All of the excitement over Pippa Middleton’s butt has been nothing short of hilarious. It seems everyone wants to know how Pippa got her fantastic body. Already the claims that “its pilates” are coming in (but seriously, a once per week session is not going to get anyone in bikini shape) – and this drives me crazy! If you want to do pilates, fine but for many women this is a really expensive ($60 per hr or more for a private session) and inefficient (you will not burn a lot of calories) way to get in shape. The good news is – if you want a body like Pippa Middleton – you have a lot of diet and workout options that will get you there!
Why Does Pippa Middleton’s butt look so good?
People love Pippa’s butt because its small but curvy. I think its that simple. Most women don’t feel attractive when their butt are either too wide or too flat. Additionally, you can also tell that Pippa’s butt is really firm and totally defying gravity – there is no droop, jiggle, or cellulite.
In a way, there is no mystery that Pippa could have a great butt. Pippa clearly works out and eats really healthy just like her sister (both love to ski, swim, play tennis and workout in their home gym. Click here to read my earlier post on Kate Middleton’s diet and workout.) Both women are known for being lean and toned – but still really feminine looking. When you are as lean and fit as Pippa, its hard to have a butt that’s too big (short of having hormonal imbalances leading to stubborn fat.) If anything – a flat butt is usually what really lean women end up with.
On a basic level, the smallest width (measure from side to side) of your butt would essentially be your pelvis. Of course, everyone will have extra muscle, fat, and connective tissue on top of that. For most women, if you are unhappy with your butt, your problem does not really come from your basic skeletal build (so don’t just assume you can’t improve the problem) but rather what lies on top combined with how you stand.
For the most part when your butt appears to overflow from side to side this is usually caused by two factors – body fat (primarily) and overactive/underactive muscles (I’ll talk about this more later under “gluteal amnesia.) In most cases if you butt is too big or too wide, you are dealing with a case of excess body fat (or the natural width of your pelvis.)
Most women underestimate how much of their butt is actually all fat. You can have fat deposits that are firm and smooth – not just wiggly and dimpled. You want to deal with excess body fat through diet and intelligent cardio workouts – not hours of “toning” exercises that claim to shrink “problem areas.”
The depth of your butt (measured front to back) is determined by a combination of muscle, fat, and posture. Usually, this shape and structure is initially caused by how your body naturally stores fat (this may be attractive or not.) Frequently, women who lose a lot of weight end up with flat or droopy butts – this is due to a lack of muscle. Muscle is what creates a firm, cellulite – free curves. Additionally, how you stand will also affect how rounded your butt appears to be. If you have excessive arch in your lower back – this will stick your butt out and make it look larger than it is. Likewise, if you tuck your hips under excessively (and have a flat lower back) this will make you butt look much flatter than it is.
By now you know that losing fat and building up muscle is the best way to get a great butt. Before you go out and start doing the exercises I am going to recommend below – you need to know about a problem called gluteal amnesia. Gluteal amnesia is caused by sitting or long hours every day. When you sit for extended periods of time, your hip flexors (psoas, iliacus, rectus femoris, tensor fascia latae) become very tight and prevent your glutes from activating as they normally would. Over time this situation causes your glutes to become weak, hard to activate (even when you are trying), and your body starts to compensate by using other muscles and joints for tasks normally handled by the glutes.
In women, you can frequently see evidence of gluteal amnesia in an excessively arched lower back and an overactive TFL (tensor fascia latae). (if you squat, do you feel it in the outside of your upper thighs? Then you are not working your glutes.)
The Best Exercises for a Pippa Middleton Butt!
Exercises to skip – any that primarily work the thighs and hamstrings (back of the thigh.) Examples: leg press, hack squats, leg extensions, and leg curls. Don’t bother.
How often? Work your glutes 3 times per week (just add this in to your regular workout.) Be sure to do your foam rolling, streches, and isolation exercises first. Then go into the exercises below. Keep reps low for squats and deadlifts (think 4 sets of 6-8 reps with heavier weights) and 3 sets of 10-12 for lunges and X band walks.
Category 1 – Squats, or High Step Ups
Squats are one of the best exerciss for working your butt – however, you need to know that many women accidentally end up working their thighs and not their butts when squatting. How does this happen? When you start to squat down you place all of your weight forward and on the balls of your feet. Instead focus on sitting back and on feeling your glutes activate.
High step ups are a good second option – just make sure that the step you are using is high enough that you are forced to use your glutes to lift your body up and not your thighs.
The goal: Sculpt Hilary Swank's slender body into that of a boxer, with a wide, full back and a boxer's round shoulders, a transformation that plays out on the screen in her Oscar-winning role in "Million Dollar Baby."
The workout: Two hours of boxing practice daily with trainer Hector Roca provided Swank with a great cardio workout as the actress prepared for her role by sparring and hitting the heavy bag and speed bag. So trainer Grant Roberts and Swank focused exclusively on weights and nutrition to help her build up her light frame.
