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Be Your Own Personal Trainer: Legs & Bum

Whatever your trouble spots or workout style, we have the key tips to help you get the results you’ve always wanted.

COMPILED BY ROSALEEN McMEEL. PHOTOGRAPHY BY MONREAL LONDON, MONREALLONDON.COM.


THE PROS

• THE GYM EXPERT Jamie Myerscough, chief executive of Educogym, educogym.com

• THE RUNNER John O’Regan, Irish international ultra runner, johnoregan.blogspot.com

• THE PILATES PRO Milena Jaksic Byrne, co-owner of Platinum Pilates, platinumpilates.ie

LEGS & BUM

FOR THE GYM BUNNY

If you are interested in results, train with intensity. This means recruiting the most amount of muscle fibres to lift a particular weight in the shortest amount of time and with the least amount of rest between sets and exercises. Growth hormone production peaks at around 30 minutes, so exercising for longer is pointless. If you want to see rapid results, and in particular a reduction in fat and an increase in strength, then full squats will produce the best results. Full squats will mainly target your thighs and bum. They are a compound exercise, using many different muscle groups, and involving lots of muscle fibres. I would recommend building up to a level where you can perform three sets of 20 repetitions at the heaviest weight you can manage. Want the toned physique of a 20-year old? Full squats should be your drug of choice.

FOR THE RUNNER

Running is a great way to tone your legs and bum, and by making some simple changes or additions to your regular run routine, you will easily get more of a return for your invested time. Be a hill seeker. Rather than avoid hills, try looking for them instead. Running both uphill and downhill will ensure you give your legs an all-over workout as you increase the workload on your calves, quads and glutes.
Step it up. Try running up steps, but do take your time. Not only will this help tone your legs, but the higher knee lift will also strengthen your legs for more running. On your resting days, you should also get into the habit of using the stairs and avoid lifts and escalators when possible. Mix it up. Vary the terrain and surfaces you run on as much as possible. Vary it between road, treadmill, grass, trail, track and sand. Sticking to only the road or treadmill will mean that certain muscles are being worked more than others. A change in terrain or gradient means a different foot placement, and this helps to recruit other muscle groups.

FOR THE PILATES FAN

The great thing about Pilates is that it’s about working the whole body rather than just your core, so you can get the benefits of toned legs, sleek arms and tight abs. If you want to particularly target your legs and bum, Pilates squats are the way to go. Stand with your feet wider than your hips and turn your feet out so they are pointing to ten and two on a clock. Reach your hands out front and bend your knees as you lower your hips towards the oor. Slowly come back up. Repeat 20 times and on the last one, hold it down and do little pulse-like movements up and down – you should quickly feel the burn. For a more advanced move, try lifting your heels.


This article originally appeared in the April issue of IMAGE magazine. 

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