New year, new you! And that includes a firmer, rounder butt. You don’t need to be a gym fanatic to get a perkier backside. In fact, some of these exercises can be performed at home. What are some of the most effective exercises to shape up your derriere?
Squats are known to be excellent booty-shapers - and let’s face it, they’re very effective. Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees and squat down, like you’re going to sit in a chair. On it’s own, this exercise can work wonders. But adding some weights - or a jump - will only increase its awesomeness. Aim to do about 12-reps.
2. The Wide Squat
A twist on the traditional (and oh-so-effective) squat exercise, this extra-wide squat also targets your glutes while toning your thighs. Get into a wide stance, keeping about 20-inches between your heels, and point your toes out slightly. Bend your knees, keeping your shoulders over your hips. Ensure that your weight is always on your heels, and that your knees don’t move past your toes during this exercise. For an extra challenge, use dumbbells.
A sturdy bench or chair will help you to complete this butt-toning exercise. Simply put one foot firmly on the bench, with the other on the floor directly under your hip. Step up, straightening your bent leg and bringing both feet completely onto the bench. Slowly re-bend your knee, lowering the ball of your other foot toward the floor. Add a kick, or pick up some weights for a little extra challenge. Once you’ve completed 15-20 reps, switch legs.
4. Lying Hamstring Curl
While lying on your back with an exercise ball under your heels, push your hips up into a bridge position. Get comfortable - you’re going to be holding this position through the entire exercise. Keep your arms at your side for support. Slowly roll the ball toward your body using your heels, and without moving your hips. Return to the starting position to complete one rep.
5. Plank Leg Lifts
This challenging exercise works your core while also targeting your backside. Grab an exercise ball and walk your hands out so the ball is underneath your shins (for added difficulty, work on keeping just your feet on the ball). Your hands should be directly underneath your shoulders. Engage your abs and keep your spine straight as you lift one leg in the air, slowly lowering it toward the ball without touching it. This is one rep. Complete about 10-12 reps on one leg before moving on to the other leg.
6. Pretzel Side Kick
Starting in a seated position, bend your right knee directly in front of your hip, and left knee behind your left hip. Rotate your body slightly so that you're able to comfortably place your hands on either side of your right knee. Engage your core as you lift your left knee and foot off the floor, keeping your chest elevated. Extend your leg to kick, keeping it parallel to the floor. Bend your left knee and return it to the floor. That’s one rep. Complete about 20 reps before moving to the opposite side.
7. Lunges (with Arm Reach)
Most of us know lunges are great for your butt, but did you know that reaching forward with the arms can add extra emphasis on your glutes? To do this exercise, begin standing tall with your feet about hip-width apart, and your arms extended in front of you about chest height. Step forward with your right foot. As you lunge, bend forward slightly at your waist, reaching with both hands about knee height. Perform equal sets of reps - about 10 - on each leg.
8. Superman Ball Lift
A stability ball increases the difficulty of the standard Superman exercise. Simply lie on your stomach, holding an exercise ball between your feet. While engaging your abdominal muscles, extend your arms straight in front of you. As you inhale, squeeze the ball and lift your knees, arms, and chest off the floor. Hold for a count of 10, and slowly release your body back to the floor. That’s one lift.
9. Single Leg Deadlift with Weights
This exercise is great for your butt - but you’re also working your hamstrings and core. Use heavy(ish) dumbbells to challenge yourself as you move through the lift. Start by holding one dumbbell in each hand, lifting one foot slightly off the ground. Keep a neutral spine as you lean forward while raising the leg (this will help to keep it in line with your body). During this process, your weights will naturally lower toward the floor. Maintain a straight back position while returning to your starting position. Do 10-12 reps, and then switch legs.
10. Lying Butt Lifts
This exercise is so simple it can be done anywhere - so there’s no excuse to skipping it. Lie on your back with your knees bent, and arms at your sides. Position your feet so they’re about hip distance apart. Slowly raise your pelvis toward the ceiling, flexing your butt at the top of the movement (when your body is at a 45-degree angle relative to the floor). Slowly return to the start position to complete one rep.