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The Asstastic Workout: Get Your Butt Ready For Your Swimsuit

By Mike Clausen

Summer means bathing suit season, and let's face it, that means people looking at your butt. Feeling like maybe you've got a little too much jiggle back there? Not to worry—with the right kind of workout, you can get your behind into top gear in short order. I've got a great butt and legs workout for you that you can add into your regular workout two times per week to get in shape for summer.

The key to this workout is supersets. Below, you will see the exercises organized into paired supersets. That means that you should plan to do the exercises in each superset back-to-back, without pausing, but alternating exercises with each set. So, you will do set one of exercise one, immediately followed by set one of exercise two; then, without pausing, go back to exercise one for the second set, and on to exercise two for a second set. Once you've completed all three sets for all exercises in the superset in this fashion, you can take a brief recovery before moving on to the next pair of exercises (note that the last superset has three exercises). The idea is to take your muscles to true fatigue by challenging them in different ways, thus getting more effectiveness from each individual exercise. And while your butt will be sore, remember that it's all in the name of a good cause: turning heads on the beach and at the pool this summer.

Warm-Up Superset
Walking Lunges
Perform a walking lunge with light dumbbells for your warmup. Go deep (so that both knees are at right angles) to get a good stretch in your glutes, and push with your heels. Don't let your knee go past your toes. Repeat for three sets of ten on each side (for an added challenge, if you feel this is not enough, hold the dumbbells at shoulder level, as shown in the second set of photos).
Medicine Ball Chop Squat
Here's a perfect warm-up movement to get your blood going and wake up the muscles in your legs. Holding a 15-pound medicine ball, perform over-head chops bringing the ball down directly in front of your body and going in to a squat position so that the ball comes down to tap the floor. Then lift the ball back up overhead, standing up out of the squat as you do so. Keep chest and head up throughout squat. Plan to do three sets of 20.
TRAINING SUPERSET #1
Cable Squats
Stand facing a cable machine on the lowest setting (either a dual machine or use a bar or double-handled rope attachment). Stand a couple of feet away from the machine and bring your hands up near your face with arms bent, as though at the top of a bicep curl. Bend your knees into a squat, keeping your weight on your heels. Sit until your thighs are parallel to the floor (the counter-balance of the cable should help you to sit a little deeper). Keep knees slightly bent at the top of the squat. Repeat for three sets: for set one, 20 reps at 70 - 80% of your maximum weight; for set two, 20 reps at 85% of your maximum; for set three, 15 reps at 90% of your maximum.
Multi-Directional Lunges
Step all of the way down to a lunge position, then push back off the floor to return to starting position. For an added challenge, touch your hands down to the floor at the bottom of your lunge. Alternate steps to the front, diagonal, and side. Plan to do these in descending sets: 15 on each leg for the first two sets, then 12 for the third set and 10 for a (brutal!) fourth and final set.
TRAINING SUPERSET #2
Dumbbell Squats
Hold dumbbells at your shoulder level. Keep feet about hip width apart and keep your weight on your heels as much as possible. Slowly bend your knees and sit into a squat while giving full resistance to the weight by flexing your thighs throughout the downward movement. Keep muscle work in your legs and out of your back. Keep your head up and keep your lower back slightly arched. On the upward motion, use a more powerful drive, but still with full control of the weight. Do three sets: 15 reps with 20 pound dumbbells for the first set, then up the weight to 25 pounds for the next two sets of 15.
Walking Lunges
Do the same lunges you did in the warm-up, but this time try to hold the dumbbells at your shoulder level, as shown in the second row of photos. This will be three sets of 10 lunges on each side, with 20 pound dumbbells for the first set and 25 pounds for the second and third.
TRAINING SUPERSET #3
Barbell Deadlifts
With feet shoulder width apart, keeping knees slightly bent throughout, hold a barbell or dumbbells in front of you with hands facing in towards your body about shoulder width. Keep back flat and stomach tight. Bending at waist, slowly lower the weight towards ground, keeping your eyes in the mirror to avoid going too low. Then using hams and glutes return to up position. These will be descending sets: 15 reps at 75% of your rep max, then 12 reps at 80%, then 10 reps at 90%.
Hip Raises
Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and feet together, flat on the ground. Press your hips up until they are flat, and your shoulders and head are the only part of your upper body still in contact with the ground. Hold for a moment before descending back to the floor repeat for three sets of 20, only letting your butt come to the floor at the end of the set. (For an added challenge, you can do these with your feet on a stability ball, as in the photo; in this case, begin with legs extended on the ball, and roll the ball toward you as you bend your knees to press your hips up.)
Stationary Split Squats
Hold dumbbells at your side and stand upright with feet hip width apart. Step your left foot forward, keeping your weight evenly distributed between your heel and toes on your left foot while you drop your right knee down into a lunge. Lower the right knee down until the left quadriceps (thigh) is parallel to the floor. Do not let the knee come over the toes. Push back up with weight driving through the heel. You will do three sets of 20 of this exercise, using 20-pound dumbbells for the first set, and 25-pound dumbbells for the next two sets.
Note: A reference for this program is Paul Chek's How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy, San Diego, 2004.

About Mike Clausen: Clausen is the founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006. He has been actively involved in sports and weightlifting since high school, and continues to use that knowledge when training his clients. Clausen is both A.C.E. and N.A.S.M. certified and has been training clients professionally for six years. He enjoys making his clients stronger, both physically and mentally, giving them the tools to create an efficient body and to do things they thought were not possible.