Toning your butt is a legitimate training goal. As a competitive female athlete, you should be working to strengthen your glute muscles, which are critical for improving speed, vertical leap and overall athletic performance.
The gluteus muscles make the hips the most powerful joint in the body. The glutes extend the hips when you jump, sprint and stand up; contribute to abduction of the leg (moving the leg out and away from the body); and provide strength and stability for fast, sharp changes of direction when sprinting.
Strengthening this powerful muscle group is also an effective way to prevent injuries. Female athletes are six times more likely than men to sustain an ACL injury, and one of the risk factors is the tendency of their knees to collapse inward when landing from a jump or while Squatting. Increasing your glute strength through specific exercises helps keep your hips, knees and ankles in line to reduce stress on your ligaments.
Perform the following three butt-strengthening exercises to increase speed and jumping height, and decrease the risk of knee injuries.
- Lie with back on ground, knees bent and heels on ground
- Raise hips into bridge position so only feet and shoulder blades touch ground
- Hold for specified duration, keeping straight line from knees to shoulders
- Lower to start and repeat for specified reps
Sets/Reps: 3x12, hold for three seconds at top
- Balance on one leg, holding dumbbell in opposite hand at hip
- With balancing leg slightly bent and back flat, bend forward at waist until dumbbell is just above floor
- Flex glute to extend hip and return to starting position; repeat for specified reps
- Perform set on opposite side
Sets/Reps: 3x12 each leg
Lateral Band Walk
- Assume wider-than-hip-width stance with light resistance band around ankles; hold remainder of band with hands in front
- Keeping hips low, step right with right foot
- Step right with left foot so feet are at same width as starting position
- Repeat for specified reps
- Perform to left
Sets/Reps: 2x10-20 each direction