Their workouts varied, focusing on single body parts, upper- and lower-body workouts, and opposing body parts. A key to the workouts, Roberts said, was "training beyond failure" using drop sets: For example, Swank would take a pair of 35-pound dumbbells to perform as many shoulder presses as she could, with Roberts spotting her to safely squeeze out the last few reps. Then she'd pause just long enough to pick up a lighter weight, say 25-pound dumbbells, and perform more presses until fatigued. She would continue to work her way down the weights until 15-pound dumbbells felt like a ton of bricks.
Because Swank was playing a boxer, there were no froufrou touches. How, for example, did she finish off a typical leg workout? A little move that Roberts likes to call "pushing the truck": He would take Swank outside and have her literally push an SUV in neutral gear across the parking lot. "Sounds crazy," Roberts said, "but it's a very good finisher for polishing off the legs."
The signature move: Pull-ups, to sculpt her back and biceps. Swank couldn't do one when training began. Nine weeks later "she could bang out 10 reps, easy," Roberts said.
The diet: High protein, low carb — more extreme than Roberts would recommend for the average person. Swank consumed about 4,000 calories a day, or more than twice what the average woman would need, but an amount that allowed the actress to build muscle weight even as she was burning substantial calories during her vigorous gym workouts. Breakfast: usually a protein shake blended with egg whites, oils, vitamins and minerals. Similar protein shakes were used as snacks throughout the day. Lunch and dinner: fish and lots of green vegetables. There was little variation, and on most days Swank's carb intake was a stingy 50 grams or less. "I'll be honest. It was not a pleasant diet," Roberts said.
The results: Swank gained nearly 20 pounds of muscle and impressive abs. She also earned the admiration of "Million Dollar Baby" director Clint Eastwood, who has bragged about Swank's transformation, noting that the movie billboard and posters that show Swank's rippling back muscles needed no photographic touch-up.
The goal: Carve Jessica Biel's muscles so she looks like a vampire-slaying, comic-book character sprung to life in the film "Blade: Trinity."
The workout: Five-minute warm-up on the treadmill, followed by three to five minutes of light stretching, then a weight workout that changed from week to week. Sometimes Biel and trainer Bobby Strom would isolate a body part, such as her shoulders. Other times, Biel focused on opposing body parts, such as chest and back, biceps and triceps, or quadriceps and hamstrings. This allowed Biel and Strom to keep rest time to a minimum and work muscles until they were fatigued. Next, a tough cardio session: at least 45 minutes a day, six days a week, with Strom keeping close tabs on Biel's heart rate. They rotated between using routine cardio equipment and martial arts, kickboxing and plyometric circuit training drills.
The signature move: Plyometric jumping squats. Biel would squat on a balance board, use a burst of power to leap into the air, then land back on the board and resume the squat position. She did 12 repetitions of this demanding move. "She loved it," said Strom, "but she hated it, too."
The diet: Three meals and three snacks daily. Breakfast: oatmeal with diced apple and cinnamon, and a side of protein (typically one egg scrambled with three egg whites). Lunch and dinner: about 4 ounces of protein (fish, chicken or lean red meat) with a vitamin-rich salad (spinach, asparagus, broccoli) dressed with lemon and a teaspoon of olive oil. Snacks varied but included soy-based protein drinks made with nonfat milk, protein bars or an apple and a dozen unsalted almonds.
The results: Although Biel was in good shape to begin with, she lost 10 pounds and reduced her body fat by 10 percent.
The goal: Lean down Jennifer Garner's athletic physique into that of a "Ninja-like superhero — silent, quick and graceful," for her role in "Elektra."
The workout: Ten-minute warm-up on the treadmill, followed by a "movement-prep" workout, including light stretching, leg swings, lunges and squats, created by trainer Valerie Waters. Garner alternated between a cardio workout and full-body circuit training. The cardio workout typically centered on about 30 minutes of interval training: running hard for two minutes, then one minute of walking, before picking up the pace.
When circuit training, Garner would combine a series of upper body, lower body and ab exercises. For example: a set of chest presses, followed by a set of lat pull-downs, squats and then crunches on a stability ball. She would complete the circuit three times with little rest, then follow with another series of exercises for the same muscles. After three more rotations through the circuit, Garner did some light stretching and was finished. Garner worked out 45 to 60 minutes a day, five or six days a week.
The signature move: Reverse lunges with a medicine ball to work legs, glutes and abs. Holding a 4-pound medicine ball in front of her, Garner would take a large step back with her left leg while bringing the ball down to her right hip. After eight repetitions, she would switch to the other side.
The diet: A combination of protein and carbohydrates every three hours, keeping a close eye on portion sizes. Garner's breakfast typically included an egg-white omelet chock-full of vegetables, with a serving of fruit — ideally blueberries, says Waters. Other breakfast options were high-protein Kashi cereal with soy milk, or oatmeal mixed with protein powder.
Three hours after breakfast Garner had a mid-morning snack, such as an apple and almonds, or fruit with yogurt. Lunch was a salad with chicken, or a turkey wrap made with a whole wheat tortilla and vegetables. For dinner, she usually had chicken or fish, with more vegetables. Garner limited her starchy carbs, such as breads and pastas.
The results: Garner, is now long, lean, powerful — and tight: "This is the best body she's ever had," says Waters.
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