THE PROBLEM FLABBY BOTTOM

‘If you’re in a sitting position all day, your buttock muscles – your gluteus maximus gluteus medius and gluteus minimus – will be stretched out to full range,’ says physiotherapist Elizabeth Ebelthite, Director of Marple Physio (marplephysio.com). ‘They become lazy and weak. At the same time your hip flexors, at the front of your hips, shortened and become tight and overactive Our muscles are strongest at mid range – neither too flexed nor too stretched.’ your imus ys irector ‘They me ips, ractive ge –‘If you’re in a sitting position all day, your buttock muscles – your gluteus maximus gluteus medius and gluteus minimus – will be stretched out to full range,’ says physiotherapist Elizabeth Ebelthite, Director of Marple Physio (marplephysio.com). ‘They become lazy and weak. At the same time your hip flexors, at the front of your hips, shortened and become tight and overactive Our muscles are strongest at mid range – neither too flexed nor too stretched.

THE PROBLEM FLABBY BOTTOM Photo Gallery



WHY DOES IT MATTER? ‘

‘Having weak glutes and tight hip flexors can predispose you to lower back pain and hamstring injuries as you’ll overuse these parts to make the movements your glutes should be responsible for,’ says Ebelthite. The three glute muscles are also what give your derrière shape and tone, so if you want a bum that’s more fab than flab, you’d better start working it. ‘You’re guaranteed to improve sports performance if you target these key muscles, too,’ adds Ebelthite. ‘If more runners worked on their glutes, for example, they’d be stronger, faster and less injury-prone.’ Test your glutes by lying face-down on the floor, she says. ‘Bend one knee to a right angle, so your sole is facing the ceiling. Keeping the foot flat, slowly raise that leg about six inches from the floor and try to hold it there for 30 seconds.’ If your buttock muscles are strong and switched on, you should be able to do this move easily and feel it only in those muscles. ‘If they’re weak, your leg will start to shake and you’ll feel it in your hamstrings and lower back,’ says Ebelthite. ‘A eak eak spose inj nj njuries the onsible e sc scles and re fab ts ts muscles, s, worked d on on a right g. leg y to uttock ck you and feel ak, your n your hite.

THE PROBLEM FLABBY BOTTOM

‘AWHY DOES IT MATTER?

‘Having weak glutes and tight hip flexors can predispose you to lower back pain and hamstring injuries as you’ll overuse these parts to make the movements your glutes should be responsible for,’ says Ebelthite. The three glute muscles are also what give your derrière shape and tone, so if you want a bum that’s more fab than flab, you’d better start working it. ‘You’re guaranteed to improve sports performance if you target these key muscles, too,’ adds Ebelthite. ‘If more runners worked on their glutes, for example, they’d be stronger, faster and less injury-prone.’ Test your glutes by lying face-down on the floor, she says. ‘Bend one knee to a right angle, so your sole is facing the ceiling. Keeping the foot flat, slowly raise that leg about six inches from the floor and try to hold it there for 30 seconds.’ If your buttock muscles are strong and switched on, you should be able to do this move easily and feel it only in those muscles. ‘If they’re weak, your leg will start to shake and you’ll feel it in your hamstrings and lower back,’ says Ebelthite. ‘A eak eak spose inj nj njuries the onsible e sc scles and re fab ts ts muscles, s, worked d on on a right g. leg y to uttock ck you and feel ak, your n your hite. ‘Alot of people just get cramp in their hamstrings instantly, meaning theiglutes aren’t firing at all.

MAKE IT BETTER IN THE OFFICE

To strengthen your buttocks at your desk, strengthen your buttocks at your desk, simple isometric clenches are great – alternate between holding for 10 seconds each rep, squeez ezing and releasing slowly; and fast pulses. Try the wall sit. With your back flat the wall sit. With your back flat against a wall, bend at the knees to lower your body until you’re in a sitting position. Hold for 30 seconds. TTaake the stairs two at a time to really ke the stairs two at a time to really engage your glutes. To strengthen your buttocks at your desk, strengthen your buttocks at your desk, simple isometric clenches are great – alternate between holding for 10 seconds each rep, squeez ezing and releasing slowly; and fast pulses. Try the wall sit. With your back flat the wall sit. With your back flat against a wall, bend at the knees to lower your body until you’re in a sitting position. Hold for 30 seconds. TTaake the stairs two at a time to really ke the stairs two at a time to really engage your glutes.

