Advertising
Advertising

13 Tough But Effective Butt Exercises

13 Tough But Effective Butt Exercises

I sit most of my work day. And, while I can’t find any research to prove it, I swear my butt expands and gets flatter from all of that sitting. Most people don’t look at their own butts, but the people behind them do. Whether you think your butt is spreading, getting flabby, is too small or flat, or not, don’t take any chances. Get on board with these butt exercises and keep that view from the rear a nice one!

1. The Hip-Lift Progression

e0d8322eec6f20e1ee58cca7e915ee73

    via Pinterest.com

    All you need is a cushioned mat and yourself, so this exercise can literally be done wherever you have a large enough space to fit your mat.

    How To Do It

    1. Lie flat on your back with arms at your sides.
    2. Knees should be bent with feet flat on the floor; your feet should be about the same width apart as your shoulders.
    3. Using your legs for leverage, lift your entire torso up off the mat.
    4. Hold that position. You will feel your glutes tightening.
    5. Now lift one leg up off the mat and extend it out straight.
    6. Move the outstretched leg up, keeping it straight. You will feel even more pull on your glutes — this is a good thing.
    7. Hold the leg up for a slow count of five, then slowly return it to its original position.
    8. Alternate these leg lifts. Note: When you first begin this exercise, you may not be able to hold the raised torso position for long. This is fine. Slowly lower your body to the mat, rest, and start again.
    9. As you continue to do this exercise, you will be able to hold the raised position longer and will be able to do more of the leg lifts. Be patient.

    Benefits

    • This exercise has the added benefit of relieving the tension in your back that accumulates during the day.
    • It also makes the muscles more flexible, which should reduce back pain in the future.

    Another variation of this one is to lie with both legs outstretched and your feet against a wall. Keeping those feet on that wall, lift your entire torso up to your shoulders. Hold that position for as long as you can and then slowly lower your body down to a flat position. You will not be raising your legs during this one, but both legs will be raise as you place those feet against the wall. You’ll feel this one in your glutes, even into the next day.

    2. The Step-Up Butt Exercise

    b51dabfe_Chair-Step-Ups.xxxlarge

      via Popsugar.com

      Step-ups absolutely work your butt, especially if it is “droopy” (thanks, gravity). These can be done anywhere you find a sturdy chair, coffee table, or bench.

      How To Do It

      1. Stand directly in front of the chair, table, or bench.
      2. Step up onto the object with one foot.
      3. Bring the other foot up, but do not set it down on the object. Instead, bend your knee and hold that leg up.
      4. Step back down slowly — this pulls on those glutes just as much as the step up does.
      5. Alternate the leg you use for the first step-up movement.
      6. Once this becomes easy for you, raise the level of tension by holding small weights in your hands — begin with 5 lbs. and gradually increase.

      Benefits

      • The stepping up and stepping down backwards will improve your balance.
      • You can also do this exercise a bit faster and increase that heart rate for a cardio workout.
      • If you climb or bike, step-ups help your body prepare for hills.

      3. Basic Squat

      Advertising

      Mastering-Basic-Squat

        via Popsugar.com

        There are so many different types of squats! For your posterior, any of the myriad variations will work. You can start with simple, less rigorous types and progress as you toughen up.

        How To Do It

        Begin with the basic squat:

        1. Stand straight and put your hands behind your head.
        2. Your feet should be apart, about the distance of your shoulders.
        3. Keeping your back straight, lean forward as you bend your knees and thighs.
        4. Don’t arch your back, but push your butt out, as if you were going to sit down in a chair.
        5. Keep your weight on the heels of your feet as you bend.
        6. Slowly raise up and repeat.
        7. Both the down and the up movements should be slow. That movement is what pulls and strengthens those glute muscles.

        Benefits

        There are some amazing overall health benefits to squats.

        • They will increase the release of hormones.
        • You will have improved flexibility, and that will help reduce future injuries.
        • You will improve your balance.

        There are 30 or so variations of squats, all of which will help shape and tone your butt.

        4. Squats with Weights

        Basic-Dumbbell-Squat

          via Popsugar.com

          The steps of this exercise are the same as those for the basic squat, but you will want to add weights incrementally.

          How To Do It

          1. Assume the basic squat position.
          2. Hold the weights in your hands with your elbows bent so that the weights are at about chin level.
          3. Keep your arms in the same position throughout the exercise.

          An additional benefit to this type of squat is that you will feel more of a pull in your butt and in your stomach as well. Using weight with your squats will strengthen those stomach muscles.

