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Simple Exercises to Strengthen and Shape Your Derrière

by Sárka-Jonae Miller

(The Best Years in Life) Whether it's twerking competitions or Nicki Minaj's Anaconda album cover, the world is obsessed with the booty. Although it seems everyone likes big butts these days, it's still shapely rear ends that are getting the attention. Some simple exercises can get your derrière worthy of an album cover. And if you seem to be missing some junk in your trunk, muscle-building exercises for the glutes could give your butt a fuller appearance. Strong butt muscles also improve posture and balance, and reduce the chances of injuring your back. But don't run off to the gym just yet. There is plenty to do at home.

Glute Squeezes

They may seem like a wimpy exercises but glute squeezes are crucial to a successful bootylicious workout because many people have a difficult time getting their glutes to fire. Your brain sends signals to the glutes to contract, but they won't if the connection isn't strong enough. Oftentimes, the hamstrings or lower back muscles tighten instead, thereby robbing your butt of its workout.

Stand up straight and tighten your butt. Hold the muscles tight for five seconds and relax. Repeat this at least a dozen times, take a short break, and do it again. Consider this a warmup for more difficult exercises unless you're struggling to maintain a full five-second contraction on each squeeze.

All-Fours Hip Lifts

If getting up and down off the floor is difficult for you, skip this exercise. Otherwise, put down a mat or find a piece of carpet and get on all fours. While doing hip lifts from this position, sometimes called tabletop position because your arms and legs look four table legs, it is imperative that your pelvis does not move. Imagine you have a very expensive tea set resting on your lower back. If you shift your hips, it'll come crashing down. Sucking in your abs will help, but it'll take some concentration too.

Begin by raising your right leg so that your thigh is parallel to the floor and in line with your back. Your knee should be bent at a 90-degree angle. Simply tighten your right glute and lift your leg toward the ceiling only as high as you can without sending that imaginary tea set crashing to the floor. Do 8 to 12 reps and then switch legs.

Some people may find the weight of their leg insufficient to tire out their glutes. If you're one of those people, put on a pair of 5-pound ankle weights. To focus on building bigger muscles instead of toning what you have, use a heavy enough weight that you can only do 4-8 reps per leg before your glutes give out. However, be very careful of your lower back. It is important to use your glutes and support your lower back by keeping your abs tight. Preventing your hips from shift or your back from arching will also help.

 

Plie Squats

Plie squats target the butt, quadriceps, and the inner thighs, helping to firm and lift. These squats do not require any equipment, but you can make them more challenging by adding some hand weights or holding a household object like a gallon of water if you don't have dumbbells.

To perform a plie squat, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and turn your feet so that your toes point outward. Bend your knees and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Squeeze your butt muscles and push through your heels as you stand up straight. Repeat 12-20 times and make sure that you squeeze your glutes on each rep.

For an extra challenge, hold a dumbbell against the top of each thigh or hold the handle of a water bottle in front of you with your arms hanging straight. Doing 8 to 10 reps with extra weight will build muscle.

Sculpting your derrière won't happen overnight, but with three or four butt workouts a week you'll start to notice a difference within a month. Your tush might never be photographed or featured on the small screen, but you'll certainly enjoy showing it off.

See also:

The Importance of Balance Training Exercises

Energy, Exercise and Taking Care of YOU!

How a New Workout Breakthrough, Herbal Supplements and Optimal Nutrition Can Double Athletic Performance

How Does Exercise Affect Younger People?

About the Author

Sárka-Jonae Miller is a health and fitness expert. She began working in the fitness industry in 2000 while pursuing a BS in journalism at Syracuse University. She became certified as a personal fitness trainer and group exercise instructor in 2003. She has also received training in massage therapy. Sárka also writes fiction. She is the author of the chick lit novel, Between Boyfriends. Get more health and wellness tips on Sárka's Natural Healing Tips blog or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

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