Walls aren't just for decorating.
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Countless hours of sitting at your desk, sitting in your car and sitting in front of the TV can result in a nice large, toneless back side. If you find yourself in this situation, know that squats may be your new best friend. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, squats, including wall squats, have excellent potential for adding lean muscle mass with properly prescribed exercise, particularly in the buttocks and thighs.
Wall Squat How-to
Wall squats are a variation of the classic squat and help beginners develop proper squat form before moving on to more advanced squat exercises. To perform a wall squat, stand with your back against a wall and your feet two to three feet away from the wall. Adjust your stance as necessary after your first rep to ensure that your knees do not move past your toes. If you have access to a stability ball, place it between the wall and the small of your back. If you don't have one, simply place your back flat against the wall. Straighten your back, contract your abdominal muscles and look straight ahead. Maintain this position throughout the exercise. Gently lean into the ball or wall and shift your weight onto your heels. Bend your hips and knees to lower into a squat, allowing the ball to roll along your back or your back to slide against the wall. Keeping your knees aligned with your second toe, continue until your thighs reach horizontal. Pause here then press through your heels to return to the starting position.
Several muscles in your lower body are used to complete a wall squat. The gluteus maximus that makes up the buttocks is used to extend the hips during the upward phase of the exercise. The hamstrings assist the glutes with hip extension and also work to flex the knee during the downward motion. The quadriceps are responsible for extending your knees as you return to the standing position. Your core muscles also work during the wall squat to support and stabilize your upper body.
Wall Squat Workout Tips
Begin performing wall squats using only your body weight. Once your strength improves, add resistance by holding a dumbbell in each hand during the exercise. If you don't have access to weights, use a gallon of water or a bottle of liquid laundry detergent. Gradually increase the resistance to continue to challenge your muscles. Combine other glute-targeting exercises, such as lunges and step-ups, with wall squats to improve the tone potential of your buttocks. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends performing two to four sets of eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise to improve strength and power. Give yourself 48 hours in between workouts to allow your muscles to fully recover.
Don't Forget the Cardio
While wall squats and other exercises that target the buttocks will strengthen the muscles in the area, you'll have little to show for it if you have a layer of fat hiding all of your hard work. Toning the buttocks can only be accomplished by reducing your levels of excess body fat. Cardiovascular exercise is one of the most effective ways to create a caloric deficit and burn fat. Aim to engage in at least 30 minutes of cardio every day. If you're currently sedentary, gradually work your way up to this recommendation. Consult with your health care provider before beginning a new exercise program.