Firming your buttocks will get you the butt of your dreams. The best exercises for toning the glutes (butt muscles) were studied by The La Crosse Exercise and Health Program, according to the article “Glutes To The Max” by Mark Anders in the January 2006 issue of ACE FitnessMatters. Incorporating these exercises into your workout routine will help you reach your butt-toning goals.
Quadriceps Hip Extensions
Anders shows that quadriceps hip extensions engage the primary butt muscles (gluteus maximus and gluteus minimus) more than any other exercise tested by the La Crosse Exercise and Health Program. To perform a quadriceps hip extension, start on your hands and knees. Support your torso and spine by tightening your abdominal muscles. Keep your head in line with your body. Lift your right foot off the ground until the bottom of it faces the ceiling, aligning the upper part of the leg with the torso. Keep your knee bent to a 90-degree angle throughout the movement. Lower your knee back down to the floor, without letting it tough. Complete eight to 12 repetitions before switching to the left side.
Step-ups also engage the gluteus maximus and gluteus minimus, according to Anders. To perform a step-up, you will need a stool, step or other sturdy object that you can step onto. The most effective “step” allows you to step up 12 to 15 inches. Place your right foot squarely onto the step. Transfer your weight to your right foot as you push down through its heel, and raise your body to the height of the step. Anders recommends performing 12 repetitions on the right side before switching to the left. When performing this exercise, form means more than step height, advises the Mayo Clinic. Therefore, start with a lower step if you need to. Keep your abdominals tight throughout the motion to stabilize your torso and spine. Always keep your movements controlled and smooth.
The traditional squat may be the exercise that will give you the best butt, according to the study discussed by Anders. To perform a squat, stand with your feet shoulder width apart or slightly farther. Stabilize your torso and spine by contracting your abdominals. Slowly bend your knees, hips and ankles as though you were going to sit in a chair. The Mayo Clinic advises that you lower yourself as far as you comfortably can without arching or flattening your back. Aim to lower yourself until your knees form a 90-degree angle. Keep your knees centered over your feet on the way down. Do not let your knees go forward, past your toes, or to roll inward or outward. Try to accomplish 12 to 15 squats per set. Continue doing sets until you feel tired. Keep your movement throughout each repetition controlled and smooth.
About this Author
Kimberly Wonderly writes from her home in Bradford, Pa. She began her writing career as a sophomore at Slippery Rock University. She wrote a weekly fitness article for the “Rocket” and had nutritional articles published in the “Rock World Magazine.” Wonderly received a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise science in 2001.