Yes, we know, we know! The shape and size of your derrière matters not a jot in the grand scheme of things. But dang it all, there are times when having a more shapely, toned tush would round things off nicely!
Work that booty! The backside, or gluteus maximus, is responsible for the movement of your hips and thighs. While there may be no such thing as ‘spot reduction’, it is possible to target specific areas for toning, and your butt lends itself perfectly to this task! Plus, most butt-firming exercises also work your abs, hips, inner thighs and upper legs.
Hints for success
• Take your time. Concentrate on making controlled, small movements rather than wildly flinging your legs about. After all, you’re not auditioning for the Rockettes!
• The standing exercises can be performed pretty much anywhere. Fit them in while you’re drying your hair or waiting for the kettle to boil.
• As you improve, gradually increase the amount of repetitions (reps) and sets of reps you do at a time.
• Add a resistance band or hand weights to take things up a notch.
• Don’t forget to breathe!
• Stand tall, feet hip-width apart, arms by your side, stomach in. (If your balance is wonky, place your hands flat against a wall at chest height).
• Place all your weight onto your left foot, lift your right leg directly back behind you with the knee slightly bent and foot flexed.
• Using your glutes (butt muscles), gently push your right heel back as high as you can, then lower it back down until parallel with your right leg without touching the floor.
• Repeat 10 times.
• Switch legs, repeat 10 times. This constitutes one set of reps.
• Break for 30 seconds, then repeat the set two more times.
Take it up a notch Work your outer glutes by adding in side kicks. Assume the same position, but instead of kicking back, raise each leg up and out to the side for three more sets of 10 reps each.
• Lie on the floor with your hips and knees aligned together and tucked into a 45-degree angle, keep heels together.
• Support your head with your left arm and rest your right hand loosely on the floor in front of your chest.
• Keeping your heels together, and pelvis still, raise your right knee as high as you can, leaving your left leg on the floor. Hold for a second, then lower back to starting position.
• Do two sets of 20 reps. Switch sides and repeat.
Take it up a notch Assume start position, but instead of keeping heels together, raise your entire bent leg as high as you can, hold for a second, then lower. Keep your pelvis as still as you can. (It is trickier than it sounds!)
• Stand with feet shoulderwidth apart, stomach in, knees slightly bent, hands on hips, weight on your heels. (For extra stability, assume this position with your arms outstretched and hands together in front.)
• Lower your body into a 90-degree squat, pushing your butt back as far as you can.
• Stand back up while keeping your feet on the ground. (Don’t lean forward and don’t extend your knees over your feet).
• Do two sets of 20 reps.
Take it up a notch Move into squat position, but before standing for the next rep, hold the squat and add five tiny up-and-down pulses to feel that burn! Do two sets of 20 reps.
• Lie flat on your back with your chin tucked in, knees bent, feet on the ground, arms by your sides with shoulders and neck relaxed.
• Press your hips up to the ceiling, squeeze your glutes, hold for a second, then lower hips back to the floor. That’s one rep. Do 20 more, rest for 30 seconds, then repeat.
Take it up a notch The closer your knees are to your backside, the easier this exercise is. Increase the level of difficulty by creating a slightly greater angle with your knees. Try holding each lift for five seconds to ramp up the burn.
• Lie flat on the floor, arms by your sides, stomach in, knees bent at a 90-degree angle so your thighs are perpendicular to the floor, toes pointed down.
• Gently lower your right leg and tap the floor with your toes before raising it back into position. Switch legs and repeat, alternating legs for two sets of 10 reps or up to a minute.
Take it up a notch Assume the start position, but tap both feet to the floor at the same time for 10 reps. This advanced move will also give your abs a run for their money!