          Advertising

          5. Sumo Squat

          Sumo-Squat

            via Popsugar.com

            So-named because it is the starting position of a sumo wrestler.

            How To Do It

            1. Space your legs much farther apart than with a basic squat.
            2. Point your feet outward.
            3. Bend your elbows and clasp your hands in front of your chest.
            4. Slowly bend down, keeping feet firmly planted. You will feel a stronger pull on your butt in this position.

            Benefits

            • There will be greater pull on your stomach muscles.
            • This exercise is also great for tightening up those inner thighs — you’ll certainly feel it.

            6. Deep Squat

            Deep-Squat-Weights

              via Popsugar.com

              Once you have the basic squat mastered, you can make it harder by adding more weight.

              How To Do It

              1. Stand in the basic starting pose for a squat.
              2. Hold a single weight (8-10 lbs. or more) with both hands.
              3. Squat as deeply as you can, but do not rest the weight on the floor at any time.
              4. Again, lower yourself and raise yourself back up very slowly to get the most benefit.

              Benefits

              • You will find that your outer thighs, your abdomen, and your butt will all benefit.

              7. Single Leg Squat

              single

                via MuscleandFitness.com

                Here’s one you can do at the office all day long, every time you get up and down from your chair.

                Advertising

                How To Do It

                1. From a sitting position, extend your arms out in front of you.
                2. Straighten your back.
                3. With both feet on the floor, raise one foot.
                4. Rise to a standing position, slowly.
                5. Squeeze your butt cheeks as you rise.
                6. Try not to lean forward — the more you do, the less pull on those glutes.
                7. Sit back down in the same way you stood up — back straight and still holding one foot up.

                Benefits

                • This exercise requires good balance. If you don’t have great balance, you will when you master this squat.
                • Posture is improved if these are carried out several times a day.

                And while you are sitting in that chair all day? You can continue to work those glutes if you take just a few seconds to squeeze them every hour or so. You can do the same thing while driving your car or watching TV at home. All of those squeezes will really tighten things up over time.

                8. Barbell Squats

                Barbell-Squat-Press-1024x700

                  via OxygenMag.com

                  Adding weight to squats increases friction, and increasing friction tightens and tones faster.

                  How To Do It

                  1. Perform a basic squat.
                  2. While in the squatting position, pick up your bar with your hands about shoulder width apart.
                  3. Slowly rise to a standing position with your bar held at your shoulders.
                  4. Raise the bar above your head until your arms are fully extended.
                  5. Bring the bar back down to your shoulders and slowly squat again.
                  6. Repeat this until you are feeling some pain. Over time, the number you can do will increase, as will the amount of weight you can lift.

                  Benefits

                  • You will tone and strengthen your abs, as well as your upper arms and shoulders.

                  9. Single Wall Leg Lunge

                  03-iso-wall-squat

                    via WomensHealthMag.com

                    While this exercise works many muscles, it is especially good for the butt. It can be done with or without handheld weights, and the only other thing you need is a wall.

                    How To Do It

                    1. Stand with your back to a wall.
                    2. Raise one leg behind you and place the ball of that foot on the wall. Place it as high as is comfortable for now. As you gain flexibility, you will be able to raise that leg higher.
                    3. Push off the wall and lunge forward, keeping hands on your hips and the ball of your foot still firmly planted on that wall.
                    4. Alternate legs.
                    5. Do 2-3 sets a day and you’ll see great results in just a few short weeks.

                    Benefits

                    • If you are looking for a way to tighten those upper thighs, this is it.
                    • Your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and core will all get a great stretching workout, and that stretching increases their flexibility.
                    • Your balance will be improved.

                    10. Plie

                    Lower-Body-Wide-Squat-Calf-Raise

                      via Popsugar.com

                      Advertising

                      Remember those ballet lessons as a child? Well you probably didn’t know then that those plies were one of the best ways to keep your butt tight and toned. As you can see from this image, this is similar to the sumo squat because the legs are far apart. However, from there, things are different.

                      How To Do It

                      1. Stand next to a barre and grab it with your nearest hand. If you have great balance, you can try this without the barre.
                      2. Put your free hand on your hip.
                      3. Keep your back fully straight — looking straight ahead will help.
                      4. Spread your feet as wide apart as you are able.
                      5. Point your feet outward so your knees follow in that direction.
                      6. Raise up on your toes and squat slowly, hold, and then slowly rise back up. It is the slow movement up and down that really tightens and tones the glutes.

                      Benefits

                      • You will be strengthening your calves, hamstrings, and inner and outer thighs, giving them more flexibility.
                      • This is a great exercise for posture.

