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27-10-05, 03:39

Two exercises to work your gluteus maximus

Two advanced exercises to work your gluteus maximus to the max.

by Maureen Hagan (canadianliving.com)


Related Content
- Body Basic: Glutes
- Body Basic: Abdominal curl
- More

Intermediate Hip Bridge

Equipment: Mat (optional) and weighted ball

A. Lie on your back on the floor or mat with your knees bent, feet hip-distance apart on the floor, heels aligned vertically with your knees, and arms alongside your body on the floor. Place the weighted ball between your thighs just above your knees and squeeze throughout the exercise. See the moves.
B. Press your shoulders into the floor and pull your abdominals in (imagine your navel touching your spine). Keep your spine long and strong as you exhale, lifting your hips off the floor and pushing your them up into a bridge. Make sure you feel the lift in your buttocks. Pause at the top and inhale. Exhale as you lower back down to the starting position. See the moves.

Repetitions and sets:
Repeat slowly 10 times. If you want more of a challenge, hold each lift longer instead of doing more repetitions.

27-10-05, 03:41
Body Basic: Glutes

Strong glutes help you play harder and keep your knees in shape.

By Charlene Prickett


Strong muscles in your buttocks are a potential powerhouse that give any aerobic activity a boost. Great glutes will give you more speed in running, cross-country skiing and skating and improve your moves in sports such as hockey, ringette, tennis and squash. How do strong glutes help? As they move your hip joint they can draw your leg backward or propel you forward, sideways, up or down. If your glutes are too weak to produce the movements they're meant to, your body will compensate by using other muscles, but this "B-team" is less efficient, so your performance suffers. Plus, compensatory muscle-movement patterns, over time, are likely to cause chronic injury.

Glutes also play a major role in knee health. Actually composed of three muscles (gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus), the hardworking glutes provide critical stabilization to the hip joints. If your gluteal muscles are weak, you'll have difficulty controlling your hip and thigh movements. This will cause your knees to fold in toward each other, which can lead to knee pain. This problem is more common in women than in men because the female pelvis is wider, forming a more severe angle (the Q angle) between the hip and knee. And if your knees hurt when you move, you lose a lot of aerobic exercise choices -- virtually everything except swimming, cycling and maybe the step machine.

Stay in the game: don't let weak glutes sabotage your fitness program with knee problems. Start with this exercise to put a powerhouse behind you and get your butt in gear.


Single Leg Bridge
Lie on your back with your left leg bent and your left foot flat on the floor. Point your right leg straight up in the air, with the knee soft (not locked).

With the left foot, push your lower trunk into the air, keeping your back in its normal, neutral position (neither arched nor flexed). As you get to your highest point, be extra careful not to arch your back. Push up in one count and lower slowly in three counts. (Up should be faster than down.) Do one set of 12 repetitions, then change legs.

When you can do two sets easily, add an ankle weight to the lifted leg for a bigger challenge.

27-10-05, 03:42
Body Basic: Abdominal Curl

The cross-cycling action in this exercise works your abs.

By Maureen Hagan


Photography by Susan Ashukian

Want to strengthen your abs? Try this exercise.

Abdominal Curl
1. Lie on your back with both knees bent at 90 degrees directly over your hips and your feet in the air. Keeping your shins parallel with the floor, tilt the back of your pelvis down toward the floor, but not necessarily flat against it.

2. Place your hands behind your head and tighten your lower abdominals, focussing on drawing your navel in toward your spine. Straighten your right leg out and lower it toward the floor at the same time as you move your left knee in toward your chest and your right shoulder and elbow diagonally across to meet your left knee. Exhale as you perform this diagonal cross-over cycling action. Pause to inhale and exhale, then switch sides.

3. Focus on maintaining a stable low spine during the cross-over action, by pulling your abdominals in and up and exhaling as you extend one leg out and the opposite knee and elbow toward each other. Don't worry if your elbow does not touch your knee.

4. Keep your head relaxed and try not to pull it with your arms as you perform the exercise. Let your breath set the pace.

