4 tips for a toned butt

Want a butt that looks good in everything from jeans and pencil skirts to shorts and a swimsuit? Try these four simple tips for a toned butt

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toned butt

How to tone your butt

To lift, shape and tone your gluteals-a.k.a. butt muscles-burn off unwanted fat on and around your butt with cardio, and incorporate strength exercises targeted to your backside. Go for multi-joint moves like lunges and squats, plus more isolated exercises to help shape the muscles in your glutes.

To get started, try this butt-toning workout, developed by a certified fitness instructor. Since each move is unilateral-meaning it works one side of the body at a time-this routine helps you zero in on working your butt (not to mention your core, hips and thighs) from all angles.

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cute butt

The workout plan

Try these exercises at home or the gym with just your body weight. Aim to complete one to two sets of about 15 repetitions per side. Once you can easily do up to 15 reps, step up your workouts and sculpt butt muscles even more by holding dumbbells or a weighted bar for added resistance.

Do the routine three times a week on nonconsecutive days. With a five minute warm-up and five minute post-workout stretch, the entire routine takes under 20 minutes (or less if you do just one set).

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1. Stationary lunges with hip extension

In addition to toning your legs, lunges work the butt, and adding a hip extension-where you lift your leg up and behind you after each lunge-targets the butt even more.

With feet hip-width apart, step right leg behind you, balancing on the ball of your foot, right heel up. Bend both legs, lowering toward the floor into a lunge. As you return to standing, lift your right foot off the floor, leg straight and toe rotated slightly out. Squeeze your butt, holding your leg in the air for three seconds. Return right foot to floor; complete set before repeating on the other side.

Tip: Make sure your feet are far enough apart so your front knee stays aligned over your ankle as you lower yourself into the lunge.

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step class

2. Step-ups

Stand with a sturdy bench or fitness step (with two to four risers) on your right. Place your right foot on the step, leg bent, left foot on the floor. With abs tight, straighten your right leg, pulling yourself up using just your right leg and butt muscles. Return to starting position and complete set; switch sides.

To help target the butt, imagine pressing your heel firmly into the step each time you lift yourself up.

Tip: Stand tall and avoid leaning forward as you step up.

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3. Unilateral squats

Like the other single-leg exercises in this routine, doing a one-legged squat helps you concentrate on the muscles you’re working, so you get faster results.

Stand with feet hip-with apart, then lift your right heel off the floor so you’re balancing on your left foot and right toes. Bend your legs to do a squat, lowering yourself toward the floor, chest open and facing forward. Return to standing and complete the set; switch sides.

Tip: To help protect your knees, sit back and down as if sitting into a chair that’s behind you. For less intensity, do the squat using both legs together.

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4. Bridge with leg lift

Lifting your leg as you do this bridge exercise helps to isolate your butt muscle on the leg that’s still touching the floor.

Lie face-up with legs bent, feet on the floor and arms at your sides. Tighten your abs, lifting your hips off the floor. Next, raise your right foot off the floor, straightening your leg in the air and keeping both hips level with each other. Hold for three seconds; return foot and hips to floor. Repeat, alternating the leg lift on each side.

Tip: To avoid over-arching your back, keep abs tight throughout the exercise.

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