Cardio is often forgotten when it comes to toning and shaping the body. However, resistance training doesn’t have a monopoly on muscle building and toning. The right cardio workout will not only burn calories, but will build muscle too, especially the gluteal muscles! Why only work on shaping you butt with resistance training, if you can also target it with cardio? Combining a cardio and resistance training workout (check out the other half of the Brazilian Butt Workout) that targets your butt will ensure maximum results and fast!
To work your butt muscles, while you’re doing cardio, do the following:
If you want to burn calories, increase your cardiovascular endurance and tone your butt, add hills to your workout routine. Running/ walking on an incline targets the glutes and the hamstrings. Therefore, increase the incline if you’re using the treadmill or if you’re exercising outdoors go for hilly terrain.
If you’re running/ walking outdoors you can also add some intervals during which you run/ walk sideways. This will work your butt from a different angle. Walking sideways really works your gluteus medius (side butt muscle) and other hip muscles, helping to shape your butt. Walking sideways also requires substantial coordination, which means your all your butt muscles have work incredibly hard to perform this unusual movement. If you’re working out on the treadmill try the butt-boosting treadmill workout below.
Stick your butt out when you’re exercising on the elliptical machine and push down on your heel. This will target your butt, outer thigh and hamstring muscles and lessen the work done by the front of thighs (quadriceps). Also, ramp up the resistance and stick to pedalling forwards (read more about how to use the elliptical to work different areas of your body). This will fire up the glute muscles. Try the butt-shaping elliptical workout below.
The recumbent bike will do little to work your glutes. Instead head for an upright bike at the gym or cycle outdoors. Ramp up the incline on the stationary bike or choose a hilly terrain if your cycling outdoors. This will target your glutes and hamstrings.
Position yourself so that you’re leaning forward a little, bending from the waist. Also, take big steps and if you exercise handsfree. If you don’t hold onto the handlebars, it will work your glute muscles harder as they have to also work to stabilize you.
BEFORE YOU START
RPE (rate of perceived exertion), is a scale that allows you to gauge how hard you’re exercising based on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being little effort and 10 being maximum effort.
Make sure that you are fit enough to do this workout and if you have any pre-existing medical conditions clear it with your doctor. HIIT style workouts are incredibly effective, but intense! If you find it too challenging (e.g. especially towards the end) just adapt it and improve as you go along. Aim to do the workout 2 – 3 times a week on non-consecutive days.
BUTT-BOOSTING TREADMILL WORKOUT
The following treadmill workout is challenging. It is an HIIT (high intensity interval training) type workout, and essentially combines strength work with cardiovascular exercise. In other words, you’ll be working your butt muscles, burning calories and boosting your metabolism.
During the intense phases of the workout, bend your knees a little, dig your heels into the treadmill and squeeze your butt to really work those glutes.
Beginners can start with a speed of about 3.5 MPH, while more advanced exercisers can go at a speed of up to 5 MPH. Basically, you want to go at a speed that allows you to work at the target RPE. Check out the RPE scale here. As you get more fit, increase your speed and/ or increase the incline.
BUTT-TONING ELLIPTICAL WORKOUT
This elliptical workout is also a HIIT type workout. During the recovery phase go at a pace that allows you to catch your breath and recover. During the work phase increase your pace, push down with your heels. For more about the elliptical machine and how to get the most out of it click here. The settings on elliptical machines vary, some have a maximum of 10, some 15 or more. The workout below is based on an elliptical with a maximum resistance of 10, so it’s quite hard! If the elliptical you’re using has different settings, just adapt the workout. Basically, you want to work towards the top end of the resistance scale during the work intervals and lower the resistance during the recovery phase.