September 16, 2015
This past week I found myself on a flight bound for New York City. Here is what I've come to learn about international flights: no matter how prepared you are, or how early you arrive at the airport, you will always feel rushed. That slightly panicked, and almost manic, feeling only goes away once you are seated. Last week's flight was no exception; from last-minute packing, to arranging plans for my daughter while I was away, to making sure all was well at Baby2Body HQ before I left, I was definitely feeling... rushed. It wasn't until I settled into my aisle seat when I finally allowed myself to get excited for my trip to the Big Apple - where I had back-to-back meetings lined up with several potential American partners and our new PR company.
However, my mind was quickly pulled away from this budding excitement as I noticed a nagging pain in my butt muscle that was making it very difficult to get comfortable. I realised that it had been unusually sore all morning, but due to the unavoidable pre-flight rush, I had largely ignored it. Now, with a 7.5-hour transatlantic flight stretching ahead of me, it was all I could think about. I continued to twist and turn as the plane began to taxi, and just before takeoff I suddenly remembered... that new butt exercise regime I tried out the previous day was letting me know it had done it's job - and boy was I feeling that butt pain now. Although I wasn't able to get much relief for the duration of the flight, at least I knew my workout had done the trick; it was definitely a tush toning exercise.
I’ve always written about how important it is to keep butt muscles toned in order to look good and feel amazing. But, your butt muscles have a far more important job than helping you to look your best in your favourite pair of skinny jeans. When it comes to providing support for your back, abdominals, and of course your growing pregnancy belly - a strong butt is so critical. Trust me, I speak from experience. I had injured my back as a young athlete during high school, and I only felt free of pain and truly strong again when I started to include butt exercises into my training schedule. Having a strong butt has been important to me ever since, however I believe it is even more important during pregnancy (again, I speak from experience).
Strong butt muscles directly support your back, and as your baby grows, any help you can give your back will be much appreciated. Not only will it reduce pain, it will leave you feeling more comfortable throughout those 9 months. Your pelvis will also be better supported, which will help with overall stability. If your butt is strong enough, it can do most of the stabilsing work for your body; this means that your knees don't have to do as much, thereby preventing unnecessary knee pain. What's more, cardio workouts will become easier and more effective when you have a strong butt to help you through it, which will be a huge help if you are planning on using a running programme to get your pre-baby body back.
By now, I hope I've convinced you of the importance of having a strong backside. Below are my top butt exercises for you to try yourself. I recommend doing this sequence at least twice a week - but a word of advice: you may want to avoid doing them the day before a lengthy flight.
Bridge hip lifts
- Lie on your back and place your hands on the floor next to your hips for stability. Bend your knees so that your feet lay flat on the floor.
- Keeping both feet flat on the floor, lift your pelvis up, so that your body is in a bridge position.
- Prevent your back from arching by engaging your core muscles and squeezing your glutes together.
- Slowly lower your body to the floor- now that’s one rep. Repeat 15 times for one set. Do 3 sets if possible.
Scissor side knee lifts
- Lie on your left side, bring your knees and hips up to 45 degree angle in front of you, with your knees bent - similar to the foetal position. Place your hand in front of you for support if needed.
- Now lift your top leg about 45 degrees, and be sure to maintain a neutral position by keeping your back straight and core engaged.
- Lower your leg back to the starting position - this is one rep. Do 15 reps on each leg, which is one set. Do 3 sets if possible.
Leg lift and cross
- Begin on all fours - knees directly below hips and hands directly below your shoulders - so that you feel completely balanced.
- Raise your right leg behind you so that it forms a straight line with your back, neck and head.
- Next, make a cross in the air: raise 6 inches from the starting point, lower 6 inches from the starting point, move out to the right 6 inches from the starting point, move in to the left 6 inches from the starting point, and then lower back down.
- Do this 10 times on your right leg and then switch and do the same with your left leg. Aim to do 2-3 sets.