Embracing Resistance

This post is part of the GenFit program, an online fitness course designed to help you meet your health and fitness goals. After reading this, if you are inspired to take charge of your life, to become fitter, leaner, and stronger, send me a message and I’ll tell you more about the program. GenFit is a place where I share even more ideas to help you achieve your health and fitness goals; and comes with a small community of people to help encourage and support you on your journey. Are you ready to be the best version of yourself? 

Hopefully by now, ladies aren’t still afraid of weight lifting. All of the Instagram models and fitness YouTubers will tell you the value of lifting weight. For so long women left the lifting to the men while focusing on crude. I’m not going to downplay cardio the way some fit girls will since I’m running a half marathon soon. But I will tell you, pretty much everything is improved by adding some resistance training to your routine.

Resistance training can come in a lot of forms. The one I recommend starting with is bodyweight exercises. I think they’re good because,

  1. they can be done at home: Sometimes going to the gym when you’re new to fitness can be super intimidating. That’s why I recommend doing things at home first, you’ll get used to being in your own body and making it move certain ways.
  2. they can be done anytime: If you’re working out at the gym only, you amy be super busy and have to skip a day or two. This can totally throw off your schedule. Once you’ve messed up, it’s often hard to get back on track. But if all you’re doing is bodyweight exercises you can do them on commercial breaks or while you’re waiting for water to boil.
  3. they allow you to focus on form: Bad form can lead to serious injury. A lot of people are tempted to lift heavy even when it’s too much. This causes compromised form and injuries. for those who dial it back a little, can focus on having correct form and firing the correct muscles. Form is one of the most important things in your training.
  4. they’re cheap: Lifting your body is significantly cheaper than a gym membership and it’s cheaper than buying weights at the sporting goods store. I was tempted to say you’re cheap, but I thought that might offend some people.
  5. they tighten you up: I remember the first day I stepped out of the shower and saw cellulite on my thighs. I was horrified! I’m in my mid twenties and childless, why did I have cellulite? It isn’t just fat, it’s the hard to reach fat hanging out below your skin; it’s much harder to just burn off with some running. It requires a toning and expansion of the muscles below. Doing bodyweight exercises creates lean muscle which helps move that ugly cellulite out of your beautiful body.

Since we’re on the topic of tightening up I also want to mention that muscle mass burns more calories than fat. Here’s the deal, more resistance training = more muscle; more muscle = more calorie burn (even at rest); more more calorie burn = more calorie consumption. The reason gym rats are always eating is partially because they are in the gym six hours a day, but also because all that muscle is burning fuel faster. So if you’re like me, and want to eat, embrace the resistance.

I wrote a lot in this post about bodyweight training because i think it’s the best place to start. But resistance training can also include a lot of toys:

That last one is a little funning but it goes to the final point I want to make. Fitness happens everywhere, not just the gym, not just the kitchen. Do a couple overhead presses before you load the washing machine. Do a few squats before you open a case of water. Do some curls before putting your almond milk back in the fridge. Resistance training can happen everywhere.

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Thank you, have a sparkly day!

resistance

Glute vs. Quad Dominance

When I signed up to my new gym, I was able to get a free consultation with the trainer. One of the things he deterred was that I was quad dominant. When he said that, suddenly things in my life made perfect sense, the heavens opened up and illuminated all things…not exactly, but it did explain some of my experiences at the gym. Whenever doing squats, I always felt it in my quads more than my gluteus. I’ve also always had a small booty and fairly decent sized thighs, proportionately. I’ve been trying to research on how to correct this issue for al my sisters who are looking to have a round bum.

What They Are

Let’s start with definitions, shall we? The quadriceps are the front of the thighs. They mostly work to bend and straighten the knee, something kinda important. The gluten are the muscles that make up the butt. They are the largest muscle group in the lower bod. Their purpose is focused primarily on hip balance and leg rotation. Again, pretty important.

