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10 Most Effective Butt Exercises to Shape Up Your Body

10 Most Effective Butt Exercises to Shape Up Your Body

Everyone wants to get in shape as soon as they sense that summer is around the corner. However, shaping up means different things to different people.

While guys focus on losing a few pounds and buffing up their chest and arms, most girls and some guys like to sculpt the perfect derriere that will give them the confidence to strut around town in those tight new jeans. If you want to really target the glutes, you’ll definitely need some of these great butt exercises.

First thing’s first – structure your workouts

You can’t just do a few minutes of some random exercise when the mood strikes you, or do about 100 sloppy and quick repetitions before calling it quits. There are a couple of important concepts you need to understand before starting your workout:

  • You need about 3 sets of 2-3 exercises for a targeted body part.
  • You need a challenging weight; more than 12-15 repetitions and you are working on mostly endurance instead of growing muscles.
  • You need progressive overload to make muscles grow, i.e. adding weight, increasing repetitions, adding more sets, doing a more challenging variation or slowing down for each rep.
  • You can never fully isolate a muscle; other muscles will work in conjunction.
  • To develop a truly great butt, you need the legs to match.

I really recommend going with a full body workout three times a week, coupled with another 2-3 sessions of cardio like running, where you would add a couple of additional butt exercises at the end to really bring up this body part.

This will ensure that you don’t develop muscle imbalances which can both make you look a bit weird and affect your health. You can switch up the exercises you chose each training session.

Do 3 sets with a challenging weight, ideally something you can only manage for 10-12 repetitions, but going as high as 15-25 is acceptable if you can only use your bodyweight. Switch to harder variations, add weight, add repetitions, slow down or add 1-2 more sets when doing the recommended sets and reps gets easy.

1. Deep Squats

Deep squat

    When doing squats, particularly with only your bodyweight, it is best to go as low as you can while keeping your back straight, as this ensures maximum glute activation. The stance should be slightly wider than shoulder width or even a bit wider, depending on your build, and you should lower yourself down keeping a neutral spine.

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    To ensure that your knees don’t cave in and that your upper back doesn’t round, you can hold your palms together in front of your chest, which flares out the elbows. I

    ncrease difficulty gradually by holding a weight in front of the chest or doing one legged squats when the exercise becomes easy. You will get strong very quickly doing these, and they will help improve flexibility as well as overall core strength.

    2. Horse Stance

    Horse stance

      The horse stance or horse-riding stance is a staple of several different martial arts, and is a great way to build some strength and size in the thighs and glutes. You start by standing straight, and opening up your normal stance about a foot or two beyond shoulder-width on both sides, then you squat down as if you were going to sit back in a chair.

      Your thighs should be parallel to the ground. You’ll definitely feel the burn and will have to really focus on not giving up. Try to hold this position for as long as you can. Beginners should aim for about 15-30 seconds and gradually increase this period over time.

      Advanced practitioners can hold the position for 5-10 minutes.

      3. Step-up

      Step up

        Step-ups are a great dynamic exercise that really activates glutes and provides a good cardiovascular workout all in one. All you need a platform that is a little bit higher than your knees – somewhere around mid-thigh is good, but you can start out with a lower platform at first – e.g. a chair.

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        You step on it with one foot, raise your body up, and then bring the knee of your other leg up as high as you can, before stepping back down gently. You can make it a bit more difficult by holding small weights in your hands, or even something like a big water jug in front of you once you get stronger.

        4. Glute Bridges

        Glute bridge

          This one really hits the glutes hard, so be ready for some soreness afterwards. To perform the exercise you simply lie down on your back and, with your feet planted comfortably on the ground and knees pointed upwards, raise your butt off the floor until only your feet, backs of the shoulders and head are touching the floor.

          Make sure to push the hips as high up as you can and squeeze the glutes hard at the top. The exercise quickly becomes very easy, at which point you can straighten one leg and push off one leg at a time. You can also put some weight on your lower ab area, e.g. dumbbell or big water jug, and hold it steady with your hands.

