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FITNESS By Mike Mauney
Getting In Form
For Hip-Huggers!

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Whether you've got too much or too little girth at your side-saddle area, there's no substitute for rigorous fitness practices.

Wouldn't it be great to have a magic mirror on the wall that would grant your every fitness request? You could go to it when you notice that your hips are beginning to lose their shape, make a special request, and — voila! — you'd have those shapely hips that everyone would die for. Yes, it would be wonderful if shaping your hips could be that easy to accomplish. But, it isn't and never will be. The only way you will ever truly have the hips you desire is by eating healthy and working out diligently.
The Right Way to Do Squats
Mrs. International '02 Tonya Matney demonstrates the correct technique for performing wide squats without weights to decrease, lift, and reshape her hips.

Tonya Matney Squat photos

1. Bend your arms at a 90-degree angle in front of you, with your elbows bent in at your sides.

2. Place your feet in one of three positions:
Shoulder width apart to work all around your thighs.

Close together to work the outside of your thighs (knees, toes, and heels touching at all times).

Wide apart to work the inside of your thighs.

3. Keep your feet flat on the floor to help build your hips. Raise your heels 1 inch to reduce your hips.

4. Keep your back as straight as possible at all times. Do not lean forward.

5. Look straight ahead and lower your hips down level to your knees. Do not lower your hips below your knees. Raise your arms out in front of you to shoulder height.

6. Raise yourself back to the starting position, lower your arms, and squeeze your hips and hamstrings very tight for two seconds. Relax your hips and repeat.

Final Tip: Inhale as you lower your body and exhale as you raise your body.

You're probably thinking, "There's got to be an easier way." You may have seen TV commercials for pills that are supposed to quickly trim you down. The pills sound great, you try them, and you may even have a temporary reduction of weight. But remember: Taking pills not only is a short-term and potentially dangerous method of losing weight, it also does nothing to reshape your hips. To lose weight and improve your body for the long haul, you must eat healthy, begin a cardiovascular program, and adopt some form of weight training.

There are several great exercises that you can perform to reshape your hips. Squats are a great exercise for reshaping your hips. Which exercises you perform and the technique you use will depend upon the shape your hips are in. If you have small hips and need to increase their size, you should use heavy weights. Perform 4-5 sets, 6-8 reps per set, twice a week, skipping two days between workouts. When increasing the size of your hips, be sure to keep your heels flat on the floor to ensure that you do not build up your leg muscles excessively as well.

If your hips are too large — which seems to be the more common problem for women — and you want to achieve a reduction in size, perform 5-6 sets of squats, 18-20 reps per set, 5-6 days a week, using little or no weights. Don't skip any days between training sessions. When decreasing the size of your hips, keep your heels one inch off the floor by placing a block of wood or a book under your heels.

Remember: A quick fix is only a temporary solution. The correct way to make a permanent change to your body is through a complete program, combining proper and on-going nutrition, cardiovascular exercise, and muscle toning. Given time, such a regimen will allow you to face the mirror — and your event competitors — without fear.

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