THE PROBLEM FLABBY BOTTOM

…AT HOME OR IN THE GYM

LLying on your back, feet flat on the floor ying on your back, feet flat on the floor and close to your bottom, hug one knee in to your chest. Then try to lift your bottom off the floor a few inches and hold for a few seconds. Do eight reps, building up to 14. LLie oon your side, supporting your head with ie on your side, supporting your head with your hand. Keep your lower leg bent, upper leg straight, foot flexed. Leadi di ding with your heel, lift your upper leg slowly and lower. Do Do Do Do three sets of 10. AAtt the gym, try weighted squats aand lunges, the gym, try eighted squats and lunges, kettlebell swings and the stairclimber. Stretch ch Stretch your hip flexors (after exercise or ch ch ch our hip flexors (after exercise or when warm from a bath). In a lunge position with your back knee on the floor, rest your hands on on on your front knee, tighten your abs to keep you our back straight, rotate your back heel outwards and push your hips forwards. HoLLying on your back, feet flat on the floor ying on your back, feet flat on the floor and close to your bottom, hug one knee in to your chest. Then try to lift your bottom off the floor a few inches and hold for a few seconds. Do eight reps, building up to 14. LLie oon your side, supporting your head with ie on your side, supporting your head with your hand. Keep your lower leg bent, upper leg straight, foot flexed. Leadi di ding with your heel, lift your upper leg slowly and lower. Do Do Do Do three sets of 10. AAtt the gym, try weighted squats aand lunges, the gym, try eighted squats and lunges, kettlebell swings and the stairclimber. Stretch ch Stretch your hip flexors (after exercise or ch ch ch our hip flexors (after exercise or when warm from a bath). In a lunge position with your back knee on the floor, rest your hands on on on your front knee, tighten your abs to keep you our back straight, rotate your back heel outwards and push your hips forwards. Hold for 20 seconds.

THE PROBLEM: SLACK STOMACH

Ever sit at your desk and wonder what that puffy thing is overhanging your waistband? Wait, no, it can’t be, your… stomach? Yes, sorry folks, but another casualty of the sedentary job is your six-pack. ‘Sitting at a desk isn’t good for your core,’ says Pilates expert Caron Bosler (caronboslerpilates.com). ‘The erector spinae – the small muscles that run up either side of your spine – have to take responsibility for holding you upright and so they get really tight.’ Ever sit at your desk andd wond puffy thin ing is overhanging you Wait, no, it can’t be, your… r… r… r… sto sorry folks, but another casua sedentary job is you ou our six- x-pack desk isn’t good for your core,’ expert Caron Bosler (caronbo ‘The ere rector spinae – the smal run up either side of your spine responsibility for holding yyyyou ou ou ou ou ou they get really tight.’Ever sit at your desk and wonder what that puffy thing is overhanging your waistband? Wait, no, it can’t be, your… stomach? Yes, sorry folks, but another casualty of the sedentary job is your six-pack. ‘Sitting at a desk isn’t good for your core,’ says Pilates expert Caron Bosler (caronboslerpilates.com). ‘The erector spinae – the small muscles that run up either side of your spine – have to take responsibility for holding you upright and so they get really tight.’ Ever sit at your desk andd wond puffy thin ing is overhanging you Wait, no, it can’t be, your… r… r… r… sto sorry folks, but another casua sedentary job is you ou our six- x-pack desk isn’t good for your core,’ expert Caron Bosler (caronbo ‘The ere rector spinae – the smal run up either side of your spine responsibility for holding yyyyou ou ou ou ou ou they get really tight.’

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

MAKE IT BETTER… IN THE OFFICE

Switch your office chair for a gym ball. Sitting on a ball means your core is constantly engaged and backpain is minimised. ‘To pick the right size for you, make sure your hips are higher than your knees when you sit on it,’ Bosler advises. Feels too weird? Just try it for half an hour at a time and build up slowly. Every time you’re on the phone or whenever you remember, engage your core. Think about lifting your pelvic floor and pulling your belly button in towards your spine. Try Bosler’s top stretch to relieve sciatica. From sitting, cross one foot over the opposite knee, let the knee of the upper leg flop to the side, then lean forwards, feeling a stretch, and release around your glute, hip and lower back. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat on the other side. Use your desk to perform a half plank. Rest your elbows and forearms on the desk, straighten your legs out behind you and hold, keeping your body in a straight line from head to toe. Aim for one minute.