Repetitions and Sets
Perform one set of five to 10 repetitions on each side (10-20 total). Do this exercise at least every other day.

27-10-05, 03:52
Bedtime yoga routine

Release tension with relaxing movements that'll soothe you to sleep.

By Michelle Cederberg

It's 1 a.m. You've been tossing and turning since 10:30 p.m. when you first went to bed, but you can't seem to relax your body and shut off your mind. The harder you work at getting to sleep, the more awake you are, and all you can think about is all the work you have to do tomorrow.

Our daily schedules -- battling traffic, shuttling the kids here and there, working, preparing meals, fitting in a social life, even exercise -- can make it difficult to relax. At the end of the day we expect our energy-charged bodies to shut down instantly and make way for sleep. Whether you have trouble falling asleep, or have trouble staying asleep, sleep disruptions can hamper your effectiveness and increase your stress.

To ease into sleep, try a relaxing yoga routine. Yoga has many different forms that aim to "free the student of their ties with the material world" in order to return to the original, ecstatic state of enlightenment and relaxation. Simply put, yoga and its meditative qualities can help you sleep better. Tonight, once you've completed your normal evening rituals, set aside 10 minutes for a five-step relaxation process.

To start your bedtime yoga routine today click on the link below, 5 step bedtime yoga routine

27-10-05, 03:54
Step 1: Standing Stretch
Stand comfortably with your feet shoulder-width apart. As you inhale deeply, raise your arms above your head with hands clasped, and come up onto your toes. Stretch your whole body upward. Exhale and bring your arms to your sides; lower your heels to the floor. Repeat once more. (Click here to see the exercise.)
Step 2: Easy Swing
Find slow rhythmic movement. Stand with your feet slightly apart and knees slightly bent. Gently swing both arms first to the right, turning your head to the right. Then swing to the left, turning your head to the left. Repeat several times in a continuous movement. Relax, with your legs together and arms by your sides. At all times, focus on your breathing and release tension throughout your body. (Click here to see the exercise.)
Step 3: Seated Pose
Ease into a seated position. You do not have to choose a traditional yoga posture, simply opt for one that allows you to remain still for as long as possible. Breathe evenly and deeply so that your abdomen rises as you breathe in. Exhale slowly and begin to calm your rushing mind. Withdraw your attention from your surroundings. Focus on the rhythm of your breathing for 10 to 12 full deep inhalations and exhalations.
Slow, deep, rhythmic breathing can help you to deal with stress more effectively and improve your ability to sleep. But this type of breathing doesn't come naturally to most people. Yoga promotes breathing that is deep, smooth, even, quiet and free of pauses. Focus on breathing through your nose and deep within your diaphragm. (Click here to see the exercise.)
Step 4: Child's Pose
Child's resting pose (Balasana) helps relieve stress and fatigue, calms the brain and will bring you a step closer to relaxation. Start by resting on your knees and then sink back so your thighs and buttocks drop between your knees.
Spread your knees as wide as a yoga mat, keeping your big toes touching.
Bring your belly to rest between your thighs and bring your forehead towards the floor.
Either stretch your arms in front of you with your palms toward the floor or bring your arms back alongside your thighs with palms facing upwards. Remain in this posture for a few minutes. Allow all of your weight to sink to the floor and continue to focus on your breath. (Click here to see the exercise.)
Step 5: Corpse Pose
Corpse pose (Savasana) is a resting pose, but it's not the same as sleeping. Usually you should stay present and aware during the five to 10 minutes of this relaxation. In this case, however, you may want to settle into bed and allow the relaxation carry you into sleep. Lie on your back and let your feet fall out to either side. Let your arms drop alongside your body with palms turned upwards.
Focus on the breath and allow your thoughts to drift away before they take hold. Continue to focus on the breath and allow your body to sink deeper into ease. (Click here to see the exercise.)
When you first try these exercises, don't set time limits on any one portion. Rather, focus your efforts of the breathing and heaviness that should enter your mind and body.