Fitness trends are always changing.
It’s impossible to keep up or know what’s going to be the next big thing. How do you keep up?
If you’ve been on Instagram, Facebook or YouTube recently you’ve no doubt seen videos of “booty workouts” with resistance bands, or other leg exercises done in “interesting” ways. What started as a way to introduce new exercises to the masses has turned into… well lets just say ridiculous would be an understatement.
If you’re interested in actually looking better or improving performance in the gym and not just getting likes on social media, this is for you.
What you need to know about Booty Workouts (and any other fitness trends):
1.Are you going to build impressive levels of strength or a killer physique with “band only workouts”? Nope, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Band exercises make a great addition to a training program and are handy while traveling, but they aren’t a replacement for it. Lift, add some resistance, and focus on basic movements like squats, lunges, bridges and their variations. I promise you won’t end up looking like a man.
2.Train your entire body. Focusing only on your “booty” puts you in the same category as the guy that only trains his upper body. Don’t be that person!
3.Incorporate the useful parts into what you’re currently doing. Attention grabbing stuff aside, some of the exercises seen in these videos are beneficial. Skip the “looks good for the camera” stuff and add the good exercises to your program. Yeah, you’ll get a good burn, but you’ll also notice the effects elsewhere.
4.Lower body exercises like squats, lunges, step ups, and deadlifts focus primarily on flexion and extension of the hips and knees. Some variations of these exercises involve abduction or external rotation, but flexion and extension are still the primary movements. Unless you add exercises that specifically target abduction and external rotation of the hip, the gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, and external rotators are likely to be under trained.
Sure, there are machines made for these exercises. Unfortunately, not every gym has them, and if you train at home you definitely don’t have access to them.
This is where resistance bands come in to save the day!
Bridges, hip thrusts, band walks, and abduction exercises strengthen the glutes and external rotator muscles of the hip. Squats, lunges, step ups and their variations are great, but they mostly move in one direction. Adding lateral movement exercises like band walks, clams and hip abduction will make your lower body workouts more well rounded.
This video shows a few of the exercises I use most often with clients. Depending on their needs, we may use these exercises as part of the warm up, towards the end of a session, or as part of a circuit to really challenge the legs!
A few notes on the exercises:
1. I prefer medium to heavy resistance bands for these exercises. Yes, they make the exercises harder, but they are also less likely to break! I use 4Kor bands and they are the only available band I’ve found that holds up under heavy use. I use them multiple times daily and I’m still on my first set, which is more than I can say for some of the others I’ve tried. You get a set of 6 and they come in a handy pouch so you don’t lose them! You can find them here.
2. For the bridges, kickbacks, and hip thrusts, try 2-3 sets of 15-20 reps.
3. The kickback is meant to focus on hip extension only, so check your form to make sure you’re not getting a big arch in your low back. Push back so that your leg is in line with your hip and torso at the end of the movement.
4. With the lateral and monster walks, start with 2-3 laps with 10-15 steps in each direction. If you don’t have a lot of space or find this too easy, do more laps! To get the most from both of these exercises, press your knees into the band, but not so much that your big toe comes off the floor. Maintain this position for the whole exercise.
5. For the side lying clam and standing abduction exercises, start with 2-3 sets of 15-20 reps. If you’re looking for a bigger challenge, do as many reps as you can in 1 minute.
I don’t mean to rain on anyone’s parade here. Sure, booty workouts and other fitness videos can be fun to watch, but it’s important to know the difference between entertainment and what’s effective for getting results in the gym. Focus on the effective and you’re guaranteed to continue moving closer towards your fitness and physique goals.