Cardio won't give you the derriere you desire. A firm, round booty is carved when you do muscle-targeted exercises like butt crunches. Sure, aerobic exercises will help reduce the fat that might be covering up your hard work, but true definition is the result of building up the muscle on your buns. Butt crunches are advantageous for improving the look of your backside and strengthening your lower back.
What is a Butt Crunch?
"Crunching," or isolating and stressing the muscles on your butt, is achieved through various exercises. A favorite of Pauline Nordin, creator of the "Butt Bible" video series, is the glute bridge. Sometimes referred to as butt lifts, this exercise is performed while lying on the back and lifting the posterior up to be in line with the spine. Lifting a leg while performing this action increases the difficulty. This crunches the hamstring just below the butt, helping to create that nice rounded look. Another effective crunching exercise that Richard Giorla's "Cardio Barre" routine uses to great effect is getting down on all fours and lifting one clenched-buttock at a time to the sky.
Why It's Better
Butt crunches are more advantageous than cardio alone because of the muscle building. Tension and stress during difficult resistance or weight training is required to make small tears in muscle fibers. When the small tears are formed, the rest of your body has an instant reaction. Your body sends hormones, white blood cells and growth factors to the tear to build the muscle up bigger and badder than it was before. After a butt-crunching workout, give your body at least one day to repair if you want big results. Nordin's workout focuses on the lower body only twice a week. Recovery is just as important as the exercise.
Other Perks of a Perky Butt
Being able to bounce a quarter off your rear isn't just ego-boosting. Strong muscles in your gluteus maximus helps take tension off your lower back. Nordin stresses the importance of a strong butt in her series, emphasizing that a toned behind helps with posture and lower back pain. Often lower back pain is the result of tight or lazy hamstrings. Butt crunches will have you looking great and feeling even better.
Long and Happy Life
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Nordin jokes that a stronger butt will improve the quality of your life by giving you a strong back, and a smoking hot body, well into old age. All joking aside, training your muscles now can help prevent serious back problems in the future. Cardio will remain important for heart health, but butt crunches bring you what aerobic exercise can't: muscles you can rely on to carry you and keep you mobile through the years.
- The Butt Bible; Pauline Nordin
- Cardio Barre; Richard Giorla
- Physio DC: Low Back Problems are a Real Pain in the Butt
Meredith Berg received her B.F.A. in directing from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Now living in Los Angeles, she works as a film and television writer, comic-book editor and director of plays and films. In addition, she loves tackling paleo recipes, workout routines and DIY projects.