Tag Archives: glute workout

Hiking for Fitness

Chris often says that hiking is a tougher workout than running. Master Kim, our old Tae Kwan Do teacher, said that hiking is the best form of exercise besides Tae Kwon Do itself. If you believe anyone about fitness and life, it’s that guy.  I like to go hiking sometimes when I’m planning not to run that day. And almost always, I am passed out on the couch afterwards, zapped of energy. Which is a good thing! I know we are lucky enough to be in Colorado and thus have a seemingly-infinite amount of hiking trails, but there are hiking trails everywhere. Yes, even in Iowa. You just need to go find them.

A dam

A dam

This post is encouraging people to hike for fitness and not just spend all of their time in the gym. And there will be pictures from my most recent hike in Lyons, Colorado at Button Rock. Now, as you all know, I have nothing against gyms–nothing at all! In fact, we spend 2 hours there per day, usually. But we must never forget the beauty of nature and what we can enjoy outdoors. We must always find a balance between the indoors and the out.

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Hiking is a great form of exercise. It (usually) costs nothing, spare the gas or parking fees, and it is almost enjoyable. Some people detest gyms and if you are one of those people, take a hike! Hiking has an extraordinary amount of benefits including cardiovascular endurance training or as we like to shorten it to “cardio.” Not all hikes are uphill, but I know that ours definitely was. Hiking is walking on steroids. As you continue going upwards, the air gets thinner, and your body has to work harder to gain its homeostasis (basically, the “normal” state of our body at rest). And even if you’re not necessarily going straight uphill, the terrain of hiking is often unsteady, thus your body fights to maintain balance and recruit muscles to stabilize yourself.

My friend and her dog

My friend and her dog

There are incredibly cardio benefits to this (in fact, it is almost just as powerful in this way as running is, as your body has to try to regulate your breathing just as it does while you run or jog), but there are also just as many muscular benefits as well. After I’ve hiked, I feel that I ran a 5k and did a heavy leg workout. It of course has these effects, because of the strain you put on your “cardio” system (as we spoke of earlier) and the amount of work your poor muscles have to do!

Her dog loves to be thrown sticks and retrieve them in the water

Her dog loves to be thrown sticks and retrieve them in the water

After a hike, I can almost certainly not do a heavy leg workout. I remember one time I did this hike and it was a planned leg workout that night. As soon as I got home, I passed out on the couch for an hour and then I dragged myself to the floor to do some leg work without weights. Just when your body is trying to balance upon the unsteady terrain, your legs (all the way from your feet to your glutes and even core) recruit all the muscles they can to maintain that stability. Your glutes help you power up the steep hills and rocks, your quads help slow your descent downhill, your calves help to delicately step up a pile of boulders, and your hamstrings keep you going. It is a fully functional total leg workout. And the legs almost never get a break the whole time!

photo 1 (4)Even with just the slight amount of benefits I’ve already told you, why aren’t you lacing up your hiking boots already! Take a day off from the gym, or even combine the two, and go for a hike! My traps even feel sore afterwards too. If the workout benefits haven’t convinced you, then maybe the rest of these pictures will! Or you could just decide to take it to another level, kick up the intensity, and run the trail instead. For more information on the best trail running shoes, check out Gear We Are! Go hiking to stay hungry and fit!

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5 Ways to Firm Up Your Glutes

No matter what gender we are, we all want to have nice glutes. And besides aesthetics, the stronger our glutes are, the more powerful we are. Think of when you feel your glutes: walking up the stairs, the beginning part of sprinting, and standing up from kneeling or squatting. Improve your gluteal muscles and you will get up the stairs faster, be able to run and sprint faster, and spring up from the ground like a ten-year old. These are 5 simple exercises that can be performed anywhere!

1. Doggies. You’ve heard me talk about these beforeand I will again because it’s such a great exercise for the glutes! And the more you do without stopping, the better workout it is for those muscles. Go on your hands and knees, kick your leg back and then rotate it around to starting position, keeping the leg in line with your hips. Keep going until you can’t and then go right away to the other side.

2. Hip bridges. This can be done with or without a stability ball. Lie on your back with your feet on the floor, knees bent. Now, lift up, bringing your hips and glutes up. If you want a deeper exercise, you can go up on your toes to get higher. Come down, but don’t touch the floor. Continue up and down, squeezing the glutes at the top until failure. If you want to use a stability ball, simply put your calves on top of it and do the same motion.

3. Box jumps. For this, you can use an athletic box, stepper, a chair, a couch–anything that is raised and stable. Focusing on using your glutes, spring up with both feet and jump onto the top of the box. Try to synchronize so both feet hit at the same time. This is also a cardio workout if you do it repeatedly. Slightly squat down so you can get power, and jump up!

4. Step ups with leg extension. This is different from regular step-ups. Have something similar to what you had for box jumps–a box, a stepper, a chair, a couch, whatever you can find. Now step up with one leg, and extend the other as high as you can behind you which clenches the glutes. Now do the same on the other side. Do this until your glutes and hips cramp up so you can’t do another (aka until failure!).

5. Bobbing squat. You will really feel the burn with this one. Get into a squatting position and hold. Now bob your hips and glutes up and down in little motions. Go for as long as you can until the burn is just too much. Don’t forget to time yourself and try to beat your own record!

So if you’re looking to have buns of steel for the summer time, or better, for your lifetime, make these few exercises a part of your routine. They’re easy to remember and simple to do (though they burn if you do it right!), giving you no excuses not to have the glutes of your dreams! Click here if you’re looking for an over-all non-machine leg workout! Use these exercises to stay…hungry and fit! 

BONUS KITTY PIC

Nymeria found a nice little spot

Nymeria found a nice little spot