Whether you’re sporting shorts, a bikini or a pair of skinny jeans, you want your backside to look its best. One of the most common questions trainers hear from women is, “How can I firm and tone my tush?” While guys typically have a harder time losing fat from the abdominal area, women often struggle with extra weight on their lower bodies—the thighs, hips and buttocks. To get your rear in gear, try adding these glute exercises to your routine.
Squats. Sqauts are a tough but totally-worth-it exercise that work your entire lower body—glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves. Do them holding a dumbbell in each hand for added challenge.
- Stand with your feet a little further then shoulder width apart and toes facing forward. Squat down keeping your back straight and making sure knees don’t go over your toes (if they do, you’re squatting too far). Stand up slowly, pushing through your heels on the way up.
Lunges. One of the most popular butt-blasting exercises, lunges also target all of your lower-body muscle groups at the same time.
- Keeping your upper body straight, with shoulders back and relaxed and chin up (stare at a point in front of you so you don’t look down), step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle (not pushed out too far) and the back knee doesn’t touch the floor. Keep the weight in your heels as you push back up to starting position. Always engage your core.
One-arm dumbbell swing. A more advanced move, the one-arm dumbbell swing is helpful for both glutes and hamstrings.
- Hold a medium weight in one hand and stand with feet wider then shoulder width apart, toes slightly turned out. Squat and bend forward from your hips, allowing the weight to hang below your shoulders. Extend your knees and push your hips forward until you’re in standing position. (The force should allow the weight to swing up until it’s level with your shoulders.) Sink into a squat as you allow the dumbbell to fall, with control, then back to starting position.
Side step with knee raise. A step bench is ideal for this exercise. If you don’t have one, find a substitute such as a stack of sturdy books with a towel on top.
- Stand a few feet to the left of a medium-height step. Place your hands on your hips. Step your right leg out to the side and place it on the step, then bend your knee. Pause for one count, then press through your right heel to lift yourself onto the step, raising your left knee in front of you as you move. Step back out to return to the start and repeat. Do 12-15 on each side.
Butt Blaster™. Look for this machine in the gym! It’s one of the best glute workouts you’ll get, as it’s designed specifically for exercising hard-to-reach glute and hamstring muscles. They’re also available at sporting goods stores, if you’d like to add one to your home gym.
As with any exercise program, you’ll want to combine this rear-into-gear routine with a sensible-eating plan that consists of five to six small meals a day, starting with a healthy breakfast and lunch/dinner centered around lean protein with complex carbs. Choose nutritious snacks, such as nuts, fruits and veggies, and try to avoid processed foods as much as possible.
NPC National Figure competitor Melissa Transou, a fitness expert, wife and mother, blogs about the unique sports and nutrition needs of women and female athletes exclusively for Vitacost.com. Learn more about Melissa in this recent RXMuscle.com spotlight article, connect with her on Facebook or email her at email@example.com.