To tone and lift the butt, you need to work all of the gluteal muscles, especially the gluteus maximus. Of the three muscles in your backside, the gluteus maximus is the largest, extending from near the base of the spine to the outer upper thigh. Most exercises that target the gluteus maximus also work the two smaller gluteal muscles, giving your rear end an all-over lift.
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Stand in front of an exercise platform or box. Keeping your shoulders square and your back straight, step up onto the center of the platform with your left foot. Bring your right leg up so the right leg is bent to 90 degrees and the thigh is parallel to the floor. Hold the position for a count of two. Lower the right leg to the floor, then step down with the left foot. Repeat 10 times and then switch legs. To make this more challenging for your glutes, hold a dumbbell in each hand throughout the exercise.
Stand with your back straight and shoulders square. Take a large step forward with your left leg. In this position, lower yourself, aiming your hips straight down. Stop when your left leg is bent to 90 degrees and your left thigh is parallel to the floor. Your stance should be wide enough that your left knee does not go forward of your left ankle. Hold the position for a count of two, engage your butt muscles and then raise up. Keeping your left leg forward, repeat the exercise 10 times, then switch legs. To give your glutes a tougher workout, hold dumbbells on your shoulders throughout the exercise.
Stand with your feet about hip-width apart. Move your left foot forward about 12 inches and shift most of your weight onto your right leg. Squat on the right leg as if aiming your hips back rather than straight down. Do not lower your hips past your right knee and try to only use the left foot for balance. Hold the squat for a count of two, then raise back up. Repeat 10 times and then switch sides. For an added challenge you can lift the non-working leg so the foot is off the floor or you can hold dumbbells by your side throughout the exercise.
Cardio Exercise and Sports
In addition to strength-training exercises, aerobic exercises tone the gluteus maximus and burn fat to give you a sleeker and firmer backside. Running, cycling and walking all require you to use your backside for propulsion, stability and power. Adding hills into your run, ride or walk works your glutes more deeply than walking on flat surfaces. Sports that require frequent bursts of running and changing direction such as basketball, soccer and tennis will also lift and tone your glutes.