By Liz DiAlto
As we all get ready to wiggle into our (potentially too short) cut off shorts and summer’s latest swimsuit styles, having a toned and lifted bum is of utmost importance. Ya know, right up there with world peace and ending hunger. (We kid.) Level of importance aside, if you’re looking to tone and lift your derrière, here are 3 exercises to try today!
Kick Back + Fire Hydrant. Start on all fours, shoulders over wrists and hips over knees. Keeping both legs at a 90-degree angle, flex one foot and kick your heel back and up. Don’t straighten the leg. Rather, think about kicking yourself in the back of the head (but please don’t!), bending from your hip and keeping your leg at a right angle. Bring your leg back to starting position and, again keeping your knee at a fixed right angle, raise your leg out to the side, like a dog peeing on a fire hydrant. Alternate between these two movements for 15-20 reps, then switch sides and repeat. Go slow and intentionally squeeze the cheek of the side you’re working. Keep equal weight in both arms.
Split squat. This is basically a lunge with your back toe resting on an elevated surface. A higher surface will create a greater challenge (think chair or bench). For beginners, start at the bottom of a flight of a steps with your back to the stair case. Place one foot on the step behind you and step (or hop) your other foot forward so you’re in a lunge position. It’s super important here to make sure the knee of the foot on the ground (your front leg) does not cross over your toe. A marker for good positioning is that the front leg should create a 90 degree angle in the lower position. Do 15 lunges on each side. You can do this using only your body weight or hold dumb bells to make the exercise for challenging. For a more complete body workout, get other muscle groups involved by adding a bicep curl, shoulder press or a front shoulder raise to this exercise.
Squat jump. Nothing like some plyometrics to get the blood flowing into the muscles and create some serious burning. You can do these with just your body weight (which will still cause some killer burn) or you can hold dumb bells for an added challenge. Start by simply squatting down as low as you can (again, as always, keep your knees behind your toes, please) and, instead of just standing back up, burst up, jumping as high as you can. When you land (ideally softly!) don’t pause in the standing position. Rather, go right back into the squat. Do these until you literally can’t do any more and you have to stop.
3-4 sets of each of these exercises twice each week will have you well on your way to a tighter tush!
For sexier stems, see these 4 leg-toning moves too!