A very simple exercise that can help tighten up a recalcitrant bottom.
- Lie on back, knees bent and feet flat on floor, hip width apart.
- Bring your feet close to your bottom, so the knees are over the ankles. When they are further away, this engages the hamstrings1 more and in my experience it is the backside that is weak, not the hamstrings.
- Make sure your feet are pointing forwards.
- Tuck under your tail and lift up the hips.
- Prod your bottom. Is anything happening there??
- If it is – and they will be v tight buns – now engage the inner thighs too. Imagine your knees are strongly magnetised. So they remain straight, not knocking inwards. Now buttocks and inner thighs are quivering away. You should not feel any thing in the quads. 2
- Hold for 5 seconds. Release. Repeat 4 – 6 times.
- Increase hold time bit by bit to 10 secs but reduce the reps.
- Fact – the bottom is a fast twitch muscle, meaning it is very strong and responds best to short work. It is reputedly the laziest muscle in the body.
What if the bottom is saggy or only partially engaged? Even if you thought it was engaged, try these things out:
- Place your fingers near your spine. You will almost certainly feel 2 ‘wires’ on either side of the spine. Slightly lower the spine towards the floor, so these ‘wires’ soften and the low back lengthens – but keep holding your bottom up. The bottom should have tightened up noticeably.
- Still Saggy? Check the bottom of the ribs are parallel to the hips. Most of us lift through the back muscles.If you have disc problems, then this is a good thing to do. But for the rest of us we need long backs in this exercise
- Still saggy? Place your fingers on top of the legs, just where they join the hips (there is a natural bend or crease here) – keep your elbows on the floor or you’ll be wobbling about and unable to concentrate. Now this crease – stretch it. So your knees go away from you and the pointy bit at the front of the hips turns towards your shoulders.
You may not be very high off the floor. Do not worry about that. We want a butt of steel here, not a pretty back bend.
In the clip, to increase the intensity, the young man holds one knee towards his chest. This will have a lengthening effect on the low back and will help to keep the exercise in the bottom, so is more sensible than just sticking a leg out. However, the advantage of sticking a leg out is that you can still prod your butt to make sure it is still working. Its reputation for laziness is well deserved. To be fair, if your butt is working you will know it.
If nothing makes your backside turn satisfyingly hard, this means that some other muscle, eg the hip flexors, are too tight and the backside can’t actually fire up. Seek help. If you sort it out now, then this will prevent future injury as well as bring you closer to the desired pertness.