          5. Rear Leg Lifts

          Rear leg raises

            Knelling on your knees and hands, with arms straight, you lift one leg off the floor and push the foot toward the ceiling. Bring the leg back down slowly under control and then alternate between legs.

            These can be a bit hard at first, and may cause you to cramp up a bit, so make sure you stretch properly afterwards. You can add some ankle weights or pinch a small dumbbell between your calf and hamstring to add some difficulty as you get stronger.

            6. Side Leg Lifts

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            Side leg raise

              Lying on your side – you should use some extra padding on the floor, like a thick folded-up blanket or a couple of yoga mats – you lift one leg up, then bring it almost all the way down slowly. Once you are finished on one side, switch to the other side. This is a great one for hitting some of the smaller muscles of the legs as well as the glutes.

              7. Cossack Lunges

              Cossack lunges

                These are a great way to improve flexibility and balance, while your legs and butt do some serious work.

                With legs about a couple of feet wider than shoulder-width, you shift your weight to one side, squatting down on that leg and keeping the other one straight. Once you hit the bottom position, you point the toes of the straight leg upwards, hold for a second, then put the foot back on the ground raise slightly and shift the weight towards the other side. You repeat the same on the other side and then keep alternating.    

                8. Fire Hydrants

                Fire hydrants

                  Start in a kneeling position, just like for the rear leg lifts, and then raise one leg to the side, keeping a 900 knee bend. Then you start rotating from the hip, making small circles at first and then wide swooping circles.

                  Do this for as long as you can, some 20-30 seconds at first, for three sets. This is a good exercise for opening up the hips, improving mobility as well as strengthening the glutes and some of the smaller muscles in the legs that are tough to target.

                  9. Full Bridge

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                  Bridge

                    Lying straight on your back with feet planted and knees up, place the palms of your hands on the ground at either side of your head, fingers pointed towards the shoulders, then begin to raise the entire body, pushing the feet and hands as you push the hips up.

                    This requires a decent amount of wrist and shoulder mobility, as well as some arm strength, but it is highly effective. It really hits the glutes, legs and shoulders, while at the same time stretching out the abs and upper body.

                    Hold the position for as much as you can – 30-60 seconds at first, but no more than 2-3 minutes as you don’t want too much blood rushing into your head for extended periods of time – then slowly go back down, and keep lying for another 60-90 seconds before getting up to let the blood flow readjust gradually.

                    This is a great finisher, and you can raise one leg up to add some difficulty.

                    10. Flutter Kicks

                    Flutter kicks

                      This is a great way to target the abs and the glutes, the two body parts every woman wants to shape up for the summer. Lying flat on the back, raise your legs off the ground to about 450, then push one up as you lower the other down, alternating them like this for as long as you can.

                      These are some of the best exercises for developing a full, round and firm butt that will turn heads, but you shouldn’t neglect the rest of your body or cardio work. There is no need to overdo it – with 3 training sessions a week and a focus on constantly improving, you’ll develop all the right curves in no time.

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                      Nemanja Manojlovic

                      Editor at MyCity Web

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                      Last Updated on November 15, 2019

                      Expert Advice That Will Teach You How to Increase Your Metabolism

                      Expert Advice That Will Teach You How to Increase Your Metabolism

                      Wouldn’t you like to be able to eat twice as much as you do now without gaining weight? If so, I have good news for you because this is possible when you learn how to increase metabolism.

                      How Much Do You Know About Metabolism?

                      Before we get to the meat, let me say that metabolism is a term that describes all the chemical reactions in your body.[1] These chemical reactions keep your body alive and functioning, however, the word metabolism is often used interchangeably with the metabolic rate or the number of calories you burn.

                      The metabolic rate is a rough estimate of how much energy your body needs to simply stay alive and perform all its biochemical reactions. These reactions require energy, aka burn calories.

                      Imagine that your brain alone consumes nearly 20% of your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure at rest),[2] your digestion and the detoxifying system come second, repairing tissues third and so on.

                      Staying alive is expensive for your body and its two main currencies are fats and sugars.

                      When I am talking about improving your metabolic rate (metabolism), I mean improving the amount of energy, your body requires to (pretty much) lay down in bed and do nothing for 24 hours.

