There is a lot to be gained from daily exercise that goes well beyond a good physique. For starters, there’s your health, physical and mental. Lose either one of those and it won’t matter how good your butt looks in your jeans. Commitment to a fitness program also builds self-confidence and promotes creativity. It can improve your sex life, your quality of sleep, your memory, and, well hell, it can be just plain ol’ fun.
But sometimes, I’ll admit, it is all about that bass.
If your backside could use a little work, (and whose couldn’t?) take your pick of the following booty-targeted exercises from a variety of types of workouts and build, shape or lift to your heart’s content.
If you want to add size to your butt, you’ve got to go heavy.
The Squat: Hands down the best exercise to build mass. Train smart and slowly work your way up in weight. Do full squats (parallel or lower) and use a wide stance to activate more muscle fibers.
The Hip Thrust: The hip thrust seriously activates the glutes, stretches the hip flexors and corrects muscle imbalance at the same time. If you are unfamiliar with the hip thrust, start with a glute bridgeand work your way up.
Crank up the intensity and burn fat while you build muscle with these functional moves.
The Walking Lunge: This unilateral move requires balance. Drive through the front foot and only use the back foot for support. Hold a weighted ball overhead for more challenge.
Burpees: You hate ‘em, but your butt (and your whole body) loves ‘em. Make it harder by doing a tuck jump at the end.
If you are looking to shape your booty, Barre exercises will give you a high round butt.
The Foldover: This exercise emphasizes correct posture and alignment to successfully isolate the glutes. The leg variations (turned out thigh, pointed toe) work the entire hip. Bonus: the standing leg is building bone density and working also!
The Pretzel: The small controlled lifts of this deceptively easy looking exercise target the gluteus medius like nothing you’ve felt before. When you do it right (don’t worry, you’ll know it), you’ll see immediate results.
Get a butt that defies gravity with this ancient practice.
Chair Pose: Utkatasana firms the butt, strengthens the ankles and tones the core simultaneously. To make it more difficult lift up on the balls of your feet as you sit your butt down on your raised heels.
Warrior Three. Virabhadrasana III strengthens and lengthens the entire backside of the body while it improves balance and focus. Let the lift of the back leg guide your torso to perpendicular (instead of vice versa) and hold for five breaths.
There is ample opportunity to work your booty throughout the day: squeeze your cheeks while you brush your teeth, take the stairs and walk more often. Keep in mind that genetics and the width of your hips play a part in the shape of your butt so don’t get too caught up in the way it looks. Remember, you’re already perfect the way you are.
What’s your favorite booty-shaping exercise? —Karen