machine at your gym, it will force you to engage your glute med to stabilise.
Try to include this move in your daily routine at least three days a week to increase your hip mobility and strengthen those glutes!!
Most common mistakes with leg exercises:
You don't engage your core.
So.... where is your strength coming from?
"I don't feel my glutes, I only feel my quads."
Cool. Well you're just not affectively engaging them. Try something else.
You let your ego call the shots and you always put the weight up.
Leave your ego at the door. Please. No one cares what you lift.
You lock your knees out.
"I don't like this exercise"
Great! It's probably a good one for you then. Its obviously challenging you to the point of discomfort. Keep trying. Rome wasn't built out of toothpicks.