                      Extra physical activity, extra thinking or fighting illness are things that require a lot of energy (burn a lot of calories) but they don’t really increase metabolism… actually they can decrease it.

                      Can You Naturally Change the Speed of Your Basal Metabolism?

                      The answer to this question is yes and you can also achieve an increase in metabolism and a drop in body fat by eating more.

                      Shocked? Well, I was too.

                      The way I came across this phenomenon is quite funny. Over my 10 years as a coach, I helped many busy professionals to naturally increase their metabolism by getting them leaner, fitter and stronger but, at the beginning of my career, I actually had no idea whether they were losing weight because of an increase in metabolism or because we created a calorie deficit with diet and exercise.

                      When I was training my clients regularly, they would lose weight. Every time I would take a few weeks of vacation, I would come back to London and find out that most of them gained back a generous amount of weight despite the fact that they were following their diet and they swapped our weight training sessions with cardio.

                      On the contrary, when they were going on vacation, they would do zero exercises and binge like there was no tomorrow but come back either lighter or weighing the same (but looking more muscular).

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                      Observing this phenomenon happening over and over again, got me curious about the mechanics of our metabolism and the ways to hack it.

                      Was it really possible that by relaxing and eating more food, someone could actually maintain his/her current weight or even be losing fat?

                      Driven by the desire to answer this question, I spent a good amount of years researching and testing different food strategies until I finally cracked the code to an improved metabolism that allows you to eat like a king and look like a Greek God.

                      Does Eating More Increase Metabolism?

                      Before I explain why eating more increases your metabolism, let me dig into something that I see people doing much more often: “eating less and moving more.”

                      It is quite common to see people embarking their yearly weight loss journey (usually after Christmas or Easter) by following very restrictive diets and bombarding their body with several hours of exercise per day.

                      Despite the short-term effectiveness of this approach, in the long run, if the goal is to increase metabolism and lose a lot of fat over an extended period of time, this simply won’t work.

                      As I have mentioned before, eating fewer calories and exercising more are energy-consuming activities for your body. In the first case, your body needs to use its own energy reserves to top up the missing energy it needs to fully function; and in the second, it takes your body extra energy to contract your muscles.

                      In both cases, your TDEE (Total daily energy expenditure at rest) doesn’t vary much; therefore your metabolism stays unchanged.[3]

                      A different scenario happens when you eat less and move more for an extended period of time (weeks or months). In that case, your metabolism will slow down because your body is receiving a “we have little access to food and we need to run away from threats” signal.

                      Your metabolism is like your bank account.

                      To understand this concept, let’s imagine that you have $4,000 coming into your bank account each and every month. The money you spend on housing, transport, food and leisure are calibrated according to this monthly income.

                      Now, imagine that a rich uncle starts to send you $1,000 each day. What would you do? Probably, you would save that money for the first two or three days but, when you notice that $1,000 keep on coming every single day, you would likely start to spend more right?

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                      What if, instead of a rich uncle sending you money, a poor uncle needed your financial help to pay for the treatments of his illness? You would probably try your best to adjust your spending according to your old $4,000 monthly budget.

                      That’s exactly how your body reasons:

                      More Resources Coming in = More Energy Released (Improved Metabolism)

                      Fewer Resources Coming in = Less Energy Released (Decreased Metabolism)

                      Note that activities like weight training[4] and high-intensity interval training (HIIT),[5] when combined with an increase in nutrient-rich foods, will also improve your metabolism.

                      For this reason, today, when I coach a new client, I always start by increasing their daily food intake and their physical activities. Usually, people are quite confused because they come to me to lose weight and I tell them to eat more but, without fail, the next weekly weight-check shows a lower number.

                      Be aware that not all foods are equal and only certain foods have the power to increase metabolism to a noticeable extent.

                      Foods That Increase Metabolism

                      Doubling up on Snickers bars won’t improve your metabolism and you know that. What you may not know is that certain foods that are marked as “healthy” doesn’t help you with increasing your metabolism. They also make you gain weight.

                      Before giving you a list of foods to eat or avoid, let me explain a simple principle of human biochemistry.

