Gymnasts' Rear

Shapely buns are in, and you don’t need J-Lo’s genes to get them. These exercises sculpt and tone gluteal muscles to help you achieve a great butt, no fancy equiment required. For the best results, perform these moves every other day. It may be tempting to work your bottom more often for faster shaping, but muscles need recovery. You’ll get better workouts by giving your bum at least a day to rest in between shreddings.

Squats

The mother of all butt moves, squats are killer for your glutes and also work your quads and hamstrings for sexy legs.

  1. Start by standing with your feet spread just past your hips, arms relaxed by your sides. 
  2. Keeping your chest lifted, bend your hips and your knees to lower yourself down until your thighs parallel the floor. Your heels should remain flat on the ground, bearing most of your weight. 
  3. Hold this positon for 10 seconds.
  4. Slowly push yourself back up to starting position. Do one to two sets of 12 squats each. If these get too easy, up the resistance by holding a dumbbell in each hand.  

Lying Hip Extensions

Don’t let the reclining position fool you — these are tough! But once you see the results in your rear end, the pain will all be worth it.

  1. Lie down on your back, and bend one knee so that your foot is flat on the floor. Keep the other leg straight, and lay your arms on the ground by your sides for stability. 
  2. Lift your body up using your bent leg, keeping your extended leg straight so that it rises up in the air.
  3. Lower back down, keeping your extended leg straight throughout the exercise.
  4. Repeat for a total of 12 reps, then switch legs and perform another set.

Step-Ups

You’ll need a staircase or a sturdy box for these. In a pinch, you can always stack up large, sturdy books like encyclopedia volumes. Aim for a two-foot surface, which may mean skipping a step.

  1. Stand straight in front of your step, holding a dumbbell or a soup can in each hand.
  2. Set your right leg on top of the surface, shift your weight onto your right foot, and lift yourself up by pushing on the heel. Once you’re on top, set your left leg down next to your right.
  3. Step down, leading with your right leg. Perform 12 step-ups, then switch legs and perform another 12. Repeat for a total of two sets on each leg.

Lunges

This classic move tones your glutes, thighs and even your sides.

  1. Stand straight with your hands on your hips.
  2. Step out with your right foot, landing heel first, and lower your body by bending the front knee and hip. By the end, your rear knee should be an inch or two off of the ground.
  3. Push back up using your front leg, and repeat 12 times. Switch legs and perform another set.

Nutrition

Okay, so this one isn’t really an exercise — but a healthy diet does play an important part in building your body shape. Keep your rear firm and perky by eating sensible portions of foods like dark, leafy greens and other colorful fruits and veggies, along with whole grains and lean proteins. Keep fat to a minimum, and reserve sweets as special treats, not dietary staples.

image: baboon