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Maximizing Your Assets continued...

5. Bridge. Lie on your back with knees bent, feet on the floor and 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.

6. Side leg raises. Lying on your side at the rear edge of a mat, place your feet at the front edge of your mat, then lift your upper leg and turn it out it in the hip socket. Keeping your hips stacked and your torso as still as possible, lift and lower the leg, reaching out from the top of the thigh. Repeat on the other side.

Finding Balance

It's important to remember that healthful eating habits are a large part of the equation for creating a better shape -- for your glutes and the rest of your body, Roget says.

"If the rear end is too big, it probably means too big all over," says Roget. "You can’t spot-reduce."

Speaking of big rear ends, many of us fear that building muscle in our behinds might actually make them look bigger. It's a question every trainer hears, says Sorace.

But women "don’t have enough testosterone to build that kind of bulk" most people fear, says Roget. "If your butt is getting bigger, maybe there’s extra [weight] on top of the muscles. Get rid of the weight and you’ll see the definition."

Genetics play a role here, too, says Sorace. If you feel you do have the potential to develop a bigger butt, do your strength exercises without any added weight, and focus more on aerobic exercises, Sorace says.

And what if you're hoping to maximize your gluteus maximus?

"The butt is just like any other muscle," says Sorace. "You have to overload the muscle to build it."

That means doing strength exercises with increased weight, additional repetitions, and shorter rest periods between exercises. Progressive resistance training, along with a high-quality diet, builds muscle mass, he says.

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