Why Cardio Is Important for Your Backside

Don't skip the cardio sessions if you want better results
Editor

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Running is not the most effective aerobic activity for building stronger glutes, even though you’re burning calories.

The gluetus, any of three muscles in each buttock that move the thigh, are made up of three muscles responsible for a lot of hip movements: the gluteus medius, gluteus minimum and, of course, the one everyone wants to tone up, the gluteus maximus.

The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the body and is responsible for concentrically accelerating hip extension and external rotation along with several integrated functions, Russell Wynter, personal trainer and co-owner Madsweat, says. “Because the gluteus aren’t as active throughout the day as other muscles, they have a tendency to be underactive which can make your calves, quads and hamstrings disproportionally stronger.”

That’s why if you are just running you may be building on a shaky foundation.

Curves

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Cardio in general will not necessary get you curves. Sprints will really get you moving, he adds, so you can get the job done.

The curves most people are looking for are associated with weight-bearing exercises, Wynter says. Single leg deadlifts, lunges, all variations of squats, and bridges are what many fitness instructors recommend. “Intervals are your best bet as far as cardio [goes],” he adds. 

Firstly, you want to get your glutes to activate. “If you use exercises that require multiple muscles to get the movement done, it will probably be done by the strongest of those muscles,” Wynter adds. “So isolation type exercises are a great help.”

How often

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“Intervals are very taxing, so I'd recommend only doing them one or two times per week when you’re starting out, with at least three days in between for recovery and growth,” Wynter says. You can up the frequency after approximately six weeks of training. “Don't be too eager and do too much [or] you’ll risk overtraining which could set you backs weeks if not months,” he adds.

Time  

Interval Speed/Incline

Work

5 min

Warm Up

3.5-4

4 min

Start/Rest: Increase your speed and incline from the warm up. This will be your rest speed and incline.

5

1 min

Sprint: Rase your speed and raise incline (3). Increase if you find it to easy

7

4 min

Rest:  Back to your start speed 

5

1 min

 Sprint: Back to previous speed and incline.

7

4 min

Rest: Back to your start speed 

5

1 min

Sprint: Back to previous speed and incline.

7

5 min

Cool down back at your warm up speed

3-4

*This can also be done on a track or when you're out for a run through town using a heart rate monitor.

SMR techniques

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Having tight muscles in your hip flexors can inhibit your glutes and prevent them from firing. So a good idea would be to add some form of SMR (self-myofascial release) techniques, such as foam rolling, into your routine, he adds.

Uphill walking

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The American Council on Exercise calls walking uphill, “the best combination of aerobic activity to burn fat and anaerobic activity to shape muscles.”

If you don’t like running, try walking at an incline. This variation of cardio will get your heart rate up just as high as you would run. The bonus is the great workout the quads, hamstrings, glutes and calf muscles are getting because there is more stress on the muscles surrounding the glutes. Expect to burn around 100 calories in a 10-minute period, depending on speed and incline level.

StairMaster

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The StairMaster, or stepper, strengthens your thighs, buttocks, and calves. Your legs go through a full range of motion, and that is pivotal for shaping toned muscles. Calves, hamstrings, quadriceps and glutes are trained when you do a lot of reps. That’s how you build lean muscle and burn fat. You even work out the core because you use those muscle to maintain balance.

More readings: 

Strength Training Exercises, No Weights Needed

15 Workouts to Do in 15 Minutes or Less

Exercises for Perfect Beach Bottom

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