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Training Tips for Women

Trouble Zones: Focusing on Glutes and Abs

Target your trouble spots in one complete workout.

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Ask most women about their “trouble zones” and the answers are almost unanimous: their glutes and abs. And with today’s trendy crop tops and booty-licious leggings taking over the fashion scene, these areas are an even hotter hot topic than ever. Years ago, women may have been keen on covering up their glutes and stomachs, but these days, they are definitely something to flaunt.

“More women are accepting their curves and realizing that you don’t have to be a size zero to accentuate those curves,” says Gigi White, an AFAA-certified master personal trainer and a bodybuilding competitor for more than 30 years. “Flatter abs and a sexy butt will enhance the curvature of your spine and will become more attractive to the eye. A strong core and glutes will protect the lower back, which means less strain to your hips and knees.” 

White says there’s a practical reason to train these two areas simultaneously: since you’re working on both your front (abs) and back side (glutes), you’re creating balance. “It’s just another way to work your muscles more safely,” she continues. “Just a reminder that when it comes to abs, you don’t want to train them every day. Treat them like any other muscle — they need a break, too. Keep a healthy balance of nutrition and exercise for lasting results and to prevent injury.” 

With that in mind, we’ve created an exclusive routine that does it all — pairs up your favorite body parts, saves you time in the gym and gets you jaw-dropping results in less than a month. 

4 Butt Builders

All right, ladies, let’s start with building up that booty. We have selected four killer moves that will give you the derrière of your dreams:

Leg Press

woman on leg press machine

Sets: 3 | Reps: 10-15

Why Do It: Your legs can be the toughest part of your body to strengthen and tone. The leg press — designed to boost lower-body strength — is one of the most efficient ways to sculpt and define both your legs and glutes.

How To Do It: Place your feet high up on the foot plate of a leg-press machine, spacing them widely; this will help put the emphasis on your glutes. Release the safety handles at your sides and bend your legs to 90-degree angles. Pushing through your heels, extend your legs without locking your knees, then retract slowly, using negative resistance. You will feel the burn in your hamstrings and glutes on the negative (the descent) and your quads on the positive (on extension). 

Trainer’s Tip: When you’ve done 10 reps and think you are maxed out, think again! Do five more half-presses and feel the burn — that’s how you get that sexy glutes! To kick things up a level, White says to make it a single leg press.

Leg Plié Squeeze

fit woman performing leg plie squeeze squat

Sets: 3 | Reps: 10-15

Why Do It: This exercise will enhance your glutes and inner thighs.

How To Do It: With your feet spaced wider than shoulder-width apart, hold a dumbbell with both hands, arms slightly bent and extended toward the floor. Keep your shoulders back, your core tight and your toes pointing out at 45-degree angles. Bend your knees until your thighs are about parallel to the ground, then press through your heels and squeeze your glutes to return to the starting position.

Trainer’s Tip: Add a pulsing movement to help active and fatigue muscles more quickly.

Deep Bench Lunge

woman performing deep bench lunge exercise in gym

Sets: 3 | Reps: 8-12 (each leg) 

Why Do It: Lunges are a great way to work the lower body, but using the bench increases your intensity level, works your legs and glutes, and challenges your core. Bonus: Aside from giving you a bangin’ booty, it also improves your balance.

How To Do It: Stand at least 2 feet away from a bench and extend your right leg back so the top of your foot rests on the bench. Bend your left leg, ensuring that your knee does not extend beyond your toes. If it does, slowly shift your foot forward to keep your shin and foot at a 90-degree angle on the downward motion. When your set is complete, repeat the move on your opposite leg.

Trainer’s Tip: The deep bench lunge is great for unilateral movement, which White says can help correct any muscle imbalances. When performing this exercise, she says to make sure both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle as you lower your body toward the floor.

Bridge

fit woman doing a glutei bridge

Sets: 2 | Reps: 10

Why Do It: This exercise targets your glutes and hamstrings, and it’s a great do-anywhere move.

How To Do It: Lie on the floor with your knees bent, your feet flat on the floor and your arms extended along the sides of your body. Gently lift your glutes off the floor as high as you can, then return to the start.

Trainer’s Tip: Make it harder by holding a weight plate across your pelvis as you lift. Another option is to put your feet on a Bosu ball to add a stabilization element. 

