The Glamorous Glutes of Lisa Lowe
By Mike Falcon
For IFBB fitness pro Lisa Lowe, balance is everything. Which is pretty much what you’d expect from a former ballet dancer who began by studying with the San Francisco ballet, was admitted to the prestigious Julliard dance department, and then performed with the famed Alvin Alley dance troupe in New York City. Lowe, one of the most cerebral fitness professionals, earned her pro card at the 1998 Team Universe contest.
It’s virtually impossible to find a flaw in her entirely natural balanced physique, which is also typical for a ballet dancer. "In the end the person I must satisfy is the person I live with at every moment, inside and out," says Lowe. "And that’s inevitably me, so the type of body I want to have is always my driving force."
Here Lowe tackles a favorite target area for women: the glutes. Note, that like every other feature of Lisa’s physique, this area neither attracts the attention an out of proportion feature would garner, nor deflects it to another portion of the musculature. This is the true meaning of a visually balanced physique.
Lisa usually selects this as her first exercise because it utilizes just the "natural" weight of each leg, involves a stretch without that additional resistance, and utilizes the highest number of repetitions per set. Lisa suggests "about 20" repetitions in each of three sets. "Your glutes really start to burn at that point."
The beginning position is with the working leg extended and with the foot cocked to a point that places in in line with the head. You then raise it "to about a 45-degree angle" with the foot elevated above the head. "The entire idea is to keep tension on the glutes throughout the exercise," emphasizes Lisa.
ONE LEG MACHINE PRESSES
"This exercise ties in your glutes, some of your quadraceps on the front of your thigh, and the hamstring along the rear of the leg," notes Lowe.
To begin the exercise, you simply place your back firmly against the angles support, keeping your rear tucked well back and firmly against the seat. After warming up with no weight begin by loading the appropriate weight resistance and extend your leg until it almost locks out. (Some people begin by using both legs to extend the weight to begin the exercise and then removing the non-working leg.) Allow your leg to come back until your upper and lower leg forms a 90-degree angle. Then push the weight back until it is again almost locked out. Lisa does 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions.
"This an excellent exercise to both work the glutes and develop a better sense of working balance," observes Lowe, who uses light dumbbells for 4 sets of 8 reps. She suggests that beginners start without weights and do just two sets.
Lisa begins by lunging forward until her lower leg forms a slightly sharper than 90-degree angle with the floor. She then continues to drop the following leg until it almost touches the floor. (Note that the following leg beneath the knee is parallel with the floor.) To finish the exercise, which is not pictured, pull the following leg forward as you begin to stand.
STIFF LEGGED DEAD LIFT
"This exercise has always been a miracle worker for me," notes Lisa. "Before I performed it regularly I always had a problem getting and feeling a tie-in from the glutes to the hamstrings. This really concentrates on that area."
The key to this exercise, says Lisa, "is really concentrating on keeping your back absolutely straight throughout the movement." Note that the weight goes directly down, rather than being thrust forward, as Lisa lowers and raises it. The weight is never allowed to touch the ground. Lisa performs 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions.