Cyclists and runners are the most forward people I know – and it’s got nothing to do with their demeanor. The fact is, runners and cyclists spend most of their time training and performing using their legs in a repetitive forward-line motion over and over again, without any regard for lateral (side-to-side) movement.
This can lead to weakness in the muscles responsible for those actions, which can decrease performance and cause injury. Which leads us to the butt. The muscles of the butt, specifically the gluteus medius and gluteus maximus, as well as your core (abdominal muscles and tiny mid-back muscles) aren’t used as much as your hamstrings, calves, and your large lower back and upper trapezius muscles. Any imbalance between muscle groups can lead to fatigue and even injury, so strengthening these weak muscles is a great way to prevent and correct further damage. It will also help to improve your cycling or running, not to mention the appearance of your backside.
Recent studies show that plyometric exercises – explosive movements that include leaping, bounding, jumping or skipping – can be useful for endurance runners and cyclists for building speed and endurance, as well as improving performance. And performing these exercises during base cycle of your training plan can be beneficial to taking you to the next level. Here are four exercises that will help you build a better butt and also improve your running or cycling. Add these exercises to your resistance-training program twice a week for four weeks and you’ll see your pedal power increase. Due to the vigorous nature of jump squats and jump lunges, make sure you’re sufficiently warmed up before attempting them. And be sure you can comfortably perform 15 to 20 non-jump lunges and squats before attempting the jumping variations.
1. Single Leg Squats – Great for runners, who are always on one leg at a time.
2. Jump Squats – This explosive action will train you to generate more power, as well as strengthening and toning your butt.
3. Jump Lunges – Like jump squats, this explosive action will help you build more muscle power and strength as your jump upwards. Stabilizing muscles will also get a workout by keeping you balanced when you land.
4. Hamstring Curls on Stability Ball – This exercise specifically targets your hamstrings and the all-important gluteus maximus.