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How to Get a Better Butt

Experts recommend exercises to help you sculpt a shapelier backside.
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Maximizing Your Assets continued...

As you might expect, walking is great for the glutes. For maximum impact, tackle some hills if you're walking outside, or use the incline if you're on a treadmill. Just make sure you keep your back from hinging forward, says Gansel.

Stair machines, arc trainers and elliptical trainers are also great butt-shaping choices, she says. For variety, suggests Sorace, try in-line skating or cycling (inside or out).

After working up a sweat aerobically, try these six butt-busting strength exercises recommended by our experts:

1. Squats. Stand with feet parallel and shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower your hips, making sure not to let your knees go past your toes.

A great variation for beginners, says Gansel, is ball squats: Standing with your back to a wall, put an exercise ball between your low back and the wall, then squat, keeping your feet out in front on you.

2. Standing lunges. Beginning with your feet parallel and hip-distance apart, take one giant step forward. Slowly lower your body, bending both knees. Bend your knees no farther than 90 degrees, keeping your front knee aligned over your front ankle. Then repeat with the other leg in front.

A more advanced version is stepping lunges, in which you move forward after each lunge, alternating legs. But Roget believes most people don’t use proper form on this exercise, which can put undue stress on knee joints and low backs.

3. Prone leg lifts over a ball. Lie stomach-down on an exercise ball, with hands on the floor. By tightening your glute muscles, lift one of your legs slightly off the floor, keeping leg straight. Then alternate sides. As you get more fit, try lifting both legs simultaneously -- but only if you can do it without straining your back.

4. Prone hip lift over a ball. Lying stomach-down over an exercise ball, rest your forearms on the floor and stabilize the ball under your hips and tops of your thighs. Using the arms and trunk muscles as support, bend your knees to 90 degrees, and put your feet together. Squeezing your glutes, slowly move your thighbones slightly away from the ball, being careful not to use the low back muscles. This is a very small move -- you should raise your legs no more than about 2 inches off the ball.

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