Carnival Time: Get Your Brazilian Butt

If it’s early February that can only mean two things: Valentine’s Day and Carnival! Traditionally a time to let your hair down and go wild before the restrictions of Lent, Carnival is celebrated in many places around the world, and of course, the most famous is the Rio Carnival – a sequinned, feathered celebration of near naked flesh and tight toned buns – but if you’d like to get a Brazilian butt, how to go about it? And yes, that may help for Valentine’s Day too…

Okay, well to focus on the gluteus maximus (that’s the catch all technical name for your posterior) we’re going to need to focus on lots of lower body moves, and some weight bearing exercises. The  good news is, if you normally just do a lot of cardio (or indeed nothing at all) then hitting the weight stack is going to have your bottom up in no time at all.

First up the king (or queen if you prefer) of not only leg, but full body exercises, the squat. This hits all your leg muscles, and going nice and deep with a wide stance is really going to hit your glutes. As a bonus your core and back muscles are going to be working hard to stabilise you, so your whole posture benefits.

So we’re going to go for a series of five exercises, aiming for three sets of twelve to fifteen slow cadence repetitions for each (count 2 to 3 seconds down and back up for each movement). Do one after the other with sixty seconds rest in between each set. Then we’ll finish with a cheeky butt busting Tabata round to really hammer the transformation home!

First up, don’t go too heavy, take your ego out of it, better to do more reps with good form then less with bad form. Ideally we want to use the barbell here (the long bar). You can use a leg press or a Smith Machine, but to get the best benefits you’ll want to use a barbell and a squat rack, ask a PT in your gym to show you the correct form, as it’s really important to get it right, and use a spotter if you need to.

So we want feet slightly wider than hip width, toes pointing out, inhale as you go down, sinking the thighs past parallel, keeping the torso as upright as possible, making sure the knees don’t come forward over the toes, imagine sitting back in a chair, then drive up through the heels. That’s one rep. Well done!

If you’re not confident with a barbell you can hold dumbbells in each hand making sure your shoulders are rolled back.

Next up you get to lie down for flute bridges: lie on your back, lower back flat against the floor, have your feet flat on the floor, your legs at around a forty five degree angle and if you can have a weight plate on your belly. Drive your hips up feeling the flex in your butt, then slowly lower down – you’re getting it!

Next up grab a dumbbell or kettlebell, have your feet wide and hold the weight in front of you, then squat nice and low keeping the torso upright, and back up. If you want to tone the shoulders and arms through in an overhead press too.

Now an absolute gem for toned bums – lunges! You can do these weighted (holding dumbbells in your hands, or for an extra challenge a light kettle bell in one hand overhead, swapping hands each set). Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, step forward with one leg, toe pointing forward and sink low through the heel keeping your chest up, you should really feel this in your glutes. Then step forward with the back leg to return to neutral, then step forward on the other side. You can do these on the spot or walking.

Finally one that’s going to improve your balance and hit up your core too (because don’t you want  toned midsection to go with that toned behind?) Stand in a neutral position with a light dumbbell in each hand. With the supporting leg slightly bent hinge forward at the waist, letting the dumbbells travel towards the ground, with your other leg coming up behind you, keep your back straight and look ahead. Power back upright making sure you tilt your pelvis forward tucking your tailbone under at the top of the move, then repeat on the other side.

There we have it, three sets of twelve to fifteen reps of wide squat, glute bridges, goblet squat, lunges and single leg deadlift. Easy!

Just to finish set a Tabata timer (you can download these on app stores) for a four minute block of 20 seconds working, 10 seconds rest. You’re going to alternate squat jumps with jumping lunges for the full four minutes. Not only are you hitting up those already fatigued muscles, but the interval and intensity is creating an oxygen debt and spiking your metabolism for the rest of the day! Hooray! Aim to do this workout two to three times a week with at least a full days rest between workouts.

We’re off to slip on our glittery thong – see you in the street parade!

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