From apple bottoms to pancake butts, our generation has been witness to the evolution of what’s considered the “ideal booty,” sparking conversation, controversy, and a dramatic change in fitness goals. Kim Kardashian’s earth-shattering images have “broken” the internet, and one of Beyonce’s hit songs has actually earned “Bootylicious” a spot in the dictionary. There’s no doubt big butts are in, and the lyrics to “Baby Got Back” are commonly known among millennials. If you’re interested in upping your backside, you’re in the right spot.
Adam Friedman, fitness expert at Gold’s Gym, recommends grabbing a band, kettlebell and dumbbell, and suggests doing the prescribed number of reps for each of the following exercises, taking a 30 to 60 second break, and continuing on to the next. Cycle through these 6 exercises 2 to 3 times, as delivered by Friedman.
1. Hip extension and cross (12 reps each side)
Get into a tabletop position on the floor on your hands and knees. Bracing your abs to form a straight line from your shoulders to your hips, lift your left leg and place your left knee in the bend of your right leg, then straighten the leg and reach your heel as far back as you can. Complete all reps, switch legs, and repeat.
Goal: This isolation exercise targets your thighs and glutes while increasing stability throughout your core.
2. Band side-lying leg raise (12 reps each side)
Lie on your side with a circular band around your ankles. Brace your abs, and stabilize your body with your hands. Squeeze your butt, and lift your top leg up. Keep your leg in line with your bottom line, then lower leg down. Do all reps, switch sides, and repeat.
Goal: This isolation exercise strengthens the outer thigh and improves stability through the core and hips.
3. Kettlebell swings (30 reps)
Start with your feet on either side of the kettlebell. Bend down and pick up the kettlebell by the handle, then drop your hips down and back with a slight bend through the knee. Swing kettlebell up to shoulder height, driving the hips through as you swing the kettlebell up and drive it down to gain momentum. Make sure you keep your core tight and your glutes squeezed, and try not to over extend the back.
Goal: This builds power and explosiveness in the hips and lower body, and also increases strength in the lower back, core and shoulders.
4. Dumbbell overhead Bulgarian split squat (15 reps each side)
Press a set of dumbbells directly over your head so your palms are facing each other. Place one foot in front of you and the other foot behind you so it’s resting on a flat bench. Keeping your core tight, slowly lower your body until your front knee is bent to 90 degrees. Make sure your front knee does not go in front of your toes. Pause, then drive through your front heel back to the start position. Repeat for the prescribed number of sets and repetitions and then switch legs.
Goal: This hybrid exercise strengthens the shoulders and legs, and also improves core strength, stability and balance.
5. Single leg Romanian deadlifts with dumbbell (8 reps each side)
Stand on one leg, holding a dumbbell in each hand. With your arms straight, bend your standing leg slightly and push your hips backwards, lowering your torso toward the ground as your rear leg trails behind you to help with balance. Push your chest out, only lowering as far as you can without your lower back rounding. Pause, and then reverse the movement, returning to the starting position. Squeeze your glutes at the top.
Goal: This move builds strength in the legs and hips, while improving balance and stability throughout the core.
6. Side lunge jump off (15 reps each side)
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Take a large step to the side with your right leg, then bend your right knee and squat down. Keep your left leg straight. As you squat down, bring the weights toward the ground on either side of your right foot. Then, jump up with your right leg, land and return to the lateral lunge position. Do all reps, switch legs, and repeat.
Goal: Explosive and dynamic, this exercise develops strength and power through the lower body with an emphasis on the quads, glutes and hamstrings, while also improving lower body flexibility and hip mobility.