If you were at least a teenager in the 1980’s chances are you remember the Buns of Steel craze. This workout was designed to, as the name suggests, help you tone and tighten your rear. Millions of copies were sold and millions tightened sagging bottoms. Decades later the program is still available on video and you tube. Of course there are many other exercise routines that can help you tone up a derriere that has gone south. But are such efforts important for anything other than soothing vanity? Turns out the answer is yes.

A strong bottom equals a strong body

Woman Exercising ButtlocksYour backside, also known as your glutes (maximus, medius and minimus) comprises the largest and potentially most powerful muscle group in your body. When this muscle group is weak other muscles are forced to compensate. Think of this problem as you would think of the difference between a plane operating with all engines at full capacity and a plane with an engine down. When you strengthen your glutes the benefits extend to your entire muscular system. The result is better form, better stability, and better performance.

Buns of Steel help protect your back

If your glutes are weak, other parts of the body are called upon to step in. With time this can lead to injury from overuse, poor form and strain. A strong bottom not only protects your back it also reduces the likelihood of injury to the knees, hamstrings and hips. If you sustain an injury in one of these areas your physical therapist may tell you the problem stems from gluteal dysfunction – or weak glutes. Exercise can help.

Buns of Steel workout

All of the following are good moves to incorporate in any glute strengthening routine.

Beautiful woman doing a workoutHamstring Curl – Stand with feet slightly apart. Holding onto a chair for balance, lift your foot so that your heel moves toward your bottom.

Side leg lifts – Place a towel or mat on the floor and lie down on your side with ankles together, face forward and the arm closest to the mat under your head. Lift your top leg and hold a few moments before returning to the start position.

Single leg squats – stand with feet hip width apart. Extend both arms in front of your body for support. Keeping the spine straight, extend one leg in front of you. Slowly bend the other knee. As you grow stronger you can increase holding time and bend a little more.

Donkey kicks – Position your body on your hands and knees. Keeping your left knee bent and the bottom of your foot parallel with the ceiling, raise your foot toward the ceiling.

Buns of steel are about far more than beauty. Keeping your bottom strong can reduce strain on other muscles, improve athletic performance and even make every day tasks like climbing stairs easier. Looking good in your jeans just sweetens the exercise deal.