Fitness

How to get a behind like Pippa Middleton

Pippa Middleton's backside has spawned an appreciation society — what can you do to improve your own rear view?

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I can’t believe I’m actually writing this.

Still, when someone’s posterior bursts onto the scene with such rapidity that it makes international news and leads to a Facebook appreciation page with over 200,000 members, then maybe a few people would want to know how they could develop a similar attribute. According to one source, some women are looking to plastic surgery to make their behind look like that of the Duchess of Cambridge’s younger sister, but I would never advocate such an approach. Instead, being me, I would rather kick your butt with exercise to give you a nicer-looking one.

So here we go.

Take a reality check
Pippa is only 27, and she’s got money.

When it comes to fitness, money can buy you training, and it can buy you time. Being young and childless helps too. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be ambitious, I’m almost 43, work full-time, and have a couple of kids — and I still manage to look pretty good, but also realize that it’s kind of my job to look like that.

Anyway, focus on achieving your own genetic potential, and not reaching for a dream that may be impossible.

Lose the fat surrounding your rear
Nothing makes muscles look better than allowing them to come to the surface. If you’re carrying significant extra fat, then I’m afraid a muscularly sculpted behind will still be hidden. Unfortunately for women, the legs and buttocks are the primary storage sites for fat deposits and often the last place that you will lose weight.

Building muscle does burn some calories, but it’s not the mega-calorie booster that so many have made it out to be. Aerobic exercise is still going to be key for burning more calories, and running is one of the best ways to do this because it is one of the highest calorie burners, it is time efficient, and it can be done just about anywhere. Most of my running is done to kill time while my kids are in karate class.

It doesn’t have to be running. Any aerobic activity is a good idea, and Pippa gets her share. She was a big fan of playing field hockey while in school, but she also enjoys ice skating and swimming.

For you, it can be any activity that gets your heart rate up for an extended period of time. The key is to find something you both like and can sustain. I like running and it helps keep me slim, but if you hate it there are plenty of other aerobic options. Some people like taking classes, cycling, swimming or playing sports. Start experimenting and find out your aerobic passion.

Build that butt!
I don’t really think anyone should ever just focus on one body part. If you’re going to train the muscles in the body, then you should train all of them. This involves some form of resistance training. Even though running works the legs a great deal, these are the smaller, “slow-twitch” endurance muscle fibres that really don’t grow very much when trained. To grow a muscular behind, you need to engage in exercises that provide a short burst of high-intensity exercise that engages the larger, “fast-twitch” muscle fibres that will grow larger and make for a more shapely and powerful rear end.

There are a number of ways to do this, and two activities that Pippa engages in that help train her butt are downhill skiing and Pilates.

If she’s a casual skier, then it won’t do too much for her buttocks, but if she pushes it a little through moguls then this will definitely be a contributor to her curvaceous booty. (Gack! I can’t believe I just wrote that.) Anyway, if she skis in a manner where she goes in short bursts at a high intensity that require a rest to recover, then it’s going to be good for the old gluteus maximus.

Pilates is probably the biggest builder of the now famous royally-related behind. This is a form of resistance exercise that uses a person’s body as a weightlifting tool. Although it’s not an exercise that I personally have much experience with, I’ve done my homework and talked to some highly respected practitioners, and I can definitely recommend it. It will do a good job of sculpting not just your butt, but the rest of your body.

Pick up the weights
Weightlifting is my biggest area of expertise, and so I’ll close with a couple of exercise recommendations. If you’re really serious about this, my first recommendation is to buy the book Strength Training Anatomy for Women. This book is excellent and breaks things down by body part and provides excellent technique recommendations. Every serious lifter needs this book. Really.

Beyond that, here are a few examples I can give you for right now that help target the butt muscles:

If you’re new to weightlifting, make sure you get a qualified personal trainer to show you how to do these, as well as other exercises that target the rest of you body. Not only will you sculpt a nice-looking behind, but you’ll be healthier, stronger, and better looking from head to toe.

James S. Fell, MBA, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist in Calgary, AB. He writes the column “In-Your-Face Fitness” for the Los Angeles Times and consults with clients on strategic planning for fitness and health. Get a free metabolism report at Body For Wife. Email James at james@bodyforwife.com.