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Don't Stress About Your Breathing

The push for a larger tush is a rare one, indeed. But there are valid reasons to want to leave a bony behind, ahem, behind. Adding a little bump to your rump will make sitting more enjoyable, lessen your belt dependence and help bolster claims that you look like Beyonc?.

Your bum may seem stubborn right now, but Lance Breger, head trainer at Mint Fitness, advises you hold onto that tape measure. He says that for the first eight weeks of strength training, your ability to handle progressive weight is only 20 percent due to muscles getting stronger. The other 80? That's your nervous system learning how to perform the movement more efficiently. But after that initial stage, those percentages reverse. So you may be on the verge of extreme glute growth. (Readers looking to shrink their seats should still do squats; bigger muscles equal more calories burned and less flab.)

If you're after expansion, though, follow Breger's plan to a "derriere extraordinaire." Start by ditching the protein supplements; your caboose is almost certainly getting enough sustenance from your regular diet. "They're not a magic butt builder," he notes. Instead, begin by massaging your hip flexors on a foam roller, and take 30 seconds to perform a hip flexor stretch (kneel on one knee and have the other thigh parallel to the ground, and gradually force your hips forward). Then get your hiney in the air in a hip bridge.

"Squeeze like you're holding a winning lottery ticket between them," Berger says. Single leg moves, such as balancing on one foot while taking a medicine ball through a figure 8, is a good prep step.

Finally, it's time for your beloved squats -- don't forget about the single leg kind, and lunges, too. Be sure to push through your heel. If three times a week you're doing 3-6 sets in a rep range of 8-12, using progressively heavier weights that leave you fatigued, Breger predicts big things for you.

I'm six weeks post-partum and just got the all-clear from my doctor. I'm hoping you can recommend some good workout DVDs for shedding pregnancy pounds and strengthening my core. Like most new moms, my day is hard to plan out, so a workout that can be broken up into shorter segments is also helpful!

-- Sabrina

Your baby is why you're feeling out of shape, so use that bundle of joy to help you get back to your pre-preggers figure with Sarah Picot's "Post-Natal Pilates" ($15, http://Pilatesforyou.com).

The Arlington-based guru developed the workout so that your baby is incorporated in all of the exercises -- propped up on your raised legs while you're doing "hundreds" and lying in front of you experiencing a game of peekaboo as you do the "swan." So you don't need to worry about getting baby to sleep before you can spend some quality time on your body's needs.

If your wee one doesn't enjoy hanging out on your lap as you perform roll-ups, it's possible to do everything solo, too. But you're right to expect interruptions. "I never got through a workout without having to stop and breastfeed, or I didn't feel well," admits Picot, who has a 5-year-old and an 8-year-old.

She recommends watching the DVD once all the way through to get a sense of the moves, and then throwing together mini routines, always incorporating something that targets the abs. She's also a fan of hip bridges to warm up the back before flinging yourself into the rest of the workout.

To get a sense of how to scale your workouts, think about picking up Erin O'Brien's "Postnatal Rescue" ($15, http://Acacialifestyle.com). She walks viewers through three increasingly harder sets of moves, also relying heavily on the core-strengthening powers of Pilates.


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