Build a better backside
Odds are you've got quads of steel, but what about your glutes? Meh, right? "Many women tend to be powerful through the front of their bodies, but weaker in the posterior chain of muscles including the hamstrings and glutes," said Mike Robertson, C.S.C.S., the co-owner of Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training. One reason is life tends to favor the front: Standing up from a chair and climbing stairs, for instance, uses more quad than ham strength. What's more, our naturally wider hips make it difficult to load the backside muscles when doing exercises like squats so we tend to utilize the front ones instead.
The good news: You can build powerful glutes and gams on par with Anna, Maria and Serena with just a few 10-minute sessions per week. "For any athlete who has to run in a straight line very fast, such as softball players and sprinters, these moves strengthen the muscles needed to propel you forward," Robertson said. "And for athletes who need to change direction quickly and efficiently like basketball, tennis, volleyball, lacrosse and soccer players, they'll help you absorb force better into a cut and make you more explosive as you come out of it."
Here's Robertson's 10-minute rear-toning workout:
Deadlifts. Stand with feet hip-width apart facing a weighted bar on the floor. Push your hips back so your knees are bent and grab the bar while keeping your chest up. Using the backs of your legs, rise to a standing position. Think about pushing your body away from the floor as you do the move. Do three sets of five reps with 90 seconds of rest between sets.
Romanian deadlifts. Begin standing with feet hip-width apart while holding the bar with straight arms. Push your hips back while keeping legs straight and lower the bar toward the floor. Keep the bar as close to your legs as you can. Return to starting position. Do three sets of eight to 10 reps with 60 seconds of rest between sets.
Ball leg curls. Lie on your back with heels on a physioball. Lift your hips off the floor into a bridge position. Squeeze your glutes and roll the ball toward your hips and then roll it back out. Do eight to 12 sets, keeping hips lifted the entire time, with 60 seconds of rest between sets.