Lift Your Booty Workout | 5 Moves to Your Fittest Butt
10 Moves For A Perkier Butt
The quest for a full, luscious backside isn't anything new—J.Lo's been flaunting hers for decades now—but recently, the trend's gotten a little out of control. According to Bottoms Up, a new documentary that exposes the dangerous lengths women will go to for a Kardashian-worthy rear, butt augmentations increased by 58% in the US last year, despite the ,500 cost, uncomfortable swelling, and risk of blood clots, infection, or nerve damage. Even worse, black market "backdoor" silicone injections (which are often administered in motel rooms and can lead to amputation or even death) are also on the rise.
Thankfully, there's a much more natural way to get the rearview you'd like. We spoke with some of the country's top trainers for their tips and tricks to score a fuller, lifted, perkier butt—no scalpel required.
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All those hours you spend sitting hunched over a computer or steering wheel can lead to what's known as "gluteal amnesia." Basically, your nervous system forgets how to turn on and work those muscles, so when you finally get up and start moving, the glutes fail to engage, explains celebrity trainer Rachel Cosgrove. And if you're not using your glutes properly during lower body exercises like squats, your quads end up taking over the work, growing stronger as your glutes get even weaker. Not only does this imbalance speed up the spread of your backside, but it also puts you at risk for knee and lower back injuries, says Cosgrove.
The fix? . This will help you focus on your glutes and prepare them for movement. "It's about the mind-body connection," says Thrive trainer Sean De Wispelaere. "You need to feel your glutes turn on so you remember to engage them during your workout." De Wispelaere recommends starting each and every workout with this mini-band circuit:
How to do it:Place a short resistance band around your legs so it hits just below your knees. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. From here, take 10 small steps to the left, 10 forward, 10 to the right, and lastly 10 backward (moving in a box shape). Repeat the entire series 2 more times, once with the band just above the ankles, and another with the band wrapped around your toes (you'll be standing on the bottom of the band for this one).
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Squats are one of the absolute best things you can to do firm up your backside—"they don't call it a squatter's butt for nothing," says trainer Larysa Didio—but chances are you're not getting the most out of the move. Most people don't have great ankle mobility, which prevents them from performing the move correctly, says De Wispelaere. What ends up happening: You squat with your quads instead of your glutes, and despite your effort, see little change in your derriere. Take this 10-second test to see if your squats are in good shape, and if not, try this move to increase your ankle mobility. Trust us, good form makes all the difference!
How to do it:Get into the bottom of a squat position with your feet shoulder width apart, hands together in front of your chest, elbows pressing against your inner knees. Lean your weight to one side, then rock to the other side. Continue rocking side-to-side for 30 seconds.
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"You have to challenge the muscle in order for it to grow and get strong, but most people don't use enough weight during lower body exercises to make much of a difference," says Didio. So how do you know if you're lifting enough? The right amount of weight depends on what exercise you're doing and how much you weigh, so you're going to have to do a little trial-and-error to find that sweet spot, says exercise physiologist Wayne Westcott. "Find a weight you can lift 8 to 12 times before fatigue—when you can't do another rep," he says. "If you can do more than 12, you need to add resistance; if you do less than 8, you probably need to subtract some resistance."
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You can sculpt the greatest booty in the world, but you won't get the look you want without hamstrings to match, says Booty Barre creator Tracey Mallett. Think about it: Your hamstrings run right into your glutes—if they're out of shape, your butt's going to look lee-than-shapely, too. "It's all part of the package," says Mallett. One of our all-time favorite moves for hitting those hammies? The Swiss Ball Hip Lift and Hamstring Curl.
How to do it:Lie on your back with legs extended and heels on top of a Swiss ball or weighted stability ball. Lift your hips so that your feet, hips, and chest are in a straight line. Then bend your knees to pull the ball toward you. Straighten your legs to push the ball away. Lower your butt down. That's one rep. Do 15 reps.
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One of the best ways to tone the glutes and hamstrings is the deadlift, says Cosgrove. It allows you to really target the back of your legs without putting stress on the knees—making it a great option for anyone who finds squats uncomfortable. Just be sure to keep your abs engaged to protect your lower back, and choose a weight that's challenging, but that still allows you to do the move with proper form.
How to do it:Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, and hold dumbbells in front of thighs, palms facing your body. Slowly hinge forward at the hips, lowering torso until it's almost parallel to floor. Pause, then squeeze glutes and return to standing.
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Almost all of our experts mentioned the Glute Bridge as one of their go-to butt moves, and for good reason: It tones and strengthens your entire backside. But once you've mastered the move, there are a few ways to take it to the next level. When you're in your bridge, your toes should be lifted and your heels should be driven into the floor, says celebrity trainer Brett Hoebel. He even has his clients wiggle their toes between reps to make sure they stay lifted. Why? If you push your toes into the ground, you'll feel it in the front of your legs; if you push your heels into the ground, you'll feel it right where you want it: in your glutes and hamstrings.
Once you've got that part down, try shifting your weight to one leg and lift the other leg out at a 45-degree angle so it's in line with your hips, says Cosgrove. Another variation: Take your Glute Bridge to new heights by propping up your torso on a couch or a bench so that when you lift your hips, your knees are parallel with your torso. "When you do a regular hip bridge, your knees are higher than your back, which means you don't have a big range of motion and you're not going to work the entire muscle," says Hoebel. With this tiny tweak you'll have more room to move and you'll contract more of the muscle.
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Strength training may be the biggest key to a perky posterior, but if you're looking for firmness, the right kind of cardio is also a requirement. "Strength training's going to give you a great butt, but to lose fat you've got to do some cardio," says Mallett. To burn fat and build muscle at the same time, incorporate resistance training into your workout by taking your walk or run to some hills or stairs. If you're on two wheels, seek out hilly routes or crank up your resistance in spin class. (Try one of these 14 walking workouts that torch calories and boost energy.)
The gluteus maximus—the biggest muscle in your butt and the one that gives it shape—gets most of the attention, which means the other two muscles back there get neglected: the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus, which are on your outer hip and work together to move your leg out to the side. These two smaller muscles are generally much weaker than the gluteus maximus, says Hoebel, but you need to strengthen all three to get your booty in tip-top shape. "When those muscles are weak, your body's out of alignment and you can't do lower body exercises correctly," he says, meaning that all those squats will end up working your quads instead of your butt. Hoebel recommends adding an exercise to your routine that focuses on the gluteus medius and the minimus; his favorite is the Booty Star.
How to do it: Start in a side plank. Lift your top leg off your bottom leg and extend it as high as you can. Hold for 30 seconds. You'll feel the burn in your outer hips and your obliques. Repeat on the opposite side.
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Anytime you sit, your hip flexors are shortening and tightening. The problem: they stay shortened when you stand up, causing your pelvis to be pulled forward and, says Cosgrove, causing you to start walking like a duck with your butt sticking out. Another problem: when your hip flexors are shortened, your glutes can't move properly—the two muscle groups are opposite one another in the body—and you'll end up compensating with your quads. But if you stretch out the hip flexors, your body becomes more properly realigned and your glutes are able to function as they should. De Wispelaere recommends stretching your hip flexors for a few minutes every single day, whether it's during a workout, when you wake up in the morning, or before you go to bed at night. Try this low lunge to loosen things up.
How to do it:Start in a runner's lunge, right leg forward with knee over ankle and left knee on the floor, top of your foot flat on the mat. Slowly lift your torso and rest hands lightly on right thigh. Lean hips forward slightly, keeping right knee behind toes, and feel the stretch in the left hip flexor. Hold here, or for a deeper stretch, raise arms overhead, biceps by ears. Hold for at least 30 seconds, then repeat on opposite side.
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You know that sitting all day isn't doing your butt any favors, but there is a way to counteract it: If you're just sitting behind a desk or stuck in traffic, try contracting your glutes. Wake up those muscles with two sets of 15 contractions, each held for one count, says celebrity trainer Michelle Lovitt—it'll make those activation exercises a whole lot easier. And though it might not seem like much, anything you're doing to work those muscles is better than nothing, says Lovitt.
Video: Do These 9 Yoga Poses for a Perky Butt | Yoga Tutorial
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