Build a Better Butt: Leg Workout Exercises That Work

Build a better butt. Three ideas that work.

Want a better bottom?  There are some important things to remember while you’re doing leg exercises during your workout.  Developing an effective routine just takes a little planning and really good form.  These exercises will get you in the best shape of your life in no time.

The Four-Hour Body Butt Workout

I love this little series from Tim Ferriss’s book “The Four Hour Body;” it takes less than 10 minutes and I was pleasantly surprised at how great it was at shrinking my inner thigh.  I’ve tweaked it a bit to make it even more effective.  It’s all about moving slowly and breathing with the movement, Pilates-style.

Kettlebell Swings. Grab a kettlebell with both hands.  Stand and open your feet, slightly turning them out.  Bend the knees and hang the kettlebell down towards the floor.  Inhale to gently swing the kettlebell through your legs and behind you.  On the exhale, explode and swing the kettlebell up, keeping your arms stiff and rising up to shoulder height.  Control the return and repeat.  Start with 20 swings and aim to work up to 50.  Make sure your feet are firmly planted, your back doesn’t arch at all, and you have control of the kettlebell at all times.  (Side bonus: this is great for abs and arms too!)

Bridges. Lie on the floor with your heels in line with the middle of each butt cheek.  Inhale to get ready.  On the exhale lift your bum off the floor and create a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.  To get into your butt even more, feel as if your knees are stretching away from your hips and really dig your heels into the floor.  If your knees feel twingy, push with your big toe a little into the floor to help center the foot.  Inhale and hold at the top.  Exhale and return back down to the floor.  Start with 15 and work up to 25.

Bird Dogs. Get down on the floor on your hands and knees; your back should be parallel to the floor, no swaybacks!  Inhale to get ready.  Exhale and extend one arm away and reach long, bringing it up parallel to the floor.  Simultaneously extend the opposite leg out long and parallel to the floor.  Inhale to hold for a count of two and exhale to return to the floor.   Switch sides.  Start with 10 on each side and work up to 20.  The key here is to hold your form in full extension for that slow two count; it will fire the most muscle fibers and get the quickest results.

Other Great Butt Options

The above exercises are quick, effective, and easy, but there are other great options out there too.  Here are some more ideas …

Barre Work.  These classes have exploded in the past year to become one of the most popular training methods in the U.S.  The main reason is how phenomenal barre is for shaping legs and butt.  You will want to hug your instructor for how great she’ll make you look in your jeans.  The classes are offered all over in health clubs and private training studios and there are some great DVDs such as Xtend Barre: Lean & Chiseled out there too.

Pilates. Yes, I’m a Pilates instructor so I’m very biased, but I’ve gotten lots of hugs from my clients for how happy they are with their backsides.  The Pilates legwork on the Reformer is particularly effective; I love the long, lean lines the work creates and your significant other will definitely notice the difference.  If you’re trying Pilates matwork, look for a class or DVD that uses a fitness circle or magic circle; they work very well too. I’m a big fan of Stott Pilates which is where I did my certification.

So what’s your favorite butt workout?  What makes you confident in your jeans and pencil skirts?  Please share your tips and tricks so we can all start playing around in the gym.  (All links to books and DVDs are affiliate links.)

Cheers,

Lisa

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

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4 Responses to Build a Better Butt: Leg Workout Exercises That Work

  1. MizFit September 30, 2011 at 5:15 am #

    everyone is RAVING about the barre work…
    My 42 year old booty wants to investigate :)

  2. Lisa Johnson September 30, 2011 at 7:56 am #

    Carla, I’ve found overall that the barre instructors are universally well trained although Andrea who does Xtend Barre is one of the good ones! I’ve taken classes at a very upscale, posh (read pricey) studio and watched the instructor ignore clients and cue poorly so that most people left rubbing their backs. All that said, a good trainer and good form and you’ll get a good tushie! :-)

  3. Sonia Simone October 2, 2011 at 12:15 am #

    I’ve been working with Rachel Cosgrove’s book Breakthrough Body For Women or something like that. There’s a lot of annoying commentary in it but the workouts are good. Great stuff for the rear. Most evil/effective: the Bulgarian Split Squat.

    Next step is to get a barbell for deadlifts & some more weight for squats.

  4. Lisa Johnson October 2, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    Sonia barbells are great I like to do hinge work on them like good mornings and one legged good mornings (called something else, I forgot now) those are truly awesome for the rear …

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