Time to pull out and put on our favourite pair of pants. Trouble is that for too many of us the drawstring, waistband or seat feels too tight for comfort. Action time, so up off our bottoms, and let’s make a start by shaping up our seats. You will need an upright chair to help you tone up!
To work legs and bottom (gluteals)
Stand sideways to an upright chair, hold on with your left arm for support…
Stretch out your right arm like a ballet dancer for balance. Point toes and swing your right leg forwards and backward working the muscles of thigh, hip and bottom. Continue 10 times. Turn around and hold chair with right arm and continue to swing left leg as high as possible 10 times.
Turn to face chair back and hold on with both hands. Slightly bend your left knee. Now bend your right knee and lift your right foot up off the floor. Straighten your left knee, standing upright up at the same time, straighten out right leg and lift up behind, you pointing your toes. Hold up for 5 secs. Repeat 5 times and feel your bottom muscles working. Repeat 5 times on the other leg.
Time to get down to the bottom of the problem with some floor exercises to tighten and trim your bottom and strengthen your back. Take care attempting these exercises if you suffer from back problems.
To tighten bottom muscles and strengthen the back
Kneel comfortably with hands on the floor, shoulder width apart. Drop head down and lift right knee forward and up to touch forehead (or as near as possible). Pull in stomach and arch up your back. With a smooth movement look up and at the same time straighten right knee and stretch back and hold for 5 secs. Return to original position. Change knees and continue kick back with left leg holding for 5 secs. Repeat 5 times with alternate legs…
To tone and tighten bottom and thigh muscles (quadriceps)
Kneel down, bend your elbows, place lower arms flat on floor, hands together. Bend forward to rest head on hands. Pull up tummy muscles and don’t let your back sag. Lift up and take right leg back bending knee 90%, (1/2 lever) and keep your thigh parallel with the floor. With small, but controlled movements, bob bent leg right leg up and down 10 times. Keep both hips facing downward, and feel your bottom muscles working. Change legs and bob left leg up and down 10 times. (Those of you more fit can attempt this exercise with a straight leg)
To work gluteal (bottom muscles)
Still kneeling place hands on floor under shoulders. Bend and lift up your right knee and out to the right side. Hold knee up parallel to the floor. Now pointing toes straighten right leg out to the side working the hip and thigh muscles. Keep right knee up and repeat bending and straightening right leg 10 times. Repeat with left leg 10 times…
To work your hips, thighs and bottom
Lie back on the floor, arms at your sides, knees bent and shoulder width apart. Clench your buttocks, pull in your tummy. Tilt pelvis forward and lift bottom off the ground transferring weight onto your shoulders. Hold for 5 seconds. Relax down and repeat 5 times
Before continuing to exercise the abdominal muscles here is a simple exercise which I consider to be very important especially for us women.
To strengthen the pelvic floor, the sling of internal muscles which support the bladder, womb and back passage.
Lie on your back, knees bent, feet slightly apart. There is no visible movement during this exercise. First tighten the front passage (as if you are trying to stop spending a penny). Now tighten the vagina and finally the muscles in the back passage. Close your eyes and concentrate as you slowly pull up all the muscles at the same time. Hold for a count of 5. Relax and repeat 5 times. Repeat this simple exercise anytime, anywhere to help prevent gynaecological and incontinence problems. It will also improve posture and help prevent backache.
Now time to tighten up those tummy muscles. Lie on the floor and support head with small cushion if uncomfortable. If you are a beginner you are allowed to “cheat” for a few weeks whilst doing the next exercise by simply hooking your toes under the bed or sofa. This will also help protect a weak back.
To strengthen abdominal (stomach) muscles
Lie with knees bent, feet flat on floor shoulder width apart and place outstretched hands on your thighs. Pull your tummy in, push your waist into floor and tilt pelvis forward (control and maintain pelvis tilt position throughout exercise.) Take a deep breath in and as you breathe out curl your upper body, lifting your head and shoulders up as far as comfortable, sliding hands forward towards knees. Breathe in again, keep your back curled and with control slowly lower back down. Repeat movement building up to 10 times if possible. Do not let your head drop backwards throughout exercise. To increase the intensity simply cross your arms over your chest instead of on thighs, or still further by placing fingertips to temples keeping elbows out to sides.
To strengthen the oblique stomach muscles
Lie as previous exercise but place right elbow out on floor and place hand on .right temple. Pelvic tilt as before and breathe in. As you breathe out lift your head and shoulders up and reach over with your left outstretched hand to touch the outside of your right knee. Breathe in, relax back and repeat to other side. Continue exercise to alternate sides 10 times.
To stretch out and relax stomach muscles
Lie on floor as before with knees still bent but extend both arms out to your sides with palms facing down. Keep feet in contact with the floor throughout stretch. Breathe in and as you breathe out twist only from your waist to take knees over to your right side to touch the floor (or as far as comfortable). Keep your shoulders down on the ground but turn your head to look over to the left as far as comfortable. Relax for 10 seconds and enjoy the stretch you feel right across your body. Breathing out slowly return to start position. Repeat taking knees to left and looking over to right. (Closing your eyes will add to the relaxation)