Weekly Challenge for July 8th
Monday again! Time for this week’s challenge!
I don’t know about you, but the first time I was told to do these weird little exercises, I didn’t know what to think. It felt strange to do them, and it took a long time to get my glutes to do anything!
If you don’t know it, your glutes are your…well…the muscles in your rear end. “Glutes” is the short term for the three muscles that make up your…rear end…the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus.
Suhaila Salimpour was the first to introduce these exercises to the belly dance community (at least, that’s what I’ve been told…and she’s done them on broadcast TV) and now many teachers use them to strengthen the glutes.
The glutes drive a lot of our hip movements. Specifically, they keep hip movements sharp. If you want sharp hips, challenge those glutes! But glutes can be hard to find, hard to control, and then hard to coordinate! You are going to have to work with your teacher on this one to find the best way to find those glutes.
Beginner: Please keep in mind that these exercises can be super frustrating. One week isn’t going to be enough time to strengthen and coordinate those glutes. BUT (pun intended?) this will get you started. If your teacher has shown you these exercises, great. If not, ask her/him about them. Many teachers don’t use the glutes that much, and that’s okay. There are plenty of DVDs that use them (specifically, Suhaila’s buns DVD). Your challenge this week is to practice those glute contractions for one whole song. Do them sitting down, or however your teacher has told you to do them, and keep it slow. Make sure both glutes are contracting strongly and evenly, and that each one releases fully.
Intermediate: The hardest time I had with these exercises was taking them from the floor to standing. It was a nightmare that involved a lot of stomping and growling (just ask my poor husband). Your results may vary, and that’s okay, because every body is different. Your challenge this week is to get off those buns and onto your feet. Still maintain a slow pace, make sure your dance posture is perfect (no sticking out that rear end!), and, again, make sure each glute releases fully before contracting again. Having loose glutes for this is VITAL. Practice for one whole song each day this week.
Advanced: What fun things can you do with your glutes? Can you shimmy with just your glutes? Do you use them when layering? Can you still do hip movements while standing on one foot with a sword on your head? This week find something interesting to do with those glutes and practice it for one whole song each day this week. Let me know how you do!