                      Your body uses energy from three (or four) main sources:

                      • Sugars: whether you eat a Snickers bar or a banana, the carbohydrates contained in both get absorbed in the gut and become blood glucose (the basic form of sugar our body utilizes as a source of energy).[6]
                        When blood glucose is present in the bloodstream (elevated levels), the body always uses it as its primary source of energy. When blood glucose levels drop (this phenomenon happens when you’re using these sugars to fuel a physical activity or when your pancreas produced a spike of insulin and stores that glucose into fat and muscles), your body starts to release fatty acids into the bloodstream to use as a source of energy.
                      • Fatty acids: either from your own fat cells (adipocytes) or from whatever fat-containing foods you ate in the past 2-3 hours. Fatty acids are a slower and more consistent form of energy than sugars that your body can utilise.
                      • Amino acids: Amino acids are the broken-down form of proteins. Proteins cannot be used by the body as a source of energy, not even in their broken-down form. Your body can transform amino acids into glucose with a process called gluconeogenesis.[7] This is a very inefficient process where a decent amount of energy gets wasted (and that’s a good thing for us but I’ll get to that later).
                      • Ketones: when you don’t feed your body any source of carbs (or proteins in excess), your liver produces an alternative source of energy called Ketones. It can replace the need for glucose (most of it at least).[8]

                      Now that you know the four energy sources the body can use to fuel its metabolism, let’s get to the meat (quite literally).

                      To make this simple for you, I am going to divide foods into three categories:

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                      1. Red Flags – Avoid the red foods because they slow your metabolism. They are usually extremely low in micronutrients and high in antinutrients (agents that are highly toxic). They are highly processed or spike your insulin levels (therefore stopping your fat burning process).
                      2. Orange Foods – Limit your consumption of orange foods. The orange foods on the list are suboptimal choices but they don’t have a negative impact on your metabolism when consumed in moderation. In fact, they contain a decent amount of micronutrients and, if eaten in small amounts, they shouldn’t stop your fat burning process.
                      3. Green Foods – These are foods to consume most. Green foods will improve your metabolism and should be the main bulk of your diet.

                      Next, I’ll get into details exactly what foods to eat and avoid:

                      Sugars and Carbs

                      Sugars do not directly improve metabolism because they stop the process of fat utilisation. There is an exception to this rule though. When you eat a diet extremely low in carbohydrates and sugars for an extended period of time (two to six days onwards), introducing carbohydrates and sugars can actually improve metabolism quite a bit.

                      Unfortunately, for most of us that love eating bread, pasta, fruit and yoghurt, unless we were on a low-carb diet for the past few days, these foods are not an optimal choice.

                      Sugars like fructose (found in fruit or commercial sugar) actually decrease metabolism and should be limited. Heavily processed sugars and carbohydrates should be also limited. Here is the colour list of sugars and carbs that affect metabolism:

                      Red Flag Sugary Foods You Should Avoid:
                      • Dried fruit
                      • Commercial and packaged corn
                      • High fructose corn syrup
                      • All sorts of candies and lookalike
                      • Packaged fruit juices and purees
                      • Sugary dairy products like flavoured yoghurt, condensed milk etc
                      Orange Sugary Foods You Should Limit:
                      • Bread and flour-based products
                      • Milk and also vegan milk alternatives that are sweetened
                      • Most fruit (exceptions are in the green list below)
                      • Potatoes and potato starch products
                      • Oatmeals and other grains
                      Green Sugary and Carb-Containing Foods That Improve Metabolism
                      • All berries except strawberries
                      • Tubers like squash, carrots, parsnips etc
                      • Sweet potatoes
                      • White rice
                      • All green vegetables

                      Fats

                      Fatty acids and fats, in general, can improve or decrease metabolism depending on their composition.

