One of the top requests I get here on the blog is for BOOTY and AB workouts. That’s easy to satisfy, because I love training those body parts too!
However, one of the biggest mistakes I see people making with these two key areas is not understanding how to properly activate them so they can get the most out of their workouts.
Your core (abs) is made up of layers of interlocking muscle that work together and are the center point for nearly every movement you make. Strengthening and balancing these muscle layers is key in moving well and preventing injury.
Stabilizing and activating your core while you’re exercising will help you get much stronger in all the things you do, and help you uncover your abdominal muscles much quicker.
Your glutes (butt muscles) are super important muscles that stabilize your hips and legs and help keep you upright. Many people aren’t actually activating these muscles fully in their workouts which means they don’t see the results of their efforts. It’s also common to suffer from imbalances in these key muscles (either from past injury, pregnancy, or even side dominance) that translate down through the knee and ankle joints.
While I always recommend working with a Physical or Occupational Therapist or someone local who can hands-on assess you, you can also do a lot to improve your workouts by tuning into the activation of the muscles in these key areas so you can strengthen them and make sure you’re really getting the most out of your workouts.
Join me for this Core and Booty activation routine where I go over all of the different exercises you can do, teach you the benefits of each move and how to use them in your own program. Let’s get started!
I’d recommend doing this sequence and adding any parts of it into your regular routine that you found particularly challenging moving forward as a little warmup to your workouts. I personally work on bridge lifts and lateral leg lifts prior to training, as well as always checking in with my core the way I’m going to show you in most of the movements I do.
For more personalized guidance and demonstrations, take my free Foundations of Functional Fitness series!
How to Activate Your Core:
Start by coming down to the floor or your mat, roll yourself onto your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor, and lay in a natural position. Place both of your hands under your back and notice the natural curve that is in your back.
Now, imagine you have a large, juicy blueberry. I want you to imagine it right in the middle of your lower spine. Press your back down to hold the blueberry down against the floor but do not squash it. Congratulations, your core is engaged!
Now we want to perform moves with it engaged. The key is to keep holding that blueberry down when we are adding extra weight by lifting our legs or moving our body. In many positions, our backs automatically want to arch, so be sure to focus on this feeling you just learned while you’re working them.
How to Activate Your Glutes:
Some of the best glute activators are the simplest. I either perform bridge lifts or unilateral (single side) moves like leg lifts in a few directions to target and activate the gluteus minimus, maximus and medius. There are deeper, stabilizing muscles that aid you in hip movements and holding an upright posture that also benefit from these types of movements.
One of the reasons I love barre workouts so much is that they target a lot of these. Side benefits to activating the glutes prior to a workout (or making sure your muscles are firing in general) is that you’ll see the results of your work a lot faster. When the muscles aren’t firing right, your body will compensate by activating other muscles – often in your back – to do the work.
Core and Booty Activation
Core Activation Exercises:
- Bicycle Crunches
- Tall Plank
- Superwoman Lifts
- Sumo Box Squats
- Standing Leg Extensions
Booty Activation Exercises:
- Bridge Lifts
- Single Leg Bridge Lifts
- Leg Lifts
- 45 Degree Angle Leg Lifts
- Sumo Box Squats
Want to practice your newly gained knowledge activating your booty and core? Now is your chance! Check out the Booty and Abs 30-Day Challenge Program!
The workouts in this challenge will give you a great well-rounded workout program with an emphasis on sculpting your butt, legs and abs, help you torch fat, and save time. You can do it from home (or in the gym) with minimal equipment – think dumbbells, an exercise ball and stretchy bands.