It seemed like you had months, but with a simple flip of the calendar page, it’s Summer and temps are soaring. It’s time to dig out that bikini – the one that you love to wear at the pool or beach.
Hopefully, you’ve been eating healthy and working out, but maybe you’re just not feeling 100 percent in your bikini.
Here are five exercises guaranteed to help you make a splash during rest of swim season and beyond:
- Glute Step-up
What it does: This is a killer exercise that will give you serious results, which is why even national bikini champions do to keep in perfect shape. The Glute Step Up takes the lower body through a full range of motion in what can only be described as a booty blitz. This exercise will also help you with your spin classes and with running because it strengthens not only your glutes, but also your hamstrings and quads.
How to do it: Use four risers underneath each corner of a step or a bench. Be sure that when you step up your knee is at the height of or lower than your hip. Then place one foot on the bench. While driving all your weight down into the foot that is on the bench, step straight up while consciously squeezing your glute muscles. Stabilize at the top for one second with the other foot off the bench.
Sets/Reps: Three sets of 12- 15 reps on each side, alternating sides between sets.
TIPS: Be sure to keep the spine straight the whole time. You can also do this holding a barbell or dumbbells.
What it does: This longtime favorite has endured for a reason: Results! A resistance training exercise, a properly done lunge pits you against your body weight resulting in shapely glutes and legs. You’ll not only elevate your heart rate, but will also target several muscle groups including hamstrings, quadriceps, calf and abdominal muscles.
How to do it: Take one large step forward, keeping the feet about hip width apart. Focus on the goal that the heel of the front foot should never come off the ground and the front knee should never come over the ankle or toe. Now drop the back knee straight down to the ground, without touching the ground. As you do this, the heel of the back foot should lift up. As you come back up to straighten your back leg, squeeze to isolate the glute. Focus on a straight up and down motion. Keep your hands behind your ears and your elbows back to keep the chest cavity open and the spine erect.
Sets/Reps: Three sets of 15 reps, keeping one foot forward for one complete set. Alternate legs between sets.
Tips: Once you perfect your lunges try a reverse lunge where you step back instead of forward. It actually requires more skill and will help you with balance.
- Jump Squats
What it does: This is another great exercise that can be done anywhere. A full body exercise, it raises your heart rate, counts as cardio and strengthens your legs and glutes. You’ll not only be working those glutes, but also your hamstrings, abs and quads.
How to do it: Stand with your feet shoulder-wide, toes facing forward. While engaging your core muscles, squat down. Make sure the heels stay on the ground with your weight back and sit back, as you would into a chair. Don’t bend past a 90-degree angle at your hip and knee, and knee and ankle. Bring your arms up to the ears.
Now burst into an explosive jump. As you land, your lower body will go back into a squat position. This will be one complete rep.
Sets/Reps: Three sets of 15 reps.
Tips: Try to land with a focus on keeping your balance.
Beginners can keep a bench behind them when squatting to ensure they won’t fall back.
- Glute Kickback
What it does: This is a quick and easy way to achieve maximum glute toning because you’re working the vertical hip extension, which targets the hamstrings and glutes.
How to do it: Drop to your hands and knees, with the wrists directly under the shoulders and the knees right underneath the hips. Keep the neck and back neutral. Kick one leg straight back, keeping the heel flexed and the glute squeezed. Bring the knee back into the chest, and don’t let the knee touch the ground between kickbacks.
Sets/Rep: Three sets of 15 to 20 reps, alternating sides between sets.
Tips: Want extra glute credit? For an advanced session just loop an elastic band around the foot, hold/wrap each end of the band around each hand and kick back.
- Stiff Leg Deadlifts
What it does: Here’s a move that not only gives you model-worthy glutes, but also creates a strong lower back. It targets the gluteus maximus and hamstrings, plus tones deeper spinal muscles to help you avoid injuries.
How to do it: Grasp a barbell with a proper amount of weight, clip the ends so the plates don’t slide. Now stand shoulder width with a straight back. Bend knees slightly. Lower bar to your feet while bending hips. Place the weight on the floor. With your knees still bent, lift the bar again by straightening your hips until you’re standing straight again.
Tips: Keep your spine straight and knees slightly bent.
Sets/Reps: 3 sets of 10-15
Tips: Remember to bend your knees and pull your shoulders back.