Slideshow: Get Your Rear in Gear!
By Lisa Robins; Photography Jason Breeze; Model Aleisha Hart
1. What does “1–2–1” have to do with my glutes?
To spark a change in your body’s composition, you need to shock your muscles with new training methods. That’s where “tempo maps” for your reps come into play. Take the series 1–2–1 in relation to a squat: one second to lower to the floor, a two-second hold at the bottom and one second to rise to standing.
This tempo workout activates all three of your glutes muscles – the maximus, medius and minimus – while also effectively toning your hamstrings. You’ll perform three sets of your exercises, each at a different tempo. Plan on attacking this workout two to three times per week on nonconsecutive days, and your glutes will be higher and tighter in less than 28 days. (That’s four weeks, people!)
REMEMBER! Your tempo schemes are coded as follows. Read your exercise descriptions carefully to determine at what point in the exercise each contraction occurs.
one second – two seconds – one second
CONCENTRIC (such as when lifting) – ISOMETRIC (holding) – ECCENTRIC (such as when lowering)
2. 45-Degree Leg Press
Target Muscles: quadriceps, gluteus maximus
What To Do: 3 sets of 12 reps
Tempo Map: First Set: 2–1–2; Second Set: 3–2–1; Third Set: 1–3–2
Set Up: Sit on the loaded machine and, with your feet spaced hip-width apart, place them high on the platform. Unlock the sled and lower the weight, bringing your knees towards your chest.
Action: Push the sled upward until your legs are straight and knees are soft (concentric contraction). Pause (isometric), then lower your knees back towards your chest (eccentric). Continue for your set.
3. Stability-Ball Hamstring Curl
Target Muscles: hamstrings, gluteus maximus, erector spinae
What To Do: 3 sets of 15 reps
Tempo Map: First Set: 3–1–3; Second Set: 1–2–3; Third Set: 3–1–3
Set Up: Lie face up on a mat, with your heels firmly planted on a stability ball, arms at your sides and palms facing downward. Lift your hips toward the ceiling until your body forms a straight line.
Action: Keeping your hips lifted, bend your knees to pull the ball toward your glutes (concentric contraction). Pause at the top (isometric), then straighten your legs and return the ball to the starting position (eccentric), but keep your hips lifted. Repeat for your set.
4. Barbell Deadlift
Target Muscles: gluteus maximus, hamstrings, leg adductors
What To Do: 3 sets of 10 reps
Tempo Map: First Set: 2–2–2; Second Set: 3–2–1; Third Set: 1–3–2
Set Up: Hold a barbell with a shoulder-width overhand grip. Stand with your heels under your hips and keep your posture tall. Slowly bend forward from your hips to lower the bar to mid-shin level.
Action: Extend from your hips to stand (concentric contraction). Slowly lower the bar back towards the ground, pausing halfway (isometric), then continue lowering (eccentric) until your body and the bar are back at the starting position, then repeat for the specified number of reps.
5. Barbell Curtsy Squat
Target Muscles: gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, hamstrings
What to do: three sets of 10 reps (each side)
Tempo map: First Set: 3-3-3; Second Set: 1-2-3; Third Set: 3-2-1
Set Up: Place a bar across your upper back and hold it with a shoulder-width or wider grip, palms facing forward. Step your left foot behind and to the outside of your right leg and bend both knees to lower your body towards the ground.Action: Straighten your legs to stand (concentric contraction). Bend your knees again but stop halfway and hold (isometric). Continue lowering until you reach the start (eccentric). Once your set is through, switch legs and repeat.
6. One-Legged Plate Drag
Target Muscles: hamstrings, gluteus maximus
What to do: three sets of 15 reps (each leg)
Tempo map: First Set: 2-1-2; Second Set: 3-2-1; Third Set: 1-3-1
Set Up: Lie face up on a mat, with your legs straight and arms at your sides, palms touching the floor. Place your right heel inside the hole of a weight plate as shown and lift your hips from the floor.
Action: Bend your right knee to drag the plate (with your heel) towards your body (concentric contraction), pause (isometric), then push the plate away until you are back at the starting position (eccentric). When your set is through, repeat on your left leg.