If you feel your “rear view” needs a makeover, the right fitness routine can provide a natural lift. Achieving the “perfect” backside depends partly on your body type and genetics, but most everyone can shape up to look better in jeans. Ready? Get started with these butt busting moves.
Behind It All
The Gluteal Muscles
The shape of the buttocks is defined by muscles known as the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus (hidden under other muscles), as well as the overlying fat. Walking, running, and climbing all work the glutes. Strength training that targets these muscles can help develop a tighter, more rounded look. Adding a few butt-busting moves to your routine may be enough to see a difference.
Side Leg Raises
This move targets the two smaller muscle groups in the buttocks, the gluteus medius and minimus. Raising the leg just a few inches will work these muscles.
Form: Lie down on the floor. Lift the top leg while lying on your side. Keep the hips stacked and the torso still; both knees facing forward. For a variation that works slightly different muscles, you can turn the top leg out from the hip.
This butt-building move gained fame in the exercise videos of the 1970s as the “fire hydrant.” It targets two of the muscles groups in the buttocks.
Form: Get down on all fours. Keep your knees hip-width apart and your hands directly under your shoulders, elbows straight. Gently stiffen the abs and keep your back in a neutral position with no sagging or arching. Slowly draw one knee up. Rotate the hip to bring the leg toward the torso, then away.
In addition to challenging the gluteal muscles, running plank works the shoulders, hips, and core muscles. Do it quickly to burn calories while building muscle.
Form: Assume the pushup position. Engage the abdominal muscles to protect the lower back. Spread your fingers wide to protect the wrists. Alternate bringing one knee, then the other, towards your abs, in a running motion. Adjust your pace to your fitness level. Work towards doing this for one minute.
Tone Your Tush With Cardio
In the gym, stair steppers, arc trainers, and elliptical machines are good choices to challenge the glutes while giving your heart and lungs a healthy workout. Inline skating and cycling are other heart-pumping options that tone the tush. Also, walking is a natural, anywhere, no-fuss butt workout. Tackle the hills for maximum gluteal impact — and to burn a few more calories when you’re trying to lose excess body fat. On a treadmill, use a 5% to 7% incline to increase the workout.
Firm Up Without Bulking Up
Some people’s muscles rise to a challenge by bulking up. If that’s your genetic destiny — and you don’t like a pumped up look — focus on aerobic activity over weight training. Don’t crank the resistance up too high on an exercise machine. Also, remember that targeted exercises alone are not likely to produce a smaller behind, just a firmer one. For a more dramatic change: watch your diet, burn more calories, and lose weight. That strategy can reduce the fat pad lying over the gluteal muscles, resulting in a tush that’s trimmer and tighter.