January 13, 2013

Balance Your Way To A Better Butt

Balance is an oft-ignored part of fitness, at least until we get older and start worrying about falls.  Working on one leg is an effective way to improve balance. It can also help you get a stronger core while you strengthen your legs and butt.
When you stand on one leg you force your stabilizers to work, especially those deep in the hip.  These are especially important as we age.  You can do a variety of exercises on one leg; squats, calf raises, and upper body exercises such as a shoulder press or biceps curl.. 
One of the best exercises for balance, core and glut strength is a one legged deadlift.  (I did not make up these names).  Start without a weight, and work up to holding weights.

Stand with your legs hip width apart, with your right leg in front of your left.

Keep the right knee bent throughout.   Place all of your weight into your right foot, so that your left heel is off the ground.  Maintain the normal arch of your back (do not round or over arch it), and “hinge” from the hip to bring the spine parallel to the ground. 
 Try to relax your neck, do not allow your head to drop down or arch up.  Keep this alignment and straighten back up.  You will feel your core and right glut doing most of the work.  Aim for eight reps on each leg, and gradually increase. Once you are comfortable with this, try it holding your back leg off the ground.

Your balance, abs and butt will all thank you.

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