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AboutArielle Novak is an American Council on Exercise Certified Personal Trainer and an Aerobics and Fitness Association of America Certified Group Exercise Instructor. Arielle loves to share her excitement about movement and fitness with her students. She holds additional specialty certifications in indoor cycling, yoga, and dance fitness.
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This quick standing series can be done anywhere and without any special equipment. You will see me demonstrating the exercises with a basic chair. If you don’t have a chair close by, you can use anything that falls at about waist height.
I teach this two-part sequence on a regular basis in my strength and sculpt classes. They work great in a progression, or you can do one segment at a time. One of my students does this series while she makes coffee in the morning (she uses her counter to hold onto instead of a chair—how creative!).
Part One: Hip Extension (leg lifts)—this section will pair together full range leg lifts and pulses.
Step 1: Begin with your feet hip-width apart. Shift your weight to your left leg, and step your right foot back. Keep your supporting left knee joint slightly bent.
Step 2: Lift your right foot several inches away from the floor. Make sure to lift your leg high enough so that you feel a catch or tightening at your gluteal fold (the area where your hamstring and butt muscles meet at the back of the leg). Once you get that sensation, you will know your leg is at the correct height.
Pulses: Once you feel comfortable with the full range movement, you can begin doing pulses. Pulses require a smaller range of movement, but are done at a quicker pace. Pulsing will increase the intensity level for your muscles. To begin a pulsing set, lift your leg lift again until you feel that tightening sensation at your gluteal fold - this will be your starting position. Then, you can lift up another inch from there. Each pulse will be a tiny one-inch lift.
Reps and Set Instructions:
Full range lifts 12X, then pulse 12X. Switch and repeat on the left leg. You have the option to repeat for a second set for more challenge.
Part Two: Press Back and Heel Lift combo—This section will add in hamstring work. One key piece to lifting your butt muscles is to work your hamstrings. They create a nice shelf for your glutes!
Step 1 (Press Back): Begin again with your feet hip-width apart. Step your right foot directly back, and then bend your leg in half. Lift the lower half of your leg high enough so that you feel a tightening in your hamstrings. From there move your right thigh a few inches behind your left thigh so that you feel a tightening at your gluteal fold. This will be your starting point position.
Next, press your leg back another 1-2 inches. It is not a big movement, but you will feel the glute and hamstring work immediately.
Step 2 (Heel Lift): Begin with your leg still bent in half.
Next, lift your heel a couple of inches higher. Then return to your starting bent leg position.
Reps and Set Instructions:
Set 1: 8 Press Backs followed by 8 Heel Lifts.
Set 2: Combo, two of each (2 Press Backs, 2 Heel Lifts) 8X
Repeat on the left side.
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