July 26, 2020

5 EXERCISES TO WORK YOUR BUTT and More…

In today’s digest we bring you articles on 5 EXERCISES TO WORK YOUR BUTT, Best Hamstring Exercises Bodyweight-Training Only, A 10-MINUTE LOVE HANDLE WORKOUT and Are You COVID D-Prived and Down? How Low Vitamin D Can Cause Low Mood. Hope you enjoy them…

5 EXERCISES TO WORK YOUR BUTT

♦Do you sit all day? Or do you have low back pain? Knee pain? Are you running a race?♦Or…just getting ready for swimsuit season? Then it’s time to build your glutes! Your gluteus muscles are the 3 muscles that make up your butt: Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius & Gluteus Minimus. As a trainer, I see…


♦Do you sit all day? Or do you have low back pain? Knee pain? Are you running a race?
♦Or…just getting ready for swimsuit season? Then it’s time to build your glutes!

Your gluteus muscles are the 3 muscles that make up your butt: Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius & Gluteus Minimus. As a trainer, I see weak glutes every day – people often ignore this very important muscle group.

So what do your glutes do? They are responsible for:

♦ supporting your pelvis
♦ extending your hip
♦ propelling you forward
♦ climbing stairs
♦ standing from a seated position
♦ keeping your legs, pelvis & torso in alignment
♦ Kind of important.

Here 5 Exercises to Work Your Glutes

Complete each exercises 2-3 times, 10-15 Reps, every other day.

1.Hip Lift/Bridge


Lay on back, feet under knees. Slowly lift & lower hips off the floor, while contracting through the abdominal and squeezing glutes.
Lie on your back with knees bent. Hold a light to medium weight on the crease between the leg and the hips.
Lift your hips off the floor.
Lift your right leg off the floor and then lift and lower the hips 15 times.
Repeat with your left leg off the floor.


2.Hip Extension


From hands & knees, extend leg directly behind you, foot flexed. Keeping hips neutral & leg straight, lift & lower leg.

3.Side Leg Raises


Lay on side on the floor, keeping hips stacked (one on top of the other) and extend top leg. Keep toe turned down towards the floor & lift/lower leg.
Lay on your side, core tight and toes dorsiflexed (flexed towards your face). Using your glute and keeping your hips in place, raise and lower the top leg. For more of a challenge, add a mini band right below the knee. Repeat 25 reps on each side.


4.Donkey Kicks


Come to hands & knees on the floor. Extend 1 leg behind you and bend knee to 90 degrees. Lift/lower leg, from floor to hip level. Keep hips neutral.


5.Single-Leg Hip Lifts


Hug 1 knee into your chest, place the other foot directly under the knee. Lift/lower hips.



5 EXERCISES TO WORK YOUR BUTT was originally published at http://www.trainhardteam.com/5-exercises-to-work-your-butt1/






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Best Hamstring Exercises Bodyweight-Training Only

Hamstring development is essential for maximizing lower body aesthetics, strength, and function. Many times, exercisers will focus only on the quads or not do any movements to target the hamstrings. But that’s a big no-no.  Now, we understand that right now, the gym just isn’t an option for most of us. Not to mention, if…

Hamstring development is essential for maximizing lower body aesthetics, strength, and function. Many times, exercisers will focus only on the quads or not do any movements to target the hamstrings. But that’s a big no-no. 

Now, we understand that right now, the gym just isn’t an option for most of us. Not to mention, if you don’t have exercise equipment, you’re most definitely limited to bodyweight exercise options. So, we made a list today with our top hamstring exercises, bodyweight-only.

Most people don’t need equipment to build the hamstrings especially if you’re up to date with current training techniques. And don’t worry, you don’t have to go searching for exercises as we’ll show you the best options and how to do them. 

First, though, let’s briefly go over hamstring anatomy… 

Hamstring anatomy

The hamstrings are part of the posterior chain (backside of the body) located opposite the quadriceps. It’s composed of three muscles which include the…

  • biceps femoris
  • semimembranosus
  • semitendinosus
Hamstring Anatomy
Hamstring Anatomy

The hamstrings are highly involved during walking, squatting, jumping, and similar movements (hip and knee movements). It’s important to note that all hamstring muscles cross both the hip and knee joints. Except for the short head of the biceps femoris which only crosses the knee joint.