                      Red Flag Fatty Foods You Should Avoid:
                      • Margarine and hydrogenated fat
                      • Lard
                      • Gmo oils
                      • Most vegetable oils from seeds and peanut oil
                      Orange Fatty Foods You Should Limit:
                      • Nuts
                      • Meat fat
                      • Nut oils (macadamia, almond, cashew etc..)
                      • Seeds
                      Green Fatty Foods You Should Eat Daily
                      • Extra virgin olive oil (non-heated)
                      • Avocado
                      • Coconut oil
                      • Butter (organic)
                      • Egg yolks (free-range)
                      • Bone marrow

                      The fatty foods in the green section tend to be very effective in increasing metabolism, especially in the absence of carbohydrates because they stimulate the production of ketones (I’ll talk about this later).

                      Bear in mind that 1 gram of fat has 2.5 times the calories of a gram of protein or carbohydrates; therefore “eating more fats” to increase metabolism should be done very gradually to avoid weight gain.

                      Proteins

                      Eating food not only sends regulatory signals to your brain about abundance vs scarcity of resources, but it can also increase your metabolism for a few hours. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF).[9] It’s caused by the extra calories required to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meal.

                      Protein causes the largest rise in TEF.[10] It increases your metabolic rate by 15-30%, compared to 5-10% for carbs and 0-3% for fats

                      Eating protein has also been shown to help you feel more full and prevent you from overeating, in fact, a study found that people were likely to eat around 441 fewer calories per day when protein made up 30% of their diet.[11]

                      Also, proteins help preserve muscle mass.[12] The more muscle mass we have, the higher our basal metabolism is.

                      For these reasons, the first nutritional advice I usually give to clients is to reduce sugars and increase proteins. This quick swap is often enough to kickstart their metabolism and commence the fat burning process.

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                      Red Protein Sources That Should Be Avoided
                      • Cheap whey proteins
                      • Soy proteins
                      • GMO meat
                      • GMO eggs
                      • Packaged meat
                      Orange Protein Source to Be Limited
                      • Canned tuna
                      • Canned fish
                      • Canned meat
                      • Gluten-rich products like Seitan
                      • Farmed fish
                      Green Protein Sources to Have Daily
                      • Free-range meat
                      • Free-range eggs
                      • Wild meat and fish
                      • Whey protein isolate
                      • Collagen and beef protein hydrolyzed

                      Note that this is a general categorisation of the foods that, when added to your diet, have the power to increase or decrease metabolism. There are some specific foods and supplements worth mentioning because they have been proven to improve metabolism by increasing thyroid output or resting heart rate, they are as follows.

                      Other Foods and Supplements

                      Cold water

                      Drinking water may temporarily speed up your metabolism. Studies have shown that drinking 17 ounces (0.5 litres) of water increases resting metabolism by 10-30% for about an hour.[13]

                      This is not a surprise since our body is made up mainly by water and proper hydration is key to a fast metabolism. This calorie-burning effect may be even greater if you drink cold water, as your body uses energy to heat it up to body temperature.

                      MCT Oils or Powders

                      Medium-chain triglycerides or MCT have been shown to improve metabolism by stimulating Ketone production.[14] Coconut oil contains MCT fats and, when used as a replacement for cooking oil can help you improve metabolism.

                      You can buy the concentrated version of MCT oils and eat it separately to further enhance this effect. Either way, coconut oil or pure MCT oil can be a great addition to your diet if you’re following a ketogenic or intermittent fasting protocol.

                      Caffeine

                      Caffeine and coffee have been shown to improve metabolism by improving heart rate and, therefore improving calorie consumption.[15]

                      Green Tea

                      Green tea

                      is thought to increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation, and to reduce fat production and absorption.[16]

                      Bottom Line

                      In this article, I just covered the basics of food and metabolism but, there are many other non-food related things you can do to improve your metabolism, like improving your sleep quality and following certain exercise routines.

                      For now, just know that making small and gradual changes to your diet can increase your metabolism and improve your general health. Starting from changing one habit at a time is always the best strategy to accomplish any goal.

                      Once you improve your diet, your hydration and your supplementation you can think about testing more advanced “bio-hacks” or techniques like ice baths and fasted HIIT training.

                      And remember, having a higher metabolism doesn’t only help you lose weight and keep it off but it also give you more energy and a feeling of vibrancy. If you give it time, it really is worth the investment.

                      Featured photo credit: Fitsum Admasu via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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