                      11. Floor Jacks

                      8126b102_pilates_swimming.xxxlarge

                        via Popsugar.com

                        Remember the jumping jacks you used to do in PE class? Maybe you still do them for their aerobic benefits. Here is a great variation of a jumping jack on your tummy that will tighten up that butt in no time.

                        How To Do It

                        1. Lie flat on your tummy — a mat is a good idea.
                        2. Raise your arms straight out above your head.
                        3. Spread your legs to about the width of your shoulders.
                        4. Raise your arms and head up at the same time that you raise your legs up.
                        5. Keep your toes pointed.
                        6. Now, do the jumping jack movement with your arms and legs. They should remain stiff and straight at all times.

                        Benefits

                        • This exercise strengthens and tones the inner and outer thighs.
                        • Your upper arms and shoulders will be stretched and your flexibility will increase.

                        12. Quadruped Hip Extensions

                        de33d9fe-77b8-11e3-_501786b

                          via OperationShape.com

                          This exercise has been shown by research to give you the most “bang for your buck” on that butt. In terms of tightening and toning those muscles, nothing could be better.

                          How To Do It

                          1. Get on all fours.
                          2. Palms should be flat on the floor and arms straight.
                          3. Keep your head straight and in line with your spine.
                          4. Raise one leg as high as you can, keeping the knee bent. Hold it. Bring it back down.
                          5. Repeat with the same leg several times before moving to the other.
                          6. Variations include adding weight to the inside of the knee, or using a band around the ankles to create more friction.
                          7. Another variation is to raise the leg to the side, like a male dog who is peeing, and raise that bent leg up and down slowly.

                          Benefits

                          • As you raise each leg up, you will also be pulling on the hamstring.
                          • If you raise the leg to the side, you will strengthen and tone your inner thighs.

                          13. Rear Raisers

                          bbf050

                            via Prevention.com

                            This exercise is specifically for that saggy butt.

                            How To Do It

                            1. Assume the same position as for the quadruped hip extension.
                            2. While in that position, move one leg across the underside of your body so that the foot is pointing in the opposite direction of the side it came from.
                            3. Extend the other leg straight back, keeping it off the floor. Hold.
                            4. Raise that outstretched leg up and down slowly, tapping your toes on the floor and then raising back up.
                            5. Squeeze your butt cheeks each time you bring your leg up.
                            6. Remember not to arch your back.

                            Benefits

                            • The leg that is outstretched and moving will have its hamstring stretched.
                            • The lower back muscles are also stretched, giving them great flexibility. With flexibility comes fewer episodes of back pain.

                            More by this author

                            20 Things Only Parents Of Children With Dyslexia Would Understand 22 Creative Ways to Make Money (Simple and Effective) 9 Simple Tips to Make Your WordPress Blog Faster 10 Strategies to Reduce And Repay Your College Debt 7 Simple Ways to Start Doing Social Good Today

                            Trending in Exercise

                            1 8 Yoga Poses to Help You Achieve Strong and Toned Inner Thighs 2 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly) 3 3 Home Exercises To Fix Your Rounded Shoulders In One Month 4 Workout Every Day: Thursday Music Playlist 5 Cut down on drinking! Time for a post-holiday detox

                            Read Next

                            Advertising
                            Advertising
                            Advertising

                            Published on January 17, 2020

                            How to Learn Yoga (The Beginner’s Guide)

                            How to Learn Yoga (The Beginner’s Guide)

                            If you think yoga can be learned on the mat, you’re wrong! To learn yoga is to learn yourself, your life and the world around you, which happens mostly off the mat.

                            Since 2000, I study, practice, teach and live yoga – I grow with it from year to year – hence life becomes more interesting and more meaningful from year to year, too. Through all these years, I observe the evolution of yoga in the western culture and see, how (mostly) wrongly, has been interpreted, taught and practiced. Little is known about how to learn yoga – about its practice, its effect and its application. Yoga is all about finding the simplicity and the meaning in the complexity of life.

                            But when we look around us, it doesn’t seem so simple, even for those who practice it, and for the most who teach it. Everything about yoga begins in its definition from the original yogic scripture Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.[1]

                            And the value for how to learn yoga, is in this article – showing the value of the above definition and how to practice it in the simplest way, effectively and efficiently.

                            What is Yoga?

                            Yoga-Citta-Vrtti-Hirodhah — and its translation is: Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations arising within consciousness.

                            The 195 Sutras, that the original yoga scripture consists of, are written in a strongly compressed manner with the idea to deliver a profound meaning and a lot of space for interpretation. However, the interpreter must be highly serious and competent, otherwise the interpretation will drastically deviate from what the message conveys.

