A tush-toning workout will help you look your best in short shorts and boost your confidence when you're walking down the beach in a bathing suit.
"It's really sexy to have a great butt," says Kit Rich, a Los Angeles-based certified personal trainer and Pilates instructor who helps celebrity clients such as Ke$ha get in shape. "A strong backside helps protect your back and knees from pain and injuries, too," Rich says. Add these three moves to your cardio workout three times a week, she says.
Squat Side Step
"The lower you go [in the squat], the higher and tighter your butt will be," Rich says. To make it tougher, add a resistance band around your ankles.
1. Start in a squat position (feet hip-width apart, knees bent, thighs parallel to the floor with knees over ankles).
2. Staying in this position, take a large step to the right. Be sure to use your abs and keep your weight in your heels.
3. Rise to a standing position.
4. Lower back into a squat and take a large step to the left, then move back to a standing position.
5. Repeat 15 times on each side.
This might not seem like a hard move but, according to Rich, "it only takes a few reps to feel the burn." You're working the small muscles where your tush meets your thighs, helping to heighten and tighten the butt."
1. Lie on your stomach with your legs extended straight out on the floor.
2. Bend your right knee at a 90-degree angle with your ankle flexed so the sole of your foot is facing the ceiling.
3. Lift your right knee as high as possible off the floor, keeping your abs and glutes engaged and hips pressed to the floor.
4. Pulse your right leg up toward the ceiling for a count of five.
5. Repeat 20 times.
6. Repeat with the left leg.
"It gives you a great hip stretch while it tones," Rich says. Too easy? Hold a full water bottle in the crease behind your knee.
1. Get down on all fours, placing your left elbow and right palm on the ground, shoulder-width apart.
2. Keeping your back straight, raise your right leg out to the side, knee bent.
3. Rotate your knee in small circles in a clockwise direction for a total of 25 revolutions.
4. Change directions, rotating your knee in a counterclockwise direction for 25 revolutions.
5. Repeat on the left side.
Q: "I'm signing up for a gym membership. What are some common mistakes new members make, and how can I avoid them?" -- Vicky Acerni, 28, interior designer, Pittsburgh
A: "Tour a few fitness clubs and ask about hours, peak times, child care, group exercise classes, and personal training to make sure the offerings meet your needs. Also, don't feel intimidated. Too many members only use equipment they are familiar with, limiting their ability to get the best workout. New exercisers are sometimes uncomfortable because they might not be as fit or lean or strong as others. Focus on yourself instead. And don't expect immediate results. You may notice a difference in how you feel and the way your clothes fit before you see the number change on the scale." -- Meredith Poppler, vice president of industry growth for the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association
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