Not getting the results you want from doing glute exercises like squats and lunges? Change the way you do these routine butt building moves and focus on eccentric strength training as a sure-fire way to build your booty. Eccentric training or negative training focuses on applying tension to the muscle as it is lengthening. The usual strength training we do, or concentric training, focuses on applying tension while contracting the muscle. Slowing down the elongation of the muscle is more effective in building both size and strength as muscles are strongest when they move eccentrically. This sort of training also strengthens your connective tissues resulting in a lower risk of injuries. Try this eccentric workout to add muscle mass and shape to your bum. ( I am in the second trimester of my pregnancy and all of these exercises are pregnancy safe.)
Start in a lunge position on the ground with a mat or folded towel under your right knee for cushion. This will ensure you’re in the proper position once you start lunging. Make sure your legs are slightly separated on two tracks the width of your hips for balance. Place your hands either on your hips or hold hand weights for an added challenge. Straighten your legs and press up with the majority of your weight on your front left heel. Squeeze your glutes as you stand up. Slowly lower back down onto your right knee, keeping your hip/knee alignment. This is the eccentric portion you need to focus on. Once you feel your right knee touch the mat, straighten your legs right away so as not to rest at the bottom. Do 15 on each leg.
Use a resistance band around your thighs just above your knees. Lie down on your left side and prop your head up with your left arm. With your right hand on the ground in front of you for support, make sure your shoulders and hips are on top of one another. Bend your knees with both feet stacked in parallel, heels in line with your glutes. Keep your bottom leg on the ground as you squeeze your top glute to lift your knee up until you feel tension on the strap. This is your starting and ending point for each rep! From there, continue to lift the top knee towards the sky without separating your heels. Hold the tension at the top and slowly lower the top knee back down to your starting point. Do 15-20 on each side.
Full Range Squats
Challenge your muscles to work in their full range of motion with a full squat instead of your usual half squat. Turn your legs out slightly if that feels more natural to you. The goal is to get your butt as low to the ground as possible in a slow and controlled manner. Slowly lift your arms straight out in front of you at shoulder height as you lower down, making sure your weight stays on your heels. Keep your leg muscles engaged the entire time, never allowing them to rest at the bottom. When you have reached your maximum depth while maintaining an upright posture, squeeze your glutes as you straighten your legs back up and bring your arms back down to your sides. Perform 20 reps.
You may do these on the floor or if you’re pregnant like me, you will want to use a prop to elevate your head neck and shoulders. Squeeze your glutes to lift your hips up in the air as high as you can without arching your lower back. Make sure your heels are in line with your knees when your hips are up. Slowly lower your hips back down to the floor and without resting, squeeze your glutes to lift right back up. Do 20 reps.
Do 3 sets total of all the exercises.
Have you tried eccentric training to build muscle mass?
Also by Crystal: Dance Stretches for Splits
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