"Fix the butt, fix the body" is a common gym philosophy. That's because fit hips bring a slew of health benefits.
If you're already eating right, the benefits may not be as dramatic. With good eating, things such as cholesterol, blood sugar and digestion tend to improve.
If the tush is toned, it's strong. Muscle increases your metabolism. With increased metabolism you burn more energy more often and will generally be leaner. The training you put into building muscle will also benefit your legs. They will be stronger and leaner.
Check out your hip position. If your hips are always in a neutral position instead of tilted forward or backward then your back won't hurt and your knees won't turn in when you walk. (See my April 16 column on hips.)
While working on your hips, you'll probably find that tight leg muscles will inhibit your range of motion. You'll know this by your squat depth and knee position.
Tight muscles are pesky. As soon as you seem to loosen one, another manifests. They can have a negative effect on your hip routine. Use the foam roller to massage out knots in the leg muscles (See my April 23 column on foam rolling.)
Spend a workout foam rolling. Roll the front, back, inside and outside of the thighs. Don't forget the calves and glutes. Most people have an area or two that needs attention. Spend time on those areas every couple of days until they are less tender.
Working on the butt, you'll find other issues to address. By working on those issues you will improve your general health.
Sculpting the butt can be difficult. The rear end tends to get lazy and let other muscles take over. The inner thigh or quads can do most of the work during a leg press. Sometimes the back will take on more load than it should during dead lifts. If the outer thighs are tight, like they generally are, you can fatigue quickly, resulting in knee pain. All these problems make it difficult to have an effective glute workout.
The solution is form. Form, form, and more form. Be sure you're doing exercises correctly and concentrate on the muscle being worked. Ask a trainer or friend if you're not sure.
The exercises in today's column are shown with an exercise band but you can perform them without one.
Give them a try, and if they are too easy then progress to using the bands. Ankle and knee bands are relatively easy to find. Most sporting goods stores have them and they are not expensive. They come in a variety of resistances and lengths. I recommend starting with an easy one and working up to more difficult ones.
Chris Huth is a Las Vegas trainer. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Before beginning any exercise program, consult your physician.