Therefore, you have to utilize exercises that involve purely knee flexion to sufficiently train this muscle. But you want to focus more on exercises involving movement at both the hip and knee joint. That’s because the hamstrings generate the biggest amount of force when decelerating knee extension and hip flexion prior to ground contact during the gait (walking and running) cycle. (1)

The hamstrings are especially susceptible to injuries due to many reasons. So strengthening them in different positions is also the best thing you can do to help prevent injuries.  

Alright, now that you’re better acquainted with the anatomy and function of the hamstrings, it’s time to show you our list of best hamstring exercises, bodyweight variations only. 

Note: We’ve provided movement instructions and video examples under certain exercises while others have a link inside that contains instructions.

10 Bodyweight Hamstring Exercises 

1. Glute bridge

The glute bridge is one of the most basic lower posterior chain exercises. But it doesn’t only involve the glutes as the name suggests. Your hamstrings are also working and most people can do this exercise. It’s definitely a beginner exercise when doing two legs at a time since it doesn’t provide a whole lot of resistance.

Don’t worry though, you can do the single-leg variation as a more advanced option. The single-leg glute bridge is extra challenging as you have even more weight to work against. But it does require a little more stabilization compared to the two-legged version.

Single Leg Glute Bridge (Glutes)

This exercise is also unilateral in nature which means you can identify a weak side and then correct it. 

To do it

  1. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Arms should be down by your sides.
  2. Tighten your core. 
  3. Lift your hips off the floor into full extension while squeezing your glutes and hamstrings, then lower back down. If doing the single-leg variation, hold the non-working leg out straight. Everything else remains the same.

2. Sliding hamstring curl

The sliding hamstring/leg curl is truly an amazing exercise and a genius idea for working the hamstrings. It engages both the hamstrings and glutes and it’s a difficult exercise when done through a full range of motion. But even if this exercise gets too easy, there’s always the single-leg variation which is much harder.

To do this exercise, you’ll need to be able to slide your feet across the surface that you’ll be lying down on. So you can wear socks on tile or wood, or you place two slidable items under your feet. 

To do it

  1. Lie on your back so your knees are bent with feet flat on the floor. Place your arms down by your sides for balance.
  2. Tighten your core and keep your pelvis straight. 
  3. Lift your butt off the floor and slide your feet until your legs are extended.
  4. Slide your feet toward your butt while keeping your butt off the ground and squeeze your hamstrings. 
  5. Repeat. 

Not everyone will be able to perform this exercise through the full range of motion. That’s completely fine. Use a shorter range of motion at first, and gradually increase the range of motion

3. Nordic ham curl

The Nordic ham curl is one exercise we definitely recommend for strengthening and building your hamstrings. It provides more of a challenge than most other ham movements. Not to mention, it’s very effective for preventing injury as you’re strengthening your muscles in an elongated state.

One 2020 study found the Nordic ham curl reduces hamstring injury incidence. Although, it does not reduce the severity of injuries. (2)

Nordic Hamstring Curl

In a 2019 review and meta-analysis of 8459 athletes, researchers found that doing the Nordic ham curl regularly, actually reduced hamstrings injuries by 51%. It was concluded that this is an accurate representation of the effectiveness of the Nordic ham curl across multiple sports. (3)

Now, how most people would perform this movement is to focus more on the eccentric (lowering) portion of the exercise. Now, it definitely helps to have a partner to hold your ankles down to the floor. But you could also secure your ankles under a bed, table, barbell, or anything else that’ll work.

To do it

  1. With your ankles secure, place your hands in front of your chest with palms facing away from you.
  2. Slowly lower yourself down to the floor and as you descend close to the ground, extend your arms out to stop yourself from hitting the floor face first.
  3. Absorb the fall and slowly lower yourself down. Do not just allow yourself to drop down but control the descent.
  4. Use your arms to help push yourself back up to the starting position while also flexing your hamstrings to assist.
  5. Repeat

If you cannot perform this exercise in its most basic form, use an elevated platform in front of you so that the range of motion is shortened

4. Single stiff-legged deadlift

Few exercises will have your hamstrings sore the next day like a stiff-legged deadlift variation. The great thing about the bodyweight-only version is that there’s a lot less stress on the lower back compared to if you were to use a lot of weight with this exercise.

