Interesting. I’m looking back at my original post, Bringing Up The Rear, and realize that it was published almost a year ago. An entire year. Wow, that is really telling – see? Documentation is everything because it really puts things into perspective.
If you read that post last October, you know that I was frustrated with that nagging, sagging body part. I was even so dedicated to make change that I created a haiku this past spring to fuel my determination.
Well I’m sorry to report that not much has changed since my original quest began. I amped it up for a while, with OK progress, but then slipped into The Slacking Season, so I’m clearly not where I wanted to be in a year’s time.
I apologize for the grainy selfies, but you get the idea. The orange suit pic is Oct, 2012 and the grainies were taken yesterday.
On a bright note, though, I’m excited to announce that I started a new program, specifically targeted at getting the hind end to its full potential. Ever heard of Bret Contreras? Well if you haven’t, he’s apparently The Glute Guy. Where has he been all my life?!? I caught my first glimpse of Bret on a website called NiaShanks.com. If you follow my facebook page, then you know my love for Nia and her no-nonsense approach to lifting. I stumbled upon her website a few years ago, and she has had a huge influence on my personal workout philosophy. Less is more, cardio is overrated and tough chicks are cool.
So when Nia posted about Bret’s new book, Strong Curves, I took notice because most of her endorsements are right up my alley. She even wrote an article about glute activation in her follow-up. I don’t know about you, but I totally believe that timing is everything, and at the time I received all this wonderful information I wasn’t in the mode to use it. I loved the idea of the book, and tried to get excited, but just couldn’t muster the gumption. I even half-heartedly droned through the exercises of Nia’s a few times, but because they are warm-ups (which I have little patience for) they fell by the wayside quickly. Anyway.
Fast forward to late August, when my gumption returned. I realized what a toll NOT working out had on me over the summer. And I didn’t tell you this in the video, but my glutes suffered the most. I had taken for granted the little bit of shape I’d built last year, and finally had to acknowledge the lack of dimension at the back door. No wonder I was having such hip pain, I was sitting on two pancakes all summer! Pass the syrup.
On the heels of that revelation, I read and shared this article by another one of my training mentors, Jamie Eason, and Jamie is well-known for her posterior prowess. Something in the article struck me like a thunderbolt. The website won’t allow me to copy the quote here, but the gist of the idea was that although squats and lunges are great lower body exercises, it’s the FRONT TO BACK movements that maximize glute training.
There was a time when I was doing Glute Bridges and Hip Thrusts on a regular basis, but they were tedious for me because of the large space required to do them and the length of the set-up and break-down time. Turns out that was time well spent and I should have continued with it. This one point, though there are many in the article, got me fired up to change my lower body workouts entirely. After all, if you keep doing what you’re doing (you know the adage), and I wanted DIFFERENT results than what I was getting with deadlifting and squats!
About that time I decided to revisit the Strong Curves idea, and finally received the book this weekend. I was SO excited by Bret’s philosophy on glutes definition, I wanted to get started right away. Yesterday was Day 1 of the Twelve-Week Gorgeous Glutes Program, and I swear my buns feel perkier already!
There are a few key elements of the book that resonated with me:
The glutes are the largest muscles in the body, so working them to their fullest potential will accelerate fat burning, causing the entire body to lean out.
You guys know that I am all about simple and efficient. How in the world could I have missed this fact? I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t know these were our most massive on-board fat burners before now, but I will mitigate this mistake and move on.
“The glutes play an integral role in your overall functioning and wellness, but the single nagging issue that prevents you from running like a well-oiled machine is that your glutes shut down.” The bottom line is (sorry) the glutes are lazy.
Over time, as we age, we get more sedentary. With all the sitting we do, the glutes don’t get used enough. Because they require a lot of energy for activation, the body shuts them down to conserve for other functions and alternate muscle groups take over jobs they weren’t meant to do. This can lead to excessive wear and tear on those muscles and/or injuries. No wonder half of everyone over 40 that I encounter has some sort of back pain and/or looks as though they inserted a cookie sheet in their pants! You have to really focus on your butt and LITERALLY get it in gear on a regular basis to keep it working for you.
Do like the Brazilians do. Did you know that most Brazilian women devote 30-60 minutes exclusively each workout to the glutes alone? It’s no wonder their reputation for tight butts is rock solid.
That is not to say that I plan to abandon all quad and hamstring moves, but if the glutes are as stubborn as Bret portrays, I’ll be hitting them more often and with more intensity! Up until now, I was only targeting my tush for 2 exercises per week. That was the weighted hyperextension and the bastardized butt blaster on a leg extension machine. It was tough, and I was progressing, but clearly it wasn’t enough to make the changes I’m after.
So the plan is to up my lower body workouts to 3 times per week. This will still include some of my bigger compound exercises like stiff-legged deadlifts, varying kinds of squats, etc. However, the glute moves will far exceed the leg moves. I will be adding weighted hip thrusts, glute bridges with varying intensity and all kinds of other fun stuff that I’ve never tried before.
Though I’ve never met Bret, I have a high level of respect for his many diligent years of work on perfecting these methods. And because I also respect copyright laws, I won’t be detailing the workouts in his book here. However through the links I’ve provided, you should be able to get a firm grasp on his philosophies on glute training and find several exercises to reach your goals. You can even download a free 46-page sample of Strong Curves for your gluting pleasure!
I’ll be providing updates and photos as I progress through the program. I have high expectations, and you should too!
Gravity got you down? What’s your best booty secret?
Interested to learn how this is program is going? See the progress post at WEEK 6.
Endorsement Disclosure: From time to time I’ll extol the virtues of a specific product or service. Rest assured that I receive zero compensation in doing so. If I really like something, I feel compelled to share. Word of mouth is a powerful force, and I love to see excellence rewarded.