If you want a smaller, tighter fanny, you can get it by using one of the most basic pieces of exercise equipment at your gym: the treadmill. Of course, there’s no such thing as spot reduction, but by combining treadmill workouts with a good diet and comprehensive exercise program, you can work your butt off -- quite literally.
Cardio Calorie Cash-In
Cardio exercise is one of the best ways to burn calories and boost weight loss. Because the basic way to shed pounds is to burn more than you consume, cardio exercise helps you create a calorie deficit that can help you lose inches from head to toe. But not all cardio is created equal when it comes to calorie burn. While any movement is a good thing, treadmill-based activities like running can help a 155-pound person burn from 298 calories at a 12-minute-per-mile pace to 613 at a 6-minute-per