Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
So sick of squats? We hear you. The key to a gravity-defying backside is introducing new exercises that tone every inch of your rear. These 9 moves from the Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises target all the muscles in your glutes and hamstrings to give you a fitter, firmer butt. Get ready to look even sexier in those skinny jeans!
MARCHING HIP RAISE
Lie faceup on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. (A) Lift one knee to your chest (B), lower back to the start, and lift your other knee to your chest. Continue to alternate back and forth.
SINGLE-LEG HIP RAISE
Lie faceup on the floor with your left knee bent and your right leg straight. Raise your right leg until it’s in line with your left thigh. (A) Push your hips upward, keeping your right leg elevated. (B) Pause, then slowly lower your body and leg back to the start position. Complete the prescribed number of repetitions with your left leg, then switch and do the same number with your right leg.
SWISS-BALL HIP RAISE AND LEG CURL
Lie faceup on the floor and place your lower legs and heels on a Swiss ball. (A) Push your hips up so that your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. (B) Without pausing, pull your heels toward you and roll the ball as close as possible to your butt. (C) Pause for 1 or 2 seconds, then reverse the motion, by rolling the ball back until your body is in a straight line. Lower your hips back to the floor.
Load the barbell and roll it against your shins. Bend at your hips and knees and grab the bar with an overhand grip, your hands just beyond shoulder width. (A) Without allowing your lower back to round, pull your torso back and up, thrust your hips forward, and stand up with the barbell. Squeeze your glutes as you perform the movement. (B) Lower the bar to the floor, keeping it as close to your body as possible.
Set a pair of dumbbells on the floor in front of you. Bend at your hips and knees, and grab the dumbbells with an overhand grip. (A) Without allowing your lower back to round, stand up with the dumbbells. (B) Lower the dumbbells to the floor.
Grab a pair of light dumbbells and stand on your left foot. (If dumbbells make this too hard, just use your body weight.) Lift your right foot behind you and bend your knee so your right leg is parallel to the floor. (A) Bend forward at your hips, and slowly lower your body as far as you can, or until your right lower leg almost touches the floor. (B) Pause, then push your body back to the starting position. If this exercise is too difficult, let the toes of your shoe rest on the floor for balance instead of raising the foot of your non-working leg.
SINGLE-ARM DUMBBELL SWING
Grab a dumbbell with an overhand grip and hold it in front of your waist at arm’s length. (You can also do the exercise while holding the dumbbell with both hands.) Bend at your hips and knees and lower your torso until it forms a 45-degree angle to the floor. Swing the dumbbell between your legs. (A) Keeping your arm straight, thrust your hips forward, straighten your knees, and swing the dumbbell up to chest level as you rise to standing position. (B) Now squat back down as you swing the dumbbell between your legs again. Swing the weight back and forth forcefully.
Lie on your left side on the floor, with your hips and knees bent 45 degrees. Your right leg should be on top of your left leg, your heels together. (A) Keeping your feet in contact with each other, raise your right knee as high as you can without moving your pelvis. (B) Pause, then return to the starting position. Don’t allow your left leg to move off the floor.
Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them at arm’s length at your sides. Stand in front of a bench or step and place your left foot firmly on the step, high enough that your knee is bent 90 degrees. (A) Press your left heel into the step and push your body up until your left leg is straight and you’re standing on one leg on the bench, keeping your right foot elevated. (B) Lower back down until your right foot touches the floor. Complete the prescribed number of reps with your left leg, then do the same number with your right leg.