Prolonged periods of sitting, inefficient movement patterns, inactivity, and genetics can all play a role in the shape of your derriere.
Here is an all-star cast of the best exercises to turn your behind into one of your best assets. And best of all, they can be done within the comfort of your own home.
These five exercises should be done in a circuit, meaning, complete all repetitions of Exercise 1, and then immediately perform all reps of Exercise 2. Continue on through exercises 3, 4, and 5 before taking a one-minute rest period. Then start again from the top. You’ll repeat all 5 exercises, 30 repetitions each, in a row, for 5 rounds.
The crown jewel of this band of buttock-beautifiers is the squat.
- Stand with feet hip-distance apart, feet pointed forward, thigh bones turned out.
- Sit back first with the hips, as if you’re about to sit in a chair.
- Sit back and down far enough so the thigh bones are parallel to the floor. Make sure your knees are behind your toes. If you glance down briefly, you should be able to see your shoelaces.
- From the side, you should resemble a lightning bolt, meaning spine and shins should be held at the same angle, at about 45 degrees.
- Once you’ve reached full depth in your squat, pause at the bottom for two counts before pressing down through the heels to finish in a standing position.
Do 30 reps.
For this one, you’ll need an elevated surface. Nothing fancy. A chair, the seat of your couch, a handy stair will do. Something that is somewhere between midcalf and knee level in height.
- Place your left foot on top of the elevated surface and hop the right foot forward about two feet, far enough forward so that at the bottom of the movement, the front knee will be bent at 90-degrees and will not cross your toes.
- Once you are set up and feel stable, lower your body by bending both knees to the point where your front thighbone is parallel to the floor.
Do 15 reps on each leg.
Cook Hip Lift
Named after its creator, physical therapy guru Gray Cook, the Cook hip lift not only activates the glutes, but also relieves tight hip flexors, a common culprit in low back pain.
- Start by lying face-up on the floor or a mat. Bend both knees so the feet are on the ground about 12 inches from your hips.
- Draw your left knee toward your chest and clasp both hands around the elevated leg just under the kneecap, on top of the shin.
- Next, keeping tension through the arms and back, drive down through the right heel still on the floor, sending the hips up toward the ceiling.
- Pause briefly at the height of the movement before lowering back down with control.
- You should expect to feel fatigue, not only in the glutes, but also in your back, arms, and abs.
Do 15 reps on each side.
The reverse hyper-extension is a glute-isolation exercise that will engage the upper muscles of your rear end. This move will get the back pockets of your jeans to fit just a little higher and tighter.
- Lie with your pelvis on top of a ball or face down on the floor or a mat.
- Keeping both legs straight and spine neutral, use the glute muscles to lift both legs smoothly off of the floor toward the ceiling.
- Gently lower them back down to the floor.
Do 30 reps.
Bubble Text: Follow this move with the child’s pose or the standing forward fold as a counter stretch for your low back if it feels tight.
Similar to reverse hyper-extension, froggers are also executed face down, but only on the floor or a mat. Another difference for this one is that the hamstrings get a workout along with the glutes.
- Lie face down and bend both legs at 90-degrees.
- Keep the knees separated at about hip distance and press the heels together. This will activate more muscle fibers of the hip complex, especially the inner thighs.
- Keeping pressure between the heels as well as a neutral spine, press the soles of the feet flat toward the ceiling.
- Pause briefly squeezing the glutes before lowering back down to starting position.
Do 30 reps.
Lindsay Laidlaw, CPT, is a Manhattan-based personal trainer. Her national certifications include NCSF, AFAA, L1 Kettlebell Athletics, Mad Dog Athletics, and prenatal and postnatal personal training. She is a former fitness competitor and is currently earning her Precision Nutrition Coaching certification. Contact her at ElysiumFitness.net