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6 At-Home Workouts To Give You The Ultimate Peach

Let's get physical.

Wellness

Can you believe we are almost a year in quarantine? Me either! Although most of us have found ways to adjust to quarantine as best as we can, 365 days of quarantine can still do a number on anybody: including our health. According to the CDC, studies have shown an increase in stress, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, fatigue, etc. amid the pandemic. Me personally? I have recently been experiencing a strong case of tired and tested, more commonly known as burnout.


The lack of separation between home life, work life, and social life has truly done a number on my my mental and my physical. I no longer have the same energy, focus, or as much patience as I used to. But, with the summer just around the corner and high hopes of getting a little more freedom, I'd still like to get this ass and my health on point. In order to kickstart my health and wellness journey, I tapped Grae Wellness, a Black-owned one-stop shop for all things wellness.

The New York City-based business is equipped with a massage, acupuncture, and fitness studio all in one. The owner, Timothy Grae - is a master massage therapist and healthcare provider with one mission to help his clients recover, rejuvenate, and restore. I had the pleasure of being trained by Timothy as he showed me 6 at-home workouts we all can do for a better butt.

Walking Lunge

Celeste Polanco for xoNecole

According to Tim, "the most important thing you can do if you want a nice ass, is a walking lunge." In order to properly do a walking lunge, he instructed:

"Bring the right foot forward into a forward step. Front bend in the knee and put the foot back at a 45-degree angle. Now arms straight-up over your head. You will feel a bit of a pull on your back hip, this position is called Warrior I in yoga. Now, that's also a walking lunge. Push through your heel and stand straight up and you'll feel it in your butt."

Although I have done lunges in the past, I would typically have to do a few sets before I felt any type of impact on my glute. After Tim showed me the correct form to do a proper lunge, I felt the impact on my glutes almost instantly. He also taught me the power of stabilization through weights.

"If a person is trying to get the glute, they need to do walking lunges. We also have something called a fireman carrier with a walking lunge; it's when you have two weights. You can have your dumbbells, kettlebell, or any type of weight you have to stabilize."

Three-Legged Dog

Celeste Polanco for xoNecole

​For the three-legged dog exercise, Tim instructed: "In yoga, the Warrior III [Pose], it will look like this: All the front leg is stabled and the back leg will go straight back. Remember to keep your eyes directly on something and hold. Now to go extended, bring your hands to the floor and keep that leg up. Hold for three-second and bring the foot down. Make sure the foot touches the floor and bring it right back up."

I loved how Tim took yoga-inspired workouts and turned them into impactful glute exercises. My glutes were on fire during this particular workout. I have to be honest, it took your girl a minute to find her balance. Once I found something solid to focus on, the workout became much easier.

Celeste Polanco for xoNecole

However, during the workout, I realized this exercise might not be practical for those with stability issues. I'm happy to report: Tim had no problem coming up with a solution. Here is an modified version of the three-legged exercise, if you suffer from stability issues.

"If that person has stability issues, you can sit in an all-fours position. Place your wrist under your shoulders, extend the leg back, and pulse. Now to make it hard, you can bend the knee and pulse. You can also bring it out now you're working all aspects of the hip."

Squats

Celeste Polanco for xoNecole

I know what you're thinking, Duh, squats give you a nice ass, sis! And sure, you might be right. A huge part of it is how you are doing your squats. Tim had strong opinions on the influence of squats and why most of us are doing it wrong.

"Most people that do squats don't squat for depth which gives you a fuller range to pull up; that is the extender muscle. If you squat down; you have to extend to get up. That's the engagement of the glute. What we have to start asking ourselves is: 'What athlete, person, or thing is doing?' Follow what they're doing. Not what's popular because your influencer is doing their job to influence you."

I am a squat girl. I love regular squats, jumping squats, and even squats with weights. My squats have lifted my butt to some degree but never given me the results I've always desired. After taking Tim's advice on looking at athletes vs. influencer workouts; I noticed the difference between squats and results. I'm not saying all influencers squat the same way, but I do notice a pattern. We are not nearly squatting as low as we need to.

"A squat in particular is the only exercise that you physically do what the exercise says. To add that depth you want to try to have the feet going out a little more, like a 40-degree angle. Then you want the knees to go out. When the knees go out, it drops the center of the body down: rather than your butt going back and having instability because you don't have good ankle mobility."

Tim goes into detail on what people can do to promote ankle mobility:

"If you don't have good ankle mobility, you can't squat the way you see on social media. Mobility classes are more important than just starting to workout. You need to know about your body before you start wrecking it."

Deadlifts

Celeste Polanco for xoNecole

I have never been a huge fan of deadlifts. I always found deadlifts boring and a strain on my back. Working with Tim allowed me to find my correct form and have an impactful rep. Once I corrected my form, I noticed there wasn't a strain on my lower back. I learned the key is to squeeze at the top, avoid hyperextending, and take it slow.

"One of the most important things for a nice ass is a dead-lift. It works the posterior chain. A deadlift is lifting dead weight, but it's a hip hinge motion. The only thing that is moving is the top part of your body. When we are hip-hinging, you're keeping the leg straight and only a slight bend in the knees. Your feet must be directly under your shoulders, that way your body is properly positioned. Slowly reach for the floor, come up, and squeeze [the butt]."

2-in-1 Squat and Deadlift with Kettelbell

Celeste Polanco for xoNecole

The last two workouts Tim showed me can be done with a kettlebell, dumbbells, or any small weight you have at home. This workout is perfect for anyone on-the-go.

"We are using the same concept as a deadlift, just with a kettlebell. What you are going to do is; reach for the kettlebell toward the floor while pushing your butt toward the wall. You'll be able to feel your hamstrings get tighter as you lean. Make sure to hold the kettlebell with both hands, have your arms extended, and shoulders back."

The kettlebell helped me with resistance, which in return encouraged me to go slower. Although the weight was small, I still felt a great amount of impact. The best part was the added weight didn't affect my back at all. Looking back, I know it is because Tim helped me correct my form.

Celeste Polanco for xoNecole

"Now for the squats version. You squat to drop the kettlebell and come back up. Now, you squat again and pick up the kettlebell. Remember to squeeze and go low."

Featured image by Celeste Polanco for xoNecole

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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