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Friday, May 10, 2013


Brazilians are known for many surging trends all around the world, some of which carry the nationality’s name, but in fact are not of the Brazilian custom, such as the “Brazilian bikini wax”. Brazil is also known for its beautiful women, due to the mix of Europeans (in most part the Portuguese, the Italians, the Germans, and the Spanish), native Brazilians, Africans,  and Japanese which formed a number of top models and with that the fame for incredible bodies.

Like many other countries, not all of Brazil’s inhabitants are gym goers, but since minimal clothing can be worn all year round in many locations, most maintain a healthy look to their bodies, are concerned with healthy nutrition, and the women that do work out hard include many exercises for the gluteus muscles.

The Gluteus Muscle Group Anatomy is composed of the muscles Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medias and Gluteus Minimus. Here in North America, exercises used to strengthen or develop the Gluteus muscles, are usually those used for other muscles groups such as the quadriceps in the barbell/dumbbell squats, and muscles of the hamstring in the bent knee barbell/dumbbell stiff legged deadlift. The movement used to target this area usually consists of hip extension, and hip abduction. These are also executed on equipment such as the lying leg curl, abduction machine, abduction machine or even using the cables, which do target the muscle group but isn’t the primary muscle activated.

But are those the exercises that most Brazilian women do to get those hard glutes that many around the world admire? Is it genetics from the multiracial mix? Or is there another exercise that can be done? 

You can say that genetics has some part in the way the Brazilian body is shaped, but there is one piece of equipment that you see in all of the gyms in Brazil, and that you can’t even find them in heavier weights in North America. That is the ankle weight. Here in North America you almost never find ankle weights in gyms, and if you go to purchase them in a store or order them online, you will have a hard time finding heavier weights. What you may find are the adjustable types.

Yes, the different variations of doing the hip extension exercise is included in most workout programs for women and the ankle weight is one of the secrets to increasing the size of the gluteus and resulting in the hard rounded look. It also has been focused in a group class to specifically work that muscle group, which also focuses on the abdominal and leg muscles. The exercise is usually done on all fours or supporting the body with the elbows and knee. The abdominal muscles are held in so that lumbar area is maintained in neutral position and not in hyper-lordosis position. The weight is securely strapped around the ankle, and the calf muscle is at 90º with the hamstring. Keeping this position the leg is moved up and down in controlled movements without the movement of your lower back. The knee can go as low as the floor without touching it, and no higher than alignment with the spine. Once this is mastered and maximal weight is used, an advanced technique used is crossing the knee over the other knee. But do remember that the stabilization of the core and abdominal muscles, plus spinal alignment is of extreme importance to activate the muscle properly and to avoid lumbar injuries.

So those of you buying those workout videos such as the “Brazil Butt Lift” will have a great workout for lower body including quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteas, but if you really want to harden and tone your backside, you need to tire out the hamstrings to emphasize the gluteas more and focus on heavier weights with 90º bent knees, for Brazilians use up to 20 pounds on each leg, after doing a number of exercises for the lower body. And remember the Ankle weights can also be used for other exercises, for it since it is a free weight and you need to stabilize your trunk in order to perform the movement, you are also activating more the targeted muscles in the workout.

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