Weak glute muscles result in things worse than a saggy butt -- hip instability and imbalances, which can trigger back pain and injuries. To avoid this, strengthen your glute muscles with targeted exercises, such as leg presses. During this exercise, the placement of your feet decides which lower-body muscles are targeted. When done correctly, your flabby tush will be toned and firm in no time.
Select the desired weight and position yourself in the leg press machine with your back against the backrest, your tush on the seat and your feet on the foot plate. Whether you're doing a 35-, 45- or 90-degree leg press, this is your basic positioning.
Move your feet toward the top of the foot plate so they're about 1 inch from the upper edge. Turn your toes and knees slightly outward to engage your glutes and takes some of the load off of your quadriceps. Emphasize your inner thighs by using a hip-width stance. Work your outer thighs by using a shoulder-width or slightly wider stance.
Disengage the brake to release the weight. Grasp the handles and slowly bend your knees 90 degrees, bringing them toward your chest without letting your butt come off the seat. Depending on the machine, the seat or the foot plate might move.
Push through your feet and straighten your legs, but don't lock out your knees -- keep them slightly bent. Squeeze your butt muscles as you straighten your legs and keep knees aligned with your feet throughout the exercise.
Repeat the exercise and work your way up to complete three sets of eight to 12 repetitions.
- The Athlete's Book of Home Remedies; Jordan Metzl and Mike Zimmerman
- LFN Online: Mechanics of the Leg Press
- Dialed In; Rick Ryan
- MayoClinic.com: Video: Seated Leg Press With Weight Machine
- Breathe out as you straighten your legs, and breathe in as you bend your knees.
- Use minimal weight to develop proper form. As you get stronger and more confident, gradually increase the weight.
- Before doing leg presses, sit in the machine and complete the range of motion without using any weight. When your knees are fully bent into your chest, engage the safety bar so the weight can't fall on you during the exercise.
- Consult a doctor before starting a new weight-training routine, especially if you have injuries or health conditions.
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.