                            When the definition about yoga is interpreted and applied the right way, it tells us how yoga is to be practiced and explored. To start the right way, we must know the right destination of yoga, which is Kaivalya:[2] The union between you, the other and the world.

                            Let’s see how to do that:

                            Beginning with the famous mainstream slogan “Union of Body, Mind and Soul”, brings up the question, “How to reunite the body, mind and soul?”

                            Advertising

                            Your feelings – created by outside stimuli result in the creation of thoughts, hence there’s connection between your body and mind. That’s easy to understand, right?

                            Now this connection and the thoughts must serve and improve the mind, making it capable to 1) understand the soul and 2) to unite it with the body and mind. That’s where our journey towards the goal of yoga (Samadhi) is interrupted – making the main part of the union not easy to understand, even less so to accomplish.

                            Yoga is More Spiritual than Physical

                            This is what makes yoga more spiritual than physical. To put it in numbers, yoga is 97% of psychological, philosophical and spiritual nature and only some 3% of physiological, considering that there are only seven out of 195 Sutras referring physiologically to sitting and breathing, of which I talked in my earlier post on Yoga For men.

                            But before experiencing any spirituality from yoga, there is the mental (emotional) part that needs to be mastered and that part is to establish a connection between the body and mind. How?

                            The simple thought and realization that you are conscious of how you feel within your body (cold, warm, relaxed, depressed, anxious, happy and so on), means that you have made the union between your body and mind. (below the step by step exercise for that).

                            But to establish a connection to your soul – to the finest part of yourself – the Self:

                            You must find out (through thinking) what is the subtlest thing that drives your body and mind – yourself as an individual and use that driver to go pass beyond your physicality and mentality.

                            It is right here that you use the definition about yoga and the realization – the moment, where you are not analyzing any thoughts or feelings. This is a state of Yoga – a state of union between body, mind and soul, in which your consciousness has ceased to identify with its fluctuations.

                            Yoga as Creativity and Expertise of the Individual

                            In such a case, there is no specific (like beginners, intermediate or advanced) technique for learning yoga. The moment of the state of yoga arises for everyone of us in an individual way as everybody’s physique and mental content are different. You might be very well advanced in performing the most difficult asanas for decades but still unable and incompetent to be in a state of union with your body, mind and soul. Whereas, if you are a beginner and possess the grace and other virtues, than it’s easier and quicker to establish that connection.

                            Advertising

                            As yoga is an inherent part of the human being, firstly, in order to pave the yoga path successfully and effectively, you must understand that yoga is not a technique for performance, but rather a creativity and expertise of yourself.

                            Your learning process cannot be focused on, nor conditioned by a certain handbook, someone’s instructions or some specific school.

                            Learning yoga requires your creativity to look within yourself and learn from yourself, become the expert of your feelings, emotions and desires. You, as a beginner might already possess many qualities and prerequisites for creating the union between your body, mind and soul, but your knowledge requires creativity for your growth to reach the state of union and then reap the fruits of that union. Once this happens there is no turning back – you’ll be pulled by the beauty and energy of your on being.

                            Be Fast Mentally and Slow Physically

                            As already mentioned, you don’t need to do physical performances like the split or the headstand to be able to immerse in a deep meditation or Samadhi. But you do need enough creativity for your self-inquiry.

                            Many of my students start working directly with meditation – attending the complexities of the mind, because that’s where the hindrances lie. There, the meditator is able to work on the cessation of identifying with the fluctuations of the consciousness – where intelligence expands, adversity ends and the individual is ready to pass through its physicality and mentality in order to reach the union with the soul.

                            But if you’re really a beginner and cannot start with that, then you can start enhancing your creativity on the body-mind level. The exercise follows in the next paragraph.

                            The greater your creativity, the better your expertise about yourself – the deeper your competence to inquire further into the union with your soul. Sure enough that a more pliable and healthy physical body has some advantages and better preconditions for that, but don’t get discouraged because your body-mind union will open up the way.

                            So here we are, you are at the moment to enhance your creativity upon that union. Please, take this as a very serious part of the practice as it is crucial for learning yoga – for learning yourself.

                            The Beginner’s Exercise – Creativity upon Body-Mind Union

                            The first and most important element to learn and practice yoga is of physiological and psychological nature: Stillness:

                            Advertising

                            1. Make sure your body is still and comfortable.
                            2. Focus on breathing to initiate observing.
                            3. Observe your body and identify the first feeling that occurs to you.
                            4. Keep identifying feelings and emotions, but without getting involved with them.
                            5. Now create feelings and emotions as you please and let them go.

