Lift your butt with these three ultra-effective exercises. (Photo by Will Mebane, graphic by Priscilla DeCastro/Yahoo Health)
If you want a lifted, firm booty, it’s not enough just to do butt exercises — you have to do the right ones. “Often, women are choosing exercises that they believe work the glutes (butt muscles), but don’t hit them in the manner they need to be trained to create change,” says women’s strength training expert Holly Perkins, author of Lift To Get Lean and founder of Women’s Strength Nation.
See, your glutes are one of the biggest and strongest muscle groups in your body. And as such, moves like leg lifts and bridges usually aren’t enough of a challenge to stimulate a change in the muscle, Perkins says. They’re good exercises as part of a warm-up, but if you really want your butt to “pop,” you need more.
Enter the Ultimate Booty-Building Workout, the latest in Yahoo Health’s new original workout series Triple Threat. Perkins specifically selected the three moves in this exercise routine to lift and build out your booty. (And if you’re just looking to firm up without adding size, we have a plan for you, too.)
Every exercise in the routine delivers the level of intensity you need to really see results. Perkins uses variations on common exercises, such as the squat and bridge, to zero in on the glute muscles and work them most effectively. For the best results, do the workout twice a week as part of a well-rounded cardio and strength-training plan.
How to do the workout:
To build a booty: Perform 10 reps of an exercise (one set) with 30 seconds rest after each set. Do four sets of each exercise. Finish all sets of one exercise before moving on to the next move. At first, just use your bodyweight, as pictured. As you become stronger, hold a dumbbell by each end near your chest as you perform each exercise. Start with a 5- or 10-pound dumbbell and work your way up to a 20-pound dumbbell, Perkins suggests.
To firm and tighten: Do 15 reps of each exercise, going from one move to the next with minimal rest. At the end of the three-exercise circuit, rest 30 seconds. Perform three rounds of the circuit.
The Ultimate Booty-Building Workout
1) Single-Leg Split Squat
The single-leg split squat is a challenging butt and leg exercise even if you’re only using your bodyweight. (Photos by Will Mebane)
How to do it: Stand with your right foot flat on the floor. Prop your left foot on a Swiss ball behind you, your shoelaces touching the top of the ball. Bend your right leg and lower your body down as far as you can. Keep your right knee behind your toes. Press with your right leg to lift your body back up. That’s one rep. Complete all of the reps on one side, then switch legs. That’s one set.
Why it works: Splitting your stance and elevating the rear leg puts most of your body weight on one side, which ups the intensity. And since you move with one foot in front of the other any time you walk or run, this is also a great functional exercise for everyday life.
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2) Hip Bridge On Swiss Ball
You’ll feel your butt muscles start to burn after only a few reps of this challenging hip bridge variation.
How to do it: Lie face-up on the ground. Bend your knees about 90 degrees and place your feet on a Swiss ball. Raise your hips so that your body forms a straight line from your chest to your knees.
Why it works: In a traditional hip bridge, your feet are flat on the ground. Elevating your feet makes your butt muscles work harder to lift your hips. The instability of the Swiss ball adds an additional challenge.
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3) Swiss Ball Wall Squat
This squat variation is especially good for targeting your butt muscles.
How to do it: Stand in front of a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Pin a Swiss ball between your back and the wall. Press into the ball and step out another foot; adjust the ball so that its midpoint hits your lower back. This is the starting position. Bend your knees and hips to lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Press your back into the ball as you move. Straighten your legs to return to the starting position. That’s one rep.
Tip: To find the right position for the Swiss ball, adjust your feet and the height of the ball when you’re in the lowest part of the exercise; your knees should be over your ankles and the ball should hit your middle to upper back.
Why it works: Most people tend to rely on their quadriceps, which are the muscles at the front of the thighs, to perform a traditional squat. This variation shifts your weight back and locks in your form so that you have to use more of your glutes.