…AT HOME OR IN THE GYM

Switch on your abdominal muscles in the morning so you’re more aware of them all day. Do three sets of 10 basic ab curls, lying on your back on the floor with your knees bent, hands behind your head and lifting your upper body slightly, keeping a neutral spine. Work on variations of the plank position, such as side plank or lifting alternate arms and legs (superman plank). In the gym, skip the machines and work out using kettlebells, free weights, Vipr, TRX, gym balls and BOSU boards to add extra core work to your usual routine.

THE PROBLEM: UPPER-BODY HUNCH

Look around your office and you’ll soon recognise the typical desk-worker slump – shoulders hunched, neck forwards, head dropped. ‘It’s the opposite of good posture,’ says Bosler. ‘Your chest muscles (pecs) get short and tight; your upper back and neck muscles (traps and lats) relax too much, over-lengthen and don’t hold the shoulders and head where they should be.’Look around your office and you’ll soon recognise the typical desk-worker slump – shoulders hunched, neck forwards, head dropped. ‘It’s the opposite of good posture,’ says Bosler. ‘Your chest muscles (pecs) get short and tight; your upper back and neck muscles (traps and lats) relax too much, over-lengthen and don’t hold the shoulders and head where they should be.’

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

The more time your muscles spend in this underworking, overstretched position, the weaker they get. ‘A hunchback posture becomes permanent,’ says Bosler. ‘It can become impossible to pull your head back into proper alignment.’ Poor posture’s not just unattractive, it can compromise your breathing, circulation, digestion, mood and lead to long-term back problems, headaches, joint problems and more. ‘Simply by correcting your posture, you’ll instantly feel more energised and look 7lbs lighter,’ promises Bosler.The more time your muscles spend in this underworking, overstretched position, the weaker they get. ‘A hunchback posture becomes permanent,’ says Bosler. ‘It can become impossible to pull your head back into proper alignment.’ Poor posture’s not just unattractive, it can compromise your breathing, circulation, digestion, mood and lead to long-term back problems, headaches, joint problems and more. ‘Simply by correcting your posture, you’ll instantly feel more energised and look 7lbs lighter,’ promises Bosler.

MAKE IT BETTER…

‘Any position that counteracts the forward slump will help,’ she says. ‘You need to open up your chest and work your upper back.’‘Any position that counteracts the forward slump will help,’ she says. ‘You need to open up your chest and work your upper back.’

…IN THE OFFICE

Try the executive stretch – lean backwards in your office chair, stretching your arms out wide to the sides. Relax into the position for a few seconds. Stand with your back against a wall. Try to get your heels, hips, shoulders and head back on the wall. Stay in that position for a few minutes. Face a wall, just under an arm’s length away. Place your right palm on the wall at shoulder height, keeping a soft elbow. Turn in an anticlockwise direction until you’re facing away from the wall. Feel the stretch across your chest and biceps. Hold for 20 seconds, then repeat on the other side. Pretend you’re holding a pencil between your shoulder blades. Roll yourTry the executive stretch – lean backwards in your office chair, stretching your arms out wide to the sides. Relax into the position for a few seconds. Stand with your back against a wall. Try to get your heels, hips, shoulders and head back on the wall. Stay in that position for a few minutes. Face a wall, just under an arm’s length away. Place your right palm on the wall at shoulder height, keeping a soft elbow. Turn in an anticlockwise direction until you’re facing away from the wall. Feel the stretch across your chest and biceps. Hold for 20 seconds, then repeat on the other side. Pretend you’re holding a pencil between your shoulder blades. Roll your shoulders back and down and squeeze them together for five to 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times.

AT HOME OR IN THE GYM

Stand with your feet hip-width apart exhale and bend forwards from the hips keeping a flat back and straight legs. Pretend you’re gathering armfuls of apart the hips egs. ofStand with your feet hip-width apart exhale and bend forwards from the hips keeping a flat back and straight legs. Pretend you’re gathering armfuls of apart the hips egs. Of flowers from the floor, then lift back up to standing, throwing your arms up and behind you, letting the ‘flowers’ cascade down. ‘This stretches your hamstrings and lower back, then opens out your chest and neck and rotates your shoulders back,’ says Bosler. In a full-length mirror, turn sideways. ‘With correct posture, the top of your ear should be in vertical alignment with the middle of your shoulder, your hip, your knee and the point just in front of your ankle bone,’ says Bosler. ‘You shoulder cuff should be pointing directly up, not forwards.’ At the gym, do weights exercises to strengthen your upper back – lat pull-downs, pull-ups, bent-over rows and reverse flies, plus use the rowing machine.

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