3 Ab Builders

Those glute moves were tough, but you’re not through yet — after the bridge, rest one minute, then move on to your ab exercises.

Medicine-Ball Rotation

woman demonstrating a medicine ball rotation on the ground

Sets: 3 | Reps: 10-20

Why Do It: Your lower abdominals will love you.

How To Do It: Grab a 4- or 6-pound medicine ball and sit on an exercise mat, leaning back about 45 degrees. Keep your knees bent and feet flat on the floor; move your feet farther away from your body to make this move harder. Extend your arms in front of you and rotate through your core, first to the left, then to the right for one repetition, keeping your eyes on the ball as you move.

Trainer’s Tip: To increase demands on your abdominal muscles, White suggests leaning back about halfway and elevating both feet off the floor.

Side Plank with Cable Pull

fit woman demonstrating side plank with cable pull

Sets: 3 | Reps: 10 (each side)

Why Do It: You’ll target your obliques and your deepest core muscles. 

How To Do It: Attach a D-handle to a pulley set to about knee height. Lie on your side a few feet away from and facing the weight stack, and grab the handle in your upper hand. Lift into a side plank with your legs stacked, your lower arm straight and your upper arm extended in front of you. Pull the handle toward your shoulder, keeping your hips lifted and your shoulders facing forward. When done, repeat on your other side. 

Trainer’s tip: If you don’t have access to a cable pull, you can always do elbow to a knee tuck. To do this, White says to position yourself into a side plank and rest on one forearm. Then, extend your other arm straight out above your head. At the same time, pull the elbow and knee in, until they meet in the center.

Mountain Climber

fit woman doing mountain climbers in gym

Sets: 3 | Reps: 10-20 

Why Do It: You’ll strengthen your core and increase your heart rate.

How To Do It: Get into a push-up position with your hands on the floor, heels raised so your bodyweight is supported by your toes. Bend your right leg, bringing your knee as close to your chest as you can, then quickly bring it back to the starting position and repeat with your left leg for one rep. Complete the set, alternating legs. Yes, these are brutal, but won’t it be nice to have sexy abs that match your sexy butt?

Trainer’s tip: Adding sliders or gliders to mountain climbers will create more of a challenge, helping increase your overall balance and core strength. 

Get Your Best Butt with The Bike

In a hurry to show off your bum? This bike routine is great for improving the look of your tush, and adding cycling into the mix will make your results come even quicker. The key to bike training is intervals: alternating quick bursts of near-maximum effort with lower-intensity periods of activity. Add two or three bike sessions per week to your plan to help remove fat from all over your body while strengthening your legs and glutes. 

Why Do It: You’ll burn about 10 calories per minute over half an hour — that adds up to 300 calories (based on a 155-pound woman cycling at 12 to 14 mph).

How To Do It: Choose the hill program on your indoor bike for a preprogrammed ride, sign up for an indoor cycling class at your gym or make your own program. Here’s how: Pedal with light resistance for three minutes to warm up. Over the next four minutes, increase resistance by one or two levels per minute. Try to keep the rotations per minute the same no matter what your resistance. When you reach minute eight, release the tension on your bike by one level per minute until you are back at your starting resistance. Repeat this circuit twice, then cool down at your starting resistance level for three to five minutes. Boom! You’ll have a bangin’ booty in no time!

 

Get Your Best Abs with a Kettlebell/Medicine Ball HIIT Workout

No, you don’t have to lie on your back to get rock-hard abs — you just need two really powerful pieces of equipment: a kettlebell and a medicine ball. 

Why Do It: “Kettlebells are great for strengthening abs and adding medicine ball slams increases intensity,” says White. “It’s a great finisher for any workout.”

How To Do It: Begin with 30 seconds of slams, followed by 30 seconds of swings. Then rest for 30 seconds and repeat 4-8 times depending on your level of fitness. 

Trainer’s Tip: The kettlebell swing is a hip-dominant exercise. While performing this exercise, White says you must keep your back flat and neck straight. Be careful not to let the kettlebell travel higher than the shoulder. When it comes to the slams, she says to extend your arms above your head and bend forward from the waist, while keeping knees slightly bent. Use your core and arms to slam the medicine ball straight down between your feet — and exhale while doing so.

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