I point to the fact that both muscle groups are important, because when I first started, I thought I needed to do glute isolation exercises only; no quad or compound movements. To be healthy in your body, your training needs to work toward achieving balance between these two vital muscle groups. Therefore, we should be training both, but focusing more on one than the other…balance. More on that in a bit.

Determine

So when it comes to figuring out your workouts and training schedule, you need to know if you are quad or glute dominant. Or perhaps you are one of those perfect and wonderful well balanced people. You have been blessed by God, but I kinda hate you. One things to do is to check in and consider your lifting history.

Are you like me with ever growing thighs and a little board booty? Another thing you can do is a squat test. You don’t need to add wight, just do the motion. If you’re driving through the heels, your knees are over your ankles, hips pushed back, and your torso angled, you are probably glute dominant. On the other hand, if you drive through the toes, your knees are over your toes, hips are over your ancles, and your torso is perpendicular to the floor, you’re in my club of quad dominance.

Correcting Quad Dominance

There is nothing inherently wrong with being a little bit stronger in the quads than in the glutes. You should be as close to balanced as possible, and if you lean a little bit toward the quads, that’s ok…unless you’re trying to grow a butt. If you are looking to grow your backside, you have to “correct” quad dominance. These are my top five tips for that correction:

1. Keep your muscles stretched and loose.

If your hamstrings are tight, your quads will try to overcompensate for the lack of mobility. Before doing your workouts, make sure you stretch and foam roll to make sure your leg muscles (all of them) are loose and ready to work.

2. Invite your glutes to the party.

For your warm up, do some glute firing exercises. This will wake them up and let them know they have work to do. I like to do banded squat walks, banded glute bridges, clamshells, banded fire hydrants, and banded donkey kicks. Can you tell I like bands for glutes? One tip, don’t do a band that’s too tight, this is just the warm up.

3. Embrace glute and hamstring dominant compound exercises.

Compound exercises utilize multiple muscle groups. Although you’ll be working both glutes and quads, the glutes should fire more. Examples would be deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, and box squats.

4. Reduce quad dominant compound exercises

These exercises include front squats, lunges, and split squats.

5. Do glute isolation exercises

I have fallen in love with several glute isolation exercises. They focus almost elusively on the posterior chain which includes the glutes and hamstrings. The quads are not engaged if done in correct position. My favorites include hip thrusts, squatted hip abductors, and kick backs.

Final Points

Before I end this post, I want to make a few final points about glute and quad dominance. If you suffer from knee, hip, and/or lower back pain, it could be because you are off balance. When I started training glutes, my knees stopped bothering me so much. Also, because the glutes keep the hips balanced, my running form has improved.

Don’t overwork your glutes, or any other muscle group for that matter. Growth happens at rest, not in the gym. So embrace rest and focus on recovery just as much as you focus on lifting.

It takes time to grow your glutes, so if you’re here because you’re looking for a bubble butt, be patient and consistent. I’m at the beginning of my booty journey, but I’ll keep you updated.

Let me know in the comments if you would like me to share my glute training routine, or any other gym routines. If you enjoyed this post, please consider commenting, subscribing, sharing on social media, and making a contribution to my Patreon.

Thank you, and have a sparkly day!

15 Weird Questions Tag

 

1. What’s a nickname only your family calls you?
2. What’s a weird habit of yours?
3. Do you have any weird phobias?
4. What’s a song you secretly love to blast and belt out when you’re alone?
5. What’s one of your biggest pet peeves?
6. What’s one of your nervous habits?
7. What side of the bed do you sleep on?
8. What was your first stuffed animal’s name?
9. What’s the drink you always order at Starbucks?
10. What’s a beauty rule you preach, but never actually practice?
11. Which way do you face in the shower?
12. Do you have any “weird” body skills?
13. What’s your favorite comfort food that’s “bad” but you love to eat it anyways?
14. What’s a phrase or exclamation you always say?
15. Time to sleep, what are you actually wearing?