Sitting too much in school or at work can make your abs and butt weak and saggy. However, doing the right kind of workout can prevent that from happening. Instead of focusing on individual muscles, work on your abs and glutes together. This will help you burn more calories in less time while giving you muscle definition to envy.
Training on the floor is one of the easiest ways to work your abs and butt since you do not have to worry about balance. Simple exercises include situps for your outer abs and floor bridges for your glutes. You can also add yoga-based exercises like the basic plank, quadruped arm, leg extension and, for the more experienced, the back bend. To vary these exercises, play with different foot positions or position of your arms and torso. For example, to vary your situps, extend your arms over your head so that your head is between your biceps. Or you can add a rotation in your torso as you sit up. For the floor bridge, you can also do it on one foot or with your calves on a stability ball.
Ab and glute exercises aren't restricted to training on the floor. In fact, nearly all standing exercises that train your lower body work both parts together. Your deep abdominal muscles keep your torso and hip in alignment and assist in belly breathing while your glutes produce force to move your body and help you lift a weight. Lower-body exercises that work your glutes and core include kettlebell deadlifting, barbell squats, lunges, step-ups and box jumps. By working more muscle groups together, you will burn more calories and increase more muscle definition than isolating your abs and glutes themselves.
Kneeling Chop and Lift
Not every ab workout should look like a situp or leg lift. The chop and lift patterns provide a foundation to core training that reveal if one side of your body is more stable or move better than the other side, says physical therapist Gray Cook, co-founder of Functional Movement Systems. Both exercises work on breathing, stability in your torso and hips and movement control. Use a cable machine for these two exercises. To do the chop, set the height of the cable handle to the highest level and stand with your right shoulder facing the handle. Grab the handle with both hands and kneel on the ground on both knees. Exhale as you pull the handle down and across your body to your left hip without turning your torso. Inhale as you carefully return to the starting position. Tighten your glutes to maintain your upright position. To do the lift, set the handle to the lowest setting and assume the same kneeling position. Grab the handle with both hands and exhale as you pull it up and across your body without turning your torso. Inhale as you carefully return to the starting position.
Swings use your glutes as the main source of power while your deep abdominal muscles provide stability to avoid injury to your spine. You can use a kettlebell or a medicine ball to do swings. To do this exercise with a medicine ball, stand with your feet about shoulder-distance apart, and hold the ball with both hands in front of your chest. Inhale as you swing the ball between your legs by hinging your torso at your hip and bending your knees slightly. Do not hunch your back. Exhale as you swing the ball up and over your head by thrusting your hip forward.
Various sports and activities work your abs and glutes without requiring a focus on those body parts. These include doing capoeira, ballroom dancing, sprinting, hiking and yoga. If you have pain or have any medical issues, check with your health care provider before starting any exercise routine.
Nick Ng has been writing fitness articles since 2003, focusing on injury prevention and exercise strategies. He has covered health for "MiaBella" magazine. Ng received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from San Diego State University in 2001 and has been a certified fitness coach with the National Academy of Sports Medicine since 2002.