Doing it on one leg also challenges the muscles much better which is more conducive to building muscle.

To do it:

  1. Stand with feet together and extend your arms out for balance.
  2. Keeping the working leg straight and then hinge forward at the hips as low as you can go. Your non-working leg should lift up behind you. 
  3. Return to the starting position and repeat.

If you lack the balance to do this exercise in its basic form, hold onto a solid object with one hand for balance. This will also allow you to perform the movement with a larger range of motion to get an optimal stretch in the hamstrings. 

5. Forward-leaning Bulgarian split squat

One of our absolute favorites, the forward-leaning Bulgarian split squat is a unilateral (affecting one side) exercise that allows you to load the hamstrings. It does require balance and if you do have access to weights or bands, you can increase the difficulty of the movement.

To do it

Note: if you have dumbbells you can use them as shown in the video. If not, that’s OK. Just use your own bodyweight.

  1. Stand facing away from a bench and place the top of one foot on top of it. 
  2. Hop your other foot forward several feet away from the bench so that your shin remains vertical.
  3. Lean forward and squat down to parallel or slightly below. 
  4. Drive upward through your heel and midfoot into a standing position then repeat for reps. 
  5. Don’t forget to switch sides and work your other leg, alternating legs for sets. 

6. Skater jumps

The only exercise on our list that involves joint impact due to jumping side to side, skater jumps are also a more functional hamstring developer. Besides working your hamstrings, this exercise requires and improves stabilization and balance.

We do suggest you have healthy joints before doing this exercise though. It requires ankle and knee mobility while the hips are also involved in a more dynamic fashion than other hamstring exercises.

To do it

  • Hop side to side, keeping your shins relatively vertical. The non-landing foot should follow behind the working leg as shown in the video. You can squat down as low as you find suitable to be able to perform the exercise efficiently. 

7. Swiss ball leg curl

If you don’t have a Swiss/exercise ball then skip this exercise. They’re not too expensive though if you want to invest in one and it’ll also provide you with more exercise options. The Swiss ball leg curl is a good option for those who don’t have as much mobility since your legs are elevated and you can progress easier with this movement. 

To do it

  1. Lie on your back and place your feet on the ball. Arms should be out to your sides for balance. 
  2. Lift your hips and curl the ball toward your butt by flexing your hamstrings. 
  3. Slowly extend your legs forward and repeat. 

8. Cossack squat

The cossack squat is an advanced lower body bodyweight exercise. Therefore, you should already be able to perform similar exercises that require you to be in a deep squat position. The range of motion required really places significant stress on the hamstrings. But the glutes, quads, and core are also engaged due to the nature of the exercise.

This isn’t the movement for those with limited joint mobility or bad knees so just keep this in mind. There are other effective variations that you can do instead. 

You can also use a progression to work your way up to doing the exercise most proficiently. 

9. Lateral lunge

The lateral lunge is an easier variation of Cossack squat that most people can comfortably and safely perform. It works all muscles of the legs and challenges stability simultaneously. 

To do it

  1. Stand with feet together and tighten your core muscles.
  2. Take a big step to the side and bend your knees until your upper legs are parallel to the floor. 
  3. Step your foot back to the starting position and repeat with the other leg. 

10. Lying single straight-leg extension

The lying single straight-leg extension is a slightly more difficult variation of the single-leg hip bridge (see the second exercise on the list).

Lying Single Straight-Leg Hip Extension (Hamstrings, Glutes)

The difference being, your legs are extended and elevated on an object and then you’ll lift your hips off the ground. You can do it using one or two legs depending on your level of training. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the function of the hamstrings?

The hamstrings are located on the lower posterior opposite the quadriceps. They play a big role in helping us to walk, run, squat, and bend at the pelvis.

What are the best bodyweight exercises for the hamstrings?

We’ve put together a list of our best bodyweight hamstring exercises.

