When it comes to firming and toning, the butt can be the final frontier. Many women consider their tush their biggest trouble spot when it comes to trying to lose fat.
The problem is the amount of time we spend parked on our rear ends. We once spent our days squatting and standing in the fields, literally working our butts off, but now we sit in front of computer screens, steering wheels, and TVs. And our butts have adapted by giving us bigger, softer cushions to sit on.
What's more, the back end is the female body's fuel pantry. It's where your body stores the fat reserves to draw on when babies need nourishment and food is scarce. Because it serves such an important function, that fat can be stubborn and is often the last to budge.
But don't despair if your back end is a particularly troublesome spot; creating a strong, jiggle-free butt is not impossible. By including a few glute-specific exercises in your training regimen, you can make a visible difference in a short amount of time, especially if you also step up your fat-burning aerobic activity, which helps thin out the fat layer on top of your newly firmed buttocks. And a firm, flab-free butt does more than just sit pretty in your jeans. It gives you the strength to bound up stairs, play tag with your kids, and excel in every sport you play.
Lift, Shape, and Contour
The following exercises are designed to target the gluteal muscles, or the "glutes." These muscles include the gluteus maximus, which makes up the roundest, fullest part of the butt and the lower butt; the gluteus medius, which runs along the outside of the butt and hip area; and the gluteus minimus, which sits between the medius and the maximus.
If you're brand new to weight training, incorporate one or two of these exercises into a full-body routine. If you already work out but want a firmer rear, tack on a few of these exercises to your routine. Start with one set of 10 to 12 repetitions and work up to two sets of 12 to 15. Rest for 20 seconds between sets.
What to Expect
Expect your butt to burn. Start slowly, and gradually build your reps and sets so that you don't become too sore right from the start.
Your back is an important stabilizer during many of these exercises, and you don't want to put too much stress on it. Start with a very light weight or no weight at all until you have the motions down. Perform the exercises slowly, using your muscles, not momentum, to do the work. Keep your back flat and in a neutral position, and avoid any arching or hunching during the exercises.
Perform the exercises 2 or 3 days a week (just not on consecutive days; your muscles need a rest), and you'll feel significantly stronger after just 3 to 6 weeks. After 6 to 8 weeks, you'll start seeing and feeling an improvement in your butt's firmness and appearance.