Booty Boot Camp
If you feel your "rear view" needs a makeover, the right fitness routine can provide a natural lift. Can you achieve the "perfect" Brazilian beach butt seen on TV? That depends partly on your body type and genetics, but most everyone can shape up to look better in jeans. Ready to take a crack at it? The following pictures show you the moves.
Behind It All: The Gluteal Muscles
The shape of the buttocks is defined by muscles known as the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus (hidden under other muscles), as well as the overlying fat. Walking, running, and climbing all work the glutes. Strength training that targets these muscles can help develop a tighter, more rounded look. Adding a few butt-busting moves to your routine may be enough to see a difference.
Squat and Tone
The squat tops every list of butt-busting exercises. It directly engages the glutes, and you can build bigger musculature by adding weights. The key is to maintain proper alignment.
Form: Keep feet parallel, shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower hips as if sitting in an invisible chair; then return to standing. Make sure your knees do not push out in front of your toes. Keep your torso tight and back straight.
Variation: Backward Lunge
When you step backward into a lunge, it works the glutes a little more intensely and adds variety to your workout. Lunges also help promote hip flexibility and proper alignment, which can suffer when people spend long hours sitting at a desk.
Form: Use the same posture as in a forward lunge, but step backward to position the lower leg. Remember not to let the front knee push out in front of your toes.
Variation: Side Lunge
The side lunge directly targets the muscle on the outside of the hips, the glutes, and tones the inner thighs, too.
Form: From a wide stance, bend one knee. Keep the shinbone under that knee vertical to the floor. If the knee falls inside the foot, use a shorter stance. Lean forward slightly, but keep your shoulders behind your knees to avoid injury. Choose a hand position that helps with balance.
Floor Work: Side Leg Raises
This move targets the two smaller muscle groups in the buttocks, the gluteus medius and minimus. Raising the leg just a few inches will work these muscles.
Form: Lift the top leg while lying on your side. Keep the hips stacked and the torso still; both knees facing forward. For a variation that works slightly different muscles, you can turn the top leg out from the hip.
Floor Work: Running Plank
In addition to challenging the gluteal muscles, running plank works the shoulders, hips, and core muscles. Do it quickly to burn calories while building muscle.
Form: Engage the abdominal muscles to protect the lower back. Spread your fingers wide to protect the wrists.