The Butt Workout: Six Exercises for Glutes continued...
After working up a sweat aerobically, try these six butt-busting strength exercises recommended by our experts (aiming for three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions of each):
1. Squats. One of the best exercises you can do for your butt, hips, and thighs is the squat, say experts. Stand with feet parallel and shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower your hips, making sure not to let your knees go out past your toes.
Variations are endless. "I like plie squats to really work those deep rotator muscles," Olson says. To do them, stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, legs turned out. When squatting, keep knees over ankles; press through the feet and squeeze the glutes as you come up to standing.
For an advanced version, progress to squat jumps, says Todd Durkin, CSCS, owner of Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, Calif., and trainer to 30 NFL athletes including Drew Brees. Each time you come out of the squat, leap off the ground.
2. Lunges. Beginning with your feet parallel and hip-distance apart, take a giant step forward or backward. Slowly lower your body, bending both knees. Bend your knees no farther than 90 degrees, keeping your front knee aligned over your front ankle. Step together and repeat.
Alternate legs or do all sets on one leg and then switch for a greater challenge, says Olson: "You're cutting the rest time by half, and even though you do the same amount, your legs will be working harder."
Beginners should stay in the lunge and just lower and lift by bending the knees, she says.
Ross likes tweaking a forward lunge to really target the glutes: While lunging, reach both arms down toward the floor outside the front foot (hold a medicine ball or light dumbbell for added challenge). Durkin adds a hop to alternate feet for the advanced client.
3. Bridges. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor, hip-width apart. Slowly peel your spine off the floor from the bottom, one vertebra at a time, tightening the glutes and hamstrings (backs of the thighs) until you've created a diagonal line from your shoulders to your knees. Return to the floor slowly, one vertebra at a time.