With summer right around the corner, now is the time most of us start to realize we need to get ready. These exercises all burn a lot of calories and target many of the areas people tend to stress about the most: the core, glutes and legs. It’s not a complete program, but if you are not doing these exercises, try adding them your existing workout. Along with a well-balanced diet, this will help you get going in the right direction.
Kettlebell swings: Stand with feet hip-width apart, and place a kettlebell between your feet. Hinge at the hips with slightly bent knees to lower your body down to grasp the kettlebell with both arms. Start with an explosive upward movement to swing the kettlebell returning to a standing position. Do not arch your back, but squeeze the glutes. Allow the kettlebell to swing until the arms are parallel to the floor. Remember that this is not a shoulder exercise, but an exercise to generate explosive force in the hips.
A study by the American Council on Exercise examining kettlebells found that, “In terms of calorie burning, these results are equivalent to running a six-minute mile pace, or cross-country skiing uphill at a fast pace.” I think this is a great exercise to help “lift” the backside.
Deadlifts: Using a kettlebell or dumbbell stand over top of the weight. Start by bending at hips and knees to lower and grab the weight with both arms. Without allowing lower back to round, pull torso back and up, thrust hips forward, and stand up with the kettlebell or dumbbell. Squeeze glutes as you perform the movement.
Although squats and lunges are the most popular when training the glutes, kettlebell swings and deadlifts are actually better exercises to target the backside. Although the name may sound intimidating it is actually a movement most people do every day. The deadlift also challenges the core and upper body to remain stable under stress. This helps burn fat and tone the entire body.
Swiss Ball Rollouts: Sit on your knees in front of a Swiss ball and place your forearms and fists on the ball. Your back should be naturally arched. Brace your core and squeeze your glutes to protect your low back. Focus on keeping both areas tight for the exercise. Slowly roll the ball forward, straightening your arms and extending your body as far as you can without allowing your lower back to “collapse.” If you start to feel it in your lower back, you have rolled out too far. Use your ab muscles to pull the ball back to your knees.
This targets the core and can be done with beginners and with a few tweaks can be challenging for experienced lifters. A study in 2010 published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning found that, “The roll-out and pike were the most effective exercises in activating upper and lower rectus abdominis, external and internal obliques”, over the more common crunches and sit-ups. The rollout is a great exercise to teach beginners core stability and it also really targets the abs so you can feel the burn.
As always consult your doctor prior to starting any exercise program, and if you are unsure how to properly preform any exercise seek the advice of a trained fitness professional.
— Kyler Crouse, BS, CSCS, FMS is a personal trainer and strength coach that trains at Sierra Athletic Club and a training center instructor at Barton Memorial Hospital. Kyler specializes in performance enhancement and rehabilitation after injury. Visit www.KCstrength.com for more information.