Perky Butt & Poppin' Shoulders: 5 Strength Moves You're Probably Not Doing in the gym

Written By


Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.


“Do you workout?”


Sounds like a cheesy pickup line doesn’t it?


It is.


I was standing in line at a store the other day and some guy struck up the conversation then in there.


While my new favorite Lululemon Run Inspire Crops (check em here) were perhaps, in part, a dead give away…I nonetheless took it as a compliment.


A fitness or movement routine that enlivens you is a huge part of self-care.


Much like showering regularly, brushing your teeth, eating fresh fruits and veggies, drinking hydrating water and getting your beauty rest, a healthy fitness routine coincides with a well-oiled-machine (i.e. your bod).


That being said…our relationship with exercise often goes awry.


  • We push our bodies to do things they really don’t feel up to doing (pushing it past its limits or abilities).


  • We script, construe, plan meticulously how to chisel perfect legs…abs…arms…and on our way to getting ‘there’, we cut ourselves down in the process (i.e. inner critic speak: ‘You’re so fat’)


  • We are constantly striving to be better—and consequently stop enjoying the process


  • We don’t try different things: We get stuck in the rut of doing the same thing, and same routines, same ol’, same ol’


  • We over-do it…because we ‘have to’, or because we fear what happens if we don’t…or to justify sitting or eating or…breathing?


  • We don’t workout at all—we’re tired, we don’t feel like it, we “don’t like it”…we’d rather go shopping…or clean…or cook…or just go home after work. We get too busy…Too much in a rut…Too crazy. And therefore, our exercise routine takes the brunt of it.


Why do we take a good thing, and so easily turn it upside down on its head.


If you have the gift of arms and legs and a beating heart…YOU, my friend, were meant to move!



Movement is a full expression of your physical well-being…and an integral part of your cardiovascular health, brain health, digestive health, and energy (just to name a few).


And it can totally be fun!


I like to refer to the gym as a ‘playground for adults’ and a workout as ‘recess time.’


I genuinely have fun with workouts at this time at my life—and have been on the complete opposite end of the spectrum when:


-Workouts were slavery and a dark time—a time when I faced the mirror and consequently, my own inner critic (‘You’re ugly, fat and stupid!’—harsh, I know!).


And, later,


-Workouts were a constant striving to…get a new PR (personal record)…lift heavier weights than my body really needed to handle…keep up with the progress of others in my class (‘getting’ muscle ups…handstand pushups…double unders…etc.)


Both relationships with exercise left me feeling defeated and constantly striving to “be more”, “be better” (i.e. “not good enough”).


While exercise is most certainly about getting better (Goals are all about the people)…Exercise can also simply be about enjoying movement for yourself, and making progress for yourself.


It is totally one of those things in life wherein you can be a little selfish—


Stop pushing yourself to do things you really don’t want to do…or putting pressure on yourself to ‘get’ a certain movement or hit a certain weight.


Look inward and do a heart check…what ‘moves’ you?



What form of exercise(s) do you get lost in, in a positive way?


Smiles…fun…light-footed and fancy free?


For me, one of those forms of exercise is lifting weights.


I really just love the feeling of being strong (for myself) and seeing how my body has built strength and health overtime (good bye osteoporosis!).


Just the other day, my workout consisted of several different movements from my own hopper of weight lifting that I had not done in awhile.


The results?




Vary up your exercise and routine—even within the mode of exercise you already love to do (for instance: if it’s yoga, check out a new yoga studio, or try a new flow….if it’s dance, check out a local hip hop class or beginner’s ballet class…if it’s running, take a new trail or trek…etc.).


And…if it’s weightlifting (and I believe every woman can benefit from incorporating some strength into her routine) here are 5 moves you probably aren’t doing in the gym…Mix it up!



1-Legged Squats

Stand with the back of your legs to a bench or chair. Take two heel-toe steps away from the bench/chair, then place the fore-foot and/or toe up on a bench, so you look like you are in a lunge position. Perform one-legged squat, ensuring your knee does not track out over your toe. Perform 8-10 each leg; Add weight/dumbbells to increase difficulty, ensuring form remains flawless.



Romanian Deadlifts

Perk that butt up. Grab a set of dumbbells or barbell. Stand, feet shoulder-width apart, weight at mid thighs, slight bend in your knees. Maintaining strong core and flat back, with straight arms, perform deadlift to mid-shin by shifting hips back towards wall behind you and keeping chest up and back flat the entire time. Engage your hamstrings and butt throughout.


Upright Rows + Alternating Press

Try this back-to-back combo for smoking shoulders. Pick up some dumbbells and complete 8-10 upright rows. Followed by 8-10 reps of alternating press.




Chin Over the Bar Holds

Exactly what it sounds like. Hold onto the bar with a chin-up grip (supinated) and aim to hold for up to a minute! (It’s challenging). Do this for 3-5 sets. In between sets, I like to super-set with a push-exercise, such as 5-negative pushups (lower for a 5-second count to the floor, then pushup) or seated dumbbell presses.


Front Rack Step-Ups

Stepping up on a bench, dumbbells at shoulders, elbows flashing forward in front of you. Drive through your mid-foot and engage your butt on the step up, refraining from jumping or pushing off with the other foot on the ground. Complete 6-10 on one leg, then switch.



For some more awesome exercise ideas for your strength workouts, check out these videos.


Click on PLAYLIST in the left hand corner of the video screen to see an entire list.


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