The Trainer: Celeb personal trainer Ashley Borden, author of Your Perfect Fit
Why This Move is Awesome: This exercise gives glutes an intense workout because the muscles in your working leg are supporting most of your bodyweight, says Borden. Bonus: Your inner thigh on the outstretched leg gets a bit of a workout as well. To get the most out of this move, focus on keeping your stretched leg contracted and keeping your foot flat against the ground without letting your ankle roll, she says.
How to Do It: Hold a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length next to your sides, your palms facing each other (A). Lift your right foot and take a big step to your right as you push your hips backward and lower your body by dropping your hips and bending your right knee (B). Pause, then quickly push yourself back to the starting position. That’s one rep.
The Trainer: John Romaniello, owner of RomanFitnessSystems.com
Why This Move is Awesome: It utilizes hip flexion, a hinging movement that’s key in creating a sexy butt, says Romaniello. When performing this exercise, keep your glutes flexed the entire time and exhale as you push your hips up. For even more impact, squeeze your glutes super-tight at the top of the movement, he says.
How to Do It: Lie faceup on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor (A). Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees (B). Pause for up to five seconds in the up position, then lower your body back to the starting position. That’s one rep.
Why This Move is Awesome: When performing butt workouts, people sometimes compensate for a weak leg by putting more weight on their stronger leg, says Cosgrove. But with this exercise, all of your weight is focused on one leg, which helps you get a stronger butt on both sides. During this movement, focus on pushing your hips back towards the wall behind you as you lower the weight, she says. As you come back up, really concentrate on keeping your butt flexed and tight.
How to Do It: Grab a barbell with an overhand grip that’s just beyond shoulder width, and hold it at arm’s length in front of your hips. Balance on one leg (A). Without changing the bend in your knees, bend at your hips and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor (B). Pause, then raise your torso back to the starting position. That’s one rep. Complete the prescribed number of repetitions with the same leg, then do the same number on your other leg.
The Trainer: Tony Gentilcore, a certified personal trainer and strength and conditioning specialist, and co-founder of Cressey Performance in Hudson, Massachusetts
Why This Move is Awesome: Gentilcore says he likes this move because it’s super simple, and because it engages your glutes from the start of the movement to the finish. Plus, it’s a great option for those who are concerned about their backs because it doesn’t put any weight on your spine, says Gentilcore. To really feel this move, make sure you finish each rep by squeezing your butt while you’re in the standing position, he says.
How to Do It: Attach a rope handle to the low pulley of a cable machine. Grab an end of the rope in each hand and stand with your back to the weight stack. Bend at your hips and knees and lower your torso until it’s at about a 45-degree angle to the floor (A). Thrust your hips forward and raise your torso back to the starting position (B). That’s one rep.
The Trainer: BJ Gaddour, certified strength training and conditioning specialist and author of the Men’s Health book Your Body is Your Barbell
Why This Move is Awesome: This move utilizes your hips to tighten your glutes, which can be really helpful if you have knee problems, says Gaddour. The contraction of your glutes while you extend them by stepping up (a.k.a. eccentric stress) helps get your butt toned faster because it puts more stress on your muscles. Remember to keep your back tall and straight to protect your spine while doing this move, he says.
How to Do It: Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them at arm’s length at your sides. Stand behind a bench or step, and place your left foot firmly on the step (A). The step should be high enough that your knee is bent 90 degrees. Press your left heel into the step and push your body up until your left leg is straight and you’re standing on one leg on the bench, keeping your right foot elevated (B). Lower you body back down until your right foot touches the floor. That’s one rep. Complete the prescribed number of repetitions with your left leg, then do the same number with your right leg.
The Trainer: Strength and conditioning coach Mike Boyle, owner of Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning in Woburn, Massachusetts
Why This Move is Awesome: The swinging motion is a powerful hip extension. It mimics jumping, which is also great for butts, says Boyle. When performing this exercise, make sure that you’re not just squatting, because that takes away the thrusting/swinging motion that’s so good for your butt, he says.
How to Do It: Grab a kettlebell with an overhand grip and hold it in front of your waist at arm’s length. Bend at your hips and knees and lower your torso until it forms a 45-degree angle to the floor. Swing the kettlebell between your legs (A). Keeping your arm straight, thrust your hips forward, straighten your knees and swing the kettlebell up to chest level as you rise to standing position (B). That’s one rep. Now squat back down as you swing the kettlebell between your legs again. That’s one rep. Swing the weight back and forth forcefully.
Article originally published on womenshealthmag.com