Every girl these days wants to build a toned, athletic physique which not only looks great under a dress or skinny jeans on a night out, but also looks incredible in a bikini in the sun. Every site relating to women’s fitness on the internet are talking about, ‘how to get a toned stomach’, ‘how to get a perky bum’, or ‘how to get slender, athletic looking thighs’. In this article I am going to tell you how to get all three, having you looking incredible right in time for your Christmas party or your cheeky weekend break away in the sun. Your other halves won’t know what hit them.
What’s seen as attractive when it comes to the female form has changed over the last 50 years. From the curvy Marilyn Monroe days, to the stick thin, boyish model look of the nineties. Now the look has changed from the gaunt model look to the more sporty, toned and athletic look. Girls all over the world are now enjoying exercise and resistance training and more and more TRX, Cross fit, and other weight bearing classes are being filled with girls in search of the ‘perfect booty’. Check out the Victoria secret models such as Miranda Kerr and the type of training they do.
Building the perfect bum, tum and thighs however can be tricky. What works for one girl may not work for the next, which is why seeking help from a good professional is always best.
Most girls who have been training for a while know that the best exercises to burn fat, and tone up the bum, thighs and stomach are of course squats, lunges, deadlifts and leg curls. No matter what kind of class or trainer you go to, there will be at least 3 of those exercises in one form or another in your workout programme.
One of the main issues I have as a trainer when I take on a girl who is looking for the ‘perfect bod’, is their inability of actually working their bum when they squat. Due to girl’s footwear and lifestyles that they have, activating their bum has become an issue. More than likely coming from not walking properly, for most of their adult life. When you’re working your bum, you need to make sure that the muscle is awake. This is done by what I call ‘bum activating’. You do this by performing exercises such as glute bridges and kettlebell squats, and really focusing on the squeezing the bum throughout the movement. Basically your waking up your bum and telling it that you are about to use it and need it turned on. Then when you go to do your main bum building exercise such as a squat, your bum will do all the work as opposed to your thighs. Remember, with these exercises, your thighs will naturally do a lot of the work and in turn, get toned but by turning on your bum first, you are not only working your thighs, but your bum is ‘feeling the burn’ too.
Try this the next time your training. Start off with some weighted glute bridges on the floor with a 2.5kg plate resting on your pelvis and raise your hips and squeeze your bum for 15 reps, then with no rest, walk to your squat rack or just pick up a set of dumbbells and begin to squat, going all the way down so your bum is near to the floor and as you come up, you squeeze your bum as hard as you can and repeat 12 times, then if your feeling brave, attempt 20 walking lunges but drive your knee forward and into your chest at the top of the movement while squeezing the bum check that still on the floor. Perform this circuit for 3-4 rounds. This will have your bum and thighs burning for a few hours and you are another step closer to that ‘Victoria Secretesque bod’.
When it comes to having a toned stomach that you could bounce a coin off, I hate t say it, but diet and proper nutrition is key. Yes exercise like crunches and planks will build up the muscle, but unless you get rid of the overlying bodyfat that surrounds the tummy, you are not going to be able to get the toned abs look. Best thing to do is concentrate on exercises such as squats and deadlifts, as they burn the most bodyfat and will in turn have you loosing more weight around your midsection.
For the girl who is already in good shape, then exercises that are going to concentrate on contracting or tensing the stomach muscles are great, such as weighted crunches and leg raises. These will focus on both the upper and lower parts of the stomach. Why not give the following stomach circuit a go to really set your stomach muscles on fire. Start off by working the lower abs. Do this by lying on the floor or hanging from a bar. Bend your knees and gradually bring them up to touch your chest and slowly lower them, all the time concentrating on engaging your stomach muscles. Repeat for 12-15 times, then with no rest, make your way to a bench or if your already on the floor then stay where your are and perform the next exercise which is a hip raise. Lying flat, raise your legs up towards the sky and lift your hips off the bench towards the ceiling, always contracting your lower abs and back down so your hips are flat on the bench or floor again and repeat 12 times. After this, make your way to a Swiss ball or stay on the floor and perform weighted crunches which will now get the upper part of your tummy and squeeze your stomach as you come up and back down and repeat 12-15 times. If you can, repeat all three exercises 4 times.
There you have it. Follow these simple rules and your toned bum, tum and thighs will be glistening in your bikini or have your girlfriends starring in awe at your next work do. Best of luck.
Vinny is a physique coach and has a private studio which he runs with his team called Changing Rooms on lower Leeson St D2. Contact him on www.changingrooms.ie or www.vinnygough.com.