These include:

  • Glute bridge
  • Single-leg glute bridge
  • Sliding hamstring curl
  • Nordic curl
  • Single stiff-legged deadlift
  • Forward-leaning Bulgarian split squat
  • Skater jumps
  • Swiss ball leg curl
  • Cossack squat
  • Lateral lunge
  • Lying single straight-leg extension

Can you build strength with bodyweight hamstring exercises?

Absolutely! However, certain exercises are better than others for building strength. But, depending on your goals, there will come a point when bodyweight exercises will not be sufficient for progressing in building maximal hamstring strength.

How many sets and reps should I do for bodyweight hamstring exercises?

There’s no perfect answer to this question. But we recommend doing at least two hamstring exercises per workout, with no more than 4 sets of varied rep ranges between 5-25 reps.

How often can I do bodyweight exercises for the hamstrings?

This depends on the amount of training volume that you do for your hamstrings. The more overall sets and reps you do, the less frequently you should train and vice versa.

You don’t want to overtrain but you don’t want to undertrain either. This isn’t something that we can accurately guide you on so you’ll need to experiment and learn how to listen to your body.

Does training hamstrings prevent injury?

Research shows that working your hamstrings does, in fact, reduce hamstring injury. This was determined when testing the Nordic ham curl exercise in athletes over several different studies.

Wrapping Up

We hope that you’ll utilize these very effective bodyweight hamstring exercises. The awesome thing about the options on our list is that you don’t need equipment which means they’re also pretty convenient. There are also exercises for individuals of all experience levels too. 

So, try out some for yourself next time you train the lower posterior chain and we promise you’ll see big benefits.  

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Best Hamstring Exercises Bodyweight-Training Only was originally published at https://fitnessvolt.com/hamstring-exercises-bodyweight/







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A 10-MINUTE LOVE HANDLE WORKOUT

Russian twists According to an article by Health, this exercise is great for reducing love handles. You’ll need to sit with your legs up and the knees need to be bent. Then, cross the feet for support and balance. As you twist your torso from one side to the other, use a medicine ball or…


Russian twists

According to an article by Health, this exercise is great for reducing love handles. You’ll need to sit with your legs up and the knees need to be bent. Then, cross the feet for support and balance. As you twist your torso from one side to the other, use a medicine ball or a dumbbell. Keep the legs off the ground.

Side plank lifts

The right position for this exercise is to begin on your side with the elbow, hips, and legs on the ground. Next, slowly raise the body from the ground and pull in your core. Then, bring the body back down, slowly. Maintain the body straight and the abs engaged.


Box jumps

BREAK IT DOWN: The Box Jump - Experience Life

You will need a box on which you need to jump and hold the squatting position. Then, release and step down and repeat again.

Bike crunches

17 Super-Intimate Ways to Get Fit With Your Partner | Partner ...

Old-fashioned bike crunches are simple, but very effective in the fight against love handles. You’ll need to lie on your back with the legs off the ground and the knees bent. Next, bring the right elbow up as you pull the left knee back. You need to alternate between the elbows and legs to simulate a bicycle movement.


Jumping burpee

This exercise will help you target the fat area. You’ll need to take standing position and lower yourself to the ground and then immediately go to plank position. Next, you should jump up into the air and extend your arms above the head. Repeat each position.



A 10-MINUTE LOVE HANDLE WORKOUT was originally published at http://www.trainhardteam.com/a-10-minute-love-handle-workout/







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Are You COVID D-Prived and Down? How Low Vitamin D Can Cause Low Mood

Mood, diet and lifestyle habits, and vitamin D status are all closely connected. Low vitamin D may trigger low mood, making it more difficult to sleep, eat well, and exercise regularly, says Choukri. Yet, she adds, “These difficulties may be due to the mood itself rather than vitamin D.” On the flip side, research suggests…

Mood, diet and lifestyle habits, and vitamin D status are all closely connected. Low vitamin D may trigger low mood, making it more difficult to sleep, eat well, and exercise regularly, says Choukri. Yet, she adds, “These difficulties may be due to the mood itself rather than vitamin D.”

