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How to Tone the Buttocks

By Kimberly Caines

A toned, shapely rear end can be your best accessory, but it might take some work getting there. If you have an ideal body fat percentage, toning exercises can quickly perk up your derriere, but if you're overweight and have excess fat covering your buttocks, reducing body fat in addition to toning exercises, should be your focus. Regardless of your physical shape, strengthening your glutes is always beneficial, because your tush is more than just a seat cushion -- you use it each time you walk, run, climb stairs or extend your hips.

Incorporate elevated split squats into your butt-toning routine. Step forward with one foot and place it onto an elevated platform, such as an exercise bench or the bottom step of a staircase. Then bend both knees and lower your hips toward the floor until your knees are at a 90-degree angle. Keep your torso upright and avoid rounding or arching your back. Push through your feet to return to the starting point. Switch legs. Finish eight to 12 repetitions in one set and do another one or two sets.

Perform the bridge exercise to strengthen your glutes. Lie face up on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat. Then, push your hips up. There should be a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Squeeze your buttocks for one second before releasing the tension and lowering your hips to about 1 inch from the floor. Immediately go into the next repetition and finish eight to 12 reps. Do a total of two to three sets. For an extra challenge, do the bridge while lying with your upper back on a stability ball.

Contract your glutes consistently throughout the day to strengthen and tone your buttocks. Squeeze your butt cheeks together while you're sitting on a chair, waiting in line at the store or while brushing your teeth. Contract your glutes for five to 10 seconds before slowly releasing the tension.

Perform squats with perfect form to tone your tush. Stand with your feet no more than 10 to 12 inches apart to really engage your buttocks. Then, push your hips back, bend your knees and really sit your butt back as if you were sitting down on a chair. Keep your back straight and your knees above your feet. When your thighs are parallel to the floor, push through your feet to return to the starting point. Squeeze your glutes on the way up. Work your way up to doing eight to 12 repetitions and complete two to three sets.

Commit to healthy eating habits if you're overweight and need to reduce body fat. When your body fat reduces, so will the fat that's covering your glutes, and a toned, shapely butt will be easier to see. Eat smaller portions and compare food labels so you can swap out high-calorie foods for nutritious, low-calorie foods. Focus on eating fruits, low-fat or non-fat dairy, whole grains, lean protein and veggies.

Schedule 150 to 300 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise per week. This helps you burn calories, which is essential if you're overweight and want to lose weight all over. Engage in enjoyable activities that activate your lower body. For instance, swim laps, ride a bike, go jogging, walk briskly or exercise on a stair climber or elliptical machine.

Tips

Before doing butt-toning exercises, warm-up with five to 10 minutes of low-intense cardio to raise your body temperature, increase your heart rate and prep your body for the work to come.

Hold dumbbells in your hands to make squats and lunges more challenging.

Warnings

See a doctor before starting a new exercise routine, particularly if you're new to exercise or have a health condition or injury.

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