Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,
I need an exercise to firm my behind. I want a beautiful butt. Is there an exercise that actually works?
Dr. Porcari's study, commissioned by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), found the most effective exercises for firming buttocks are: 1. Quadruped Hip Extensions, 2. Step-Ups, 3. Lunges, and 4. Squats. The ACE recommends performing one set per exercise. All four exercises are explained below in the order that is recommended. The ACE points out that besides a beautiful butt, that you will also have a strong back (Porcari cited in ACE, 2005).
ACE Lists Best Butt Exercises (www.acefitness.org)
ACE Trainer Keli Roberts 15 Minute Exercise Routine for Lower Body (Anders, 2008):
Squats (Warm-up) - Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your hips and knees inline. Slightly contract your abdominals to stabilize your torso and spine and slowly bend the knees and lower your body like you're sitting down in a chair. Lower your butt until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Slowly return to start. Repeat for 15 reps.
1. Lunges - Hold a dumbbell in each hand, standing tall with good posture. Step forward with the right foot, keeping the head up and spine neutral. Drop your left knee toward the floor by bending knees, making sure to keep the front heel down and the knee directly over the center of the foot. Push down and forward through your heel to return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side, alternating for eight to 12 reps per side.
2. Quadruped Hip Extensions - On your hands and knees, slightly contract your abdominals to stabilize your torso and spine. Lift one leg up, keeping the knee bent at 90 degrees. Lift the leg until the bottom of the foot is pointing toward the ceiling and the leg is lined up with the body. Repeat on the same side for eight to 12 reps. Before changing legs, do the Step-Up #3.
3. Step-Up - Stand with good posture behind a tall step or box [approximately 15 inches (38 cm) high] while holding a dumbbell in each hand. Place your left foot on top and transfer your weight to that leg. Push down with your left foot (especially the heel), straightening your leg, to come up on top of the box. Use the left leg only; keep the right leg passive, especially as you initiate the step-up. Repeat for eight to 12 reps on the same side, then change legs and start with the quadruped exercise on the other side.
4. Single-Leg Squat - Stand on a box or bench with your weight on your left leg and your right leg hanging off the side. Bend the weight-bearing knee and lower while pushing the hips back. Push down through the heel to come up. Repeat for eight to 12 reps and change sides. If you are exercising outside, you can use a park bench or a low wall.
For more information, see www.acefitness.org