7 booty-sculpting exercises with a bonus

Tighten and tone your butt and a few other assets with these multi-muscle moves.
© 2014 Weider Publications // © 2014 Weider Publications

Stability ball reverse extension

Your butt’s not the only part of your backside you should work. Strengthen the erector spinae, the muscles of the back, with this move for better posture—which means instant flatter belly.

How to do it: Lie face-down on a stability ball with hands and toes on the floor, hands below shoulders, and lower torso on top of the ball. Keeping legs pressed together and core engaged, slowly lift up legs until they are parallel with torso. (Avoid lifting legs higher than body, which will cause arching in lower back.) With control, lower legs to starting position. Do 15 to 20 reps.

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Glute bridge with skull crusher

This caboose-booster promotes healthier hip joints by stretching the hip flexors and strengthening the glutes, while at the same time challenging your core and tightening your triceps.

How to do it: Lie face-up with knees bent and feet flat on the floor about 12 inches away from hips, holding dumbbells. Extend arms, keeping wrists aligned with shoulders. With core engaged and spine in a neutral position, slowly tuck pelvis under, pushing into heels and lifting glutes and lower back off of the floor until hips are completely open at the top without arching back. Lower hips to hover just above the floor and bend elbows, drawing hands beside each ear. Extend arms and press up hips again. Continue, never letting hips touch the floor, for 12 to 15 reps.

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Single-arm SandBell swing

It’s hard to think of exercises that truly sculpt your entire body, but this one fits the bill and also improves grip strength and boosts aerobic capacity, all while torching some serious calories—as much as nearly 20 calories per minute, according to an American Council on Exercise study.

How to do it: Stand with feet hip-width apart holding a SandBell or kettlebell in right hand with an overhand grip. Hinge at hips, drawing the SandBell back between legs, then thrust hips forward, generating power from lower body to raise the SandBell to shoulder height. Once at shoulder height, release the SandBell momentarily mid-air, switching hands so the SandBell is now in left hand. Continue, alternating hands for 20 reps.

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Donkey kick

Also known as quadruped bent-knee hip extension (and you thought “donkey kick” was odd), this tush-toner elicits a higher degree of muscle activation in both the gluteus maximus and gluteus minimums than many other commonly performed butt exercises, according to University of Wisconsin-La Crosse researchers. It also asks more of your hamstrings so you look even better from behind in mini-skirts, short shorts and swimsuits (we know the struggle—these are the best bikini bottoms for your body type).

How to do it: Get on all fours with knees below hips and wrists below shoulders. Keeping core engaged, hips and shoulders square to the floor, right leg bent and right foot flexed, slowly lift right leg until thigh is parallel with the floor. Lower to starting position. Do 12 to 15 reps, then switch legs to complete set.

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Squat and squeeze

You won’t miss a single lower-body muscle when you blend a squat to hit your glutes, hamstrings and quads, with a calf raise and sponge ball squeeze to target your calves and inner thighs.

How to do it: Stand with feet hip-width apart, toes pointed forward and a small sponge ball placed between thighs. Keeping core engaged and spine neutral, hinge at hips, lowering down into a squat while applying gentle pressure to the ball. Slowly extend legs, rising up onto balls of feet, lifting heels for a calf raise, squeezing the ball at the top of the movement. Do 12 to 15 reps.

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Single-leg deadlift with single-arm row

This single-leg variation of one of the best lower-body strengthening exercises—the deadlift—also provides the back-sculpting (back fat is pesky—try these moves, too!) benefits of the single-arm row.

How to do it: Stand with feet together holding a dumbbell in left hand. Keeping core engaged, hinge forward at hips, lifting left foot off of the floor and extending leg behind you. Balancing on right leg, continue to bend forward and lower the dumbbell toward the floor, keeping hips and shoulders squared. Perform a single-arm row, drawing left elbow straight back until the dumbbell is in line with chest. Extend left arm and slowly stand up, returning to starting position. Do 12 to 15 reps, then switch sides to complete set.

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Dumbbell step-up

This step-up will perk up your butt, tone your thighs and give you strong shoulders to sexily top off strapless dresses.

How to do it: Stand facing a bench or step, holding dumbbells just above shoulders, palms facing in. Place right foot on the bench and push off left foot until both feet are on top of the bench. With elbows at about 11 o’clock and 1 o’clock, extend arms. Slowly lower dumbbells back to shoulders, then step right foot back onto the floor, followed by left foot. Repeat, starting with left foot. Continue, alternating feet for 16 to 20 reps.

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