Female beach volleyball players may be fearsome athletes but they have also gained pin-up status thanks to their fantastic glutes. We catch up with Australia’s Louise Bawden to talk Games, genetics and, of course, bums.
Q. Beach Volleyball seems to be played on the whole by long, lean athletes. Is it fair to say there’s a beach volleyball body-type and is it genetic?
A. It’s definitely a benefit to have height (Louise is 6ft 1in) but it depends on which position you play in. If you’re blocking then yes, height is important, but if you’re defending it’s as important to have agility, leg strength and the ability to change direction quickly in the sand. You’ve got to be able to jump up from the sand and it’s not necessarily the tallest girls that are the best at that.
Q. Most beach volleyball players have gorgeous glutes Do you do any particular bottom training?
A. Your bottom is a highly functional part of your body – even more so for me as a beach volleyball player. I have a minor injury to my hip, so it’s really important that my glutes are strong and I do daily exercises to train them. Your glutes stabilise what your legs do and create the power when you jump. I’m in the gym every single day and I lift weights three times a week. We all spend a lot of training time in the sand and it’s important to keep the level of fitness we need. We do cross-training, work out in the gym and jog.
Q. For the City A.M. reader who’s still hopeful of rocking a pair of bikini bottoms/Speedos on the beach this year, what would your advice be and what are your fave butt-toning moves?
A. Even as a full-time athlete, diet actually accounts for 70-80 per cent of my body composition – the weight to muscle ratio. I still can’t eat what I want, so anyone looking to tone up and lose weight really needs to take a close look at their diet. I think it’s mainly about portion control and thinking about the nutritional value of what you’re eating. When we’re training we keep a food diary, which is reviewed by a nutritionist. Most people are also low on water – dehydrated – and that can lead to over eating because they misinterpret thirst as hunger. I’d recommend squats and lunges for people wanting to tone their glutes. They’re simple and you can do them any time. Most people don’t do them deep enough so it’s important to really get down into a 90 degree sitting position.
Q. Any suggestions for how office-bound, city dwelling readers could have a crack at beach volleyball without boarding a plane to Oz?
A. There are sand courts in the UK; the British Beach Volleyball Association (beach-volleyball.co.uk) will be able to tell you where your nearest courts are. Also visit the London Beach Volleyball Club who have courts all over London (londonbeachvolleyball.org).
Laura met Louise at LA Fitness South Kensington where she and coach Steve Anderson were
sharing their Olympic experiences with LA members and staff as part of the Australian Olympic legacy commitment to inspire London to get active. For more info visit www.lafitness.co.uk.