On the flip side, research suggests that not getting enough sleep, having a poor-quality diet, and inactivity can contribute to low mood independently, regardless of vitamin D status.

Here’s a closer look at the relationship among vitamin D status, these habits, and mood and health.

Vitamin D and Sleep

There’s a scientific link between getting adequate vitamin D and sleeping well, which plays a role in mood on its own. “Vitamin D is important in the process of making serotonin, and you need serotonin to make melatonin,” says Dr. Greenblatt. Melatonin is a hormone that promotes sleep, according to the Mayo Clinic.

A meta-analysis published in October 2018 in the journal Nutrients concluded that vitamin D deficiency is linked with a higher risk of sleep disorders.

It’s all connected: Lack of sleep alone, regardless of vitamin D status, may contribute to depressive symptoms, along with anxiety, notes the National Sleep Foundation. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of depression may include tiredness and a lack of energy, sleep disturbances like insomnia, and a loss of interest in pleasurable activities.

Vitamin D and Exercise

Low mood from vitamin D may make someone less likely to be active, says Penckofer. And inactivity can trigger a vicious cycle that further contributes to low mood. A study published in April 2019 in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that sedentary behavior and low physical activity were linked to anxiety and depression. And a review published in June 2015 in Cognitive Behavior Therapy found that exercise can even help reduce anxiety symptoms and bad mood, the authors noted. Another study, published in September 2018 in The Lancet Psychiatry, found that all types of exercise — from walking to cycling — were associated with improved mental health.

According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise boosts endorphins, gets your mind off stressful situations, gives you confidence, and can provide social interaction.

Improving vitamin D status may improve mood, helping you to get out the door and move more.

Vitamin D may also independently offer benefits for physical health. A study published in July 2018 in the Journal of Orthopaedic Science found that for elderly people, exercise and taking a vitamin D supplement each on their own helped improve muscle mass and physical function. Therefore, getting the vitamin D you need not only boosts mood and may help compel you to move more, but it also may help you get more out of your workout.

Vitamin D and Food Choices

Research suggests a vitamin D deficiency is more prevalent in people with obesity. One small study, published in July 2018 in the International Journal of Preventative Medicine, found that obese people who supplemented with a high dose of vitamin D for six weeks decreased their weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and hip circumference significantly.

Obesity is a complex disease: Both genetics and daily lifestyle habits affect risk, past research suggests. Yet having low mood, potentially due to vitamin D deficiency, may make you more likely to reach for potato chips or that bag of cookies rather than healthier choices, like carrot sticks or an apple. You can blame cortisol, the stress hormone, which can cause you to overeat when you’re feeling emotional distress, according to Harvard Medical School.

What you eat similarly impacts mood, just like your sleep and exercise habits. For example, previous research suggests that chamomile may provide a soothing effect by producing more of the feel-good chemicals dopamine and serotonin. Carbohydrates can also boost the production of serotonin, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), though make sure you’re choosing healthy, whole grain options, rather than refined carbs like cookies and crackers.

Meanwhile, poor food and drink choices can contribute to low mood. Take sugar: A study published in July 2017 in Scientific Reports found that eating too much refined sugar could up your risk of depression. So, too, may caffeine and alcohol bring down your mood, according to the Mayo Clinic and past research, respectively.

Beyond Mood, Getting Adequate Vitamin D Is Key for Long-Term Health

Skimping on D may seem like no biggie in the grand scheme of things, especially in the time of COVID-19, but prioritizing getting enough of the sunshine vitamin is critical for your long-term health.

“We do see deficient vitamin D levels are related to many different diseases — type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and [some] types of cancers,” says Mary Byrn, PhD, RN, associate professor in the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing at Loyola University Chicago. “Therefore, treating deficient vitamin D levels is not harmful, and I would recommend that everyone work with a healthcare provider to reach sufficient vitamin D levels.”

The Cleveland Clinic also notes that a vitamin D deficiency can cause other physical health issues, like osteoporosis and osteomalacia, and can even impact your nervous system and immune system, which is the last thing anyone needs during a pandemic like the current one.



Are You COVID D-Prived and Down? How Low Vitamin D Can Cause Low Mood was originally published at https://trib.al/2K1PveB