                            That’s it! That’s the creativity upon the body-mind union. The validity of this creativity lies in the stillness and observance of that union. In this practice you can learn to understand and catch the moment – the main ingredient of life.

                            Life is a sequence of moments and knowing that you’re able to manage that sequence is a new level of living life, called dharma – the practical and skillful way of living. An essential character develops as a result of practicing this discipline.

                            However, be aware that we are still talking about outward elements of yoga – the gross levels (from Yama to Pratyahara) whereas the subtle, inward elements (Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi) are yet to be approached, learned and implemented. It is on these subtle levels that you can realize the depth of spirituality and the essence of yoga.

                            It is remarkable how the science of yoga can take you in such heights and depths of exploring life and being. Little is known about the essence and the right practice of yoga in the west. There is a huge knowledge gap between how yoga should be learned and how it is practiced today in the west. You can bridge this gap by practicing the above exercise.

                            Know that yoga is of a very subtle nature – operating on a subtle energetic level – the level of your mental energies, your thoughts. That means that it is to be learned at that level and not on any other. A body posture alone cannot take you to that level if you don’t apply your creativity and self-inquiry.

                            Prerequisite for Yogic Success – Union between You and the Other

                            Yoga is nothing, if our relationships with others are not managed harmonically.

                            Learning yoga is also learning connecting with the other – with the stranger who’s not you but carries the same “core”, the same heart as you. We as individuals, possess the inborn feature of Ego – the “I-consciousness” that makes us feel separate from the rest of what makes the wholeness.

                            This separation is the second of the the five “klesah” afflictions[3] – that stand as major hindrance against the union (Yoga) – called “asmita” or I-am-ness / Egoism (Y.S. II.6.), and has to be cultivated and brought to a level of discernment that will lessen our disturbance that comes out the fragmentation between the “I-am-ness” and the “Other-ness”.

                            This is a crucial concept in Yoga and it is inevitable to be worked upon this hindrance in order to reach the inner “psychological” freedom or the ultimate liberation “Kaivalya” for which Yoga stands for. But, again, if you are beginner in this part, you want to know how to start dealing with all this. Here is the exercise:

                            Advertising

                            1. Practice observance from the first exercise.
                            2. Realize that the structure of your feelings, emotions, etc. is identical with the one of the other individuals.
                            3. Practice witnessing, tolerating and gradually accepting the diversity between yourself and the other individuals.
                            4. Observe for so long with equanimity, until you see the uniformity in that diversity.

                            This is one of the greatest accomplishments a human being can achieve. To be, means, to be in relationship – internally, as well as externally.

                            Yogic Lifestyle – Union Between You, The Other and The World

                            Here comes the last piece of the puzzle – the union – on the highest level of worldly existence – between you, the other and the world. This means that Yoga is also worthless if practiced only on the mat. So when learning yoga, especially when practicing the body-mind union, consider if:

                            You speak the language of nature and how you’re connected to nature and its basic elements? Do you complicate your existence by thinking that you are in the center of the world and require extra attention and acknowledgement?

                            Thinking this way interferes with the practice of yoga. And surely, you might wonder, what should be done here in order to create that harmony in union? You’d be amazed to know that there is one important yogic movement that needs to be done. That is:

                            The action of not doing anything but contemplating! Then yoga happens.

                            Yes, this goes beyond the physicality and mentality of your being. As our bodies play just a tiny part of the evolution of existence, we must not attach to the world in that sense – clinging to worldly life with that insatiable urge that generates worries and anxiety – but rather grow through life with detachment and the attitude that life has been gifted to us with the purpose to realize that gift and attain the wisdom of life.

                            Go Beyond Your Physicality and Mentality

                            Attaining greatness like connecting to the world and to your soul, we must pass beyond the thoughts, feelings and emotions, and the influence they have on us. Hence we want to make the mental fluctuations to cease and let yoga shine its light through this yogic movement:

                            The stillness and the watching within.

                            Can yoga be understood and achieved in one single session and then practiced continuously, productively and effectively? Of course it can. Your union within yourself, the other and the world is lot simpler and easier than you think. Practice these simple yogic movements diligently, seriously but also effortlessly and your yoga will be flourishing and fruitful. I salute the spirit in you!

                            More About Yoga

                            Featured photo credit: Avrielle Suleiman via unsplash.com

                            Reference

                            [1] Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
                            [2] Wikipedia: Kaivalya
                            [3] Plato Stanford: Klesah

                            Read Next