Let's start off the year from behind...Focus on firming up the rear, your glutes. As a nationally-ranked fitness competitor for more than ten years and certified personal trainer for more than 20 years, the derriere is one of the most overrated, under-used major muscle group that I have seen. Even if you are a gym rat and train hard every day, if you spend the majority of the day seated at your desk, then you are simply not using your glutes to your potential. Glute exercises are incredibly essential, not just for the "Nikki or Kim K" look, but for preventing injury, improving performance and, of course as a large muscle group, they can kick up your metabolic rate. So, what are the top five glute exercises?
2. Stiff-legged Deadlift - plant your feet hip-width apart and holding dumbells or a bar, bend forward from the hip level, letting the weight slide down your shins while sticking your buttocks up and back flat as a table. When you reach ankle level with the weight, then return to a standing position - pushing all your weight down through your heels. Think of your hips as a lever and you lean forward keeping all your weight on the heels, skin your shins with the weight/bar (back as flat as a tabletop) and then slowly come to a standing position, with all weight on heels, glutes and hamstrings contract as you stand up. For additional work on stabilty and core, try it on a Bosu. (3 sets of 25 reps - go light until you get the form). You can perform this exercise without any weight and feel the benefit as it tones your hamstrings, glutes and lower back.
3. Standing Lunge using the TRX and dumbbells - use one side of the TRX and slide your foot in the strap. Step out forward until you can stabilize yourself and drop knee toward the floor. Depending on your balance, you can add dumbells in your hands, as you gradually dip the suspended knee to the ground. Key is to keep your standing knee (I call your "peg leg")from over-extending your toes. Perform 20 reps on each leg for 3 sets.