If you read through my last post, then you know we established a few important things:
1. It is absolutely possible to work hard with minimal payoff.
2. We use our bodies all day every day and there are certain patterns that interrupt efficient movement
3. Our bodies often compensate to make up for inefficiencies, resulting in muscle imbalances.
4. Muscle imbalances get in the way of RESULTS!!!
And aren’t we working out for results??? Really, what else is there? I kid, I kid. I know there are thousands of reasons to move more and my sanity is at the top of that list. Nonetheless, results are a welcomed plus and there’s nothing wrong with seeking improvement.
I’m tweaking my workouts for the next few weeks to correct some of my movement compensations and to strengthen my glutes. I’m foam rolling more, stretching more, making yoga practice a priority, and introducing some different modalities into my current regimen.
Over the past several weeks, I’ve been steadily adding to my collection of home-gym equipment that travels well in efforts to better meet the needs of some of my clients. In the process, I’ve been encouraged to also use different equipment more often in my own workouts. Generally, I’m super simple in my personal regimen; I run all the miles and lift all the things. As awesome as that sounds, I know everyone’s not into running or lifting and there is a need greater variety to eliminate boredom. I bet you’ve all seen and maybe even used these, but I finally got my hands on a set of looped resistance bands. I’ve seen a specific brand out there called Booty Bands and I love, love the name, but I have a pretty generic pair. I don’t there’s any qualitative difference between the two, but if you have some insight in that area, feel free to chime in.
Anyhow, these handy dandy little mechanisms are perfectly suited for what I need right now. I do want resistance, I want to target my glutes and thighs, but I don’t want anything exacerbating the challenges I’m already facing. I’ve come across several ideas on how to incorporate them into my workouts and I want to share a few of my favorite moves with you.
Lateral Band Walks
I love this mini-madness! Place the band around your ankles and place feet hip-width apart. Lower yourself into a shallow squat. Step out with your right foot until your feet are about shoulders width apart. Bring your left foot in, so that feet are back at hip distance. Move three paces to the left, then three to the right for one rep. Go ahead, shoot for 20 reps and feel the fire that starts in your outer thighs and hips.
This move puts me in the mind of old school Buns of Steel, but if it’s been around that long, it must be pretty darn effective. L ieon your side with the band situated just above your knees. Lift your feet to about hip distance with your hips remaining on the floor. Lift your top knee as high as you can without shifting, then slowly lower it to hover above the lower knee for one rep. Do as many as feel good. I stop at about 20 and then switch to the other side. I promise you’ll feel your entire outer edge of your glutes activated during this exercise.
Hip Bridges with Pulses
With the band just above your knees, lie on your back with your arms by your side, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Slowly raise yourself into bridge position by squeezing your glutes and abdominals and lifting your hips from the floor. At the top of the position, push your thighs out to the sides and bring them back together for one rep. Your feet should remain flat on the floor throughout the movement.
So there you have it; my favorite resistance bands moves to target my glutes and outer thighs. But, trust me, there are dozens more out there and you can tweak your workouts to your liking. I’m committing to adding these moves and a few more to my regular regimen for the next few weeks in order to engage, activate, and strengthen my glutes. I would love to SEE a difference, but even more than that I’d love to strengthen those weaker muscles, maybe feel a difference in my running, and even improve my squat form and its efficacy. Whatever the case, I’m feeling positive about trying something new and improving my fitness.
What are you working on for the next several weeks? Have you tried the looped resistance bands? All of the moves posted here can be both regressed and/or progressed for limitations and greater challenge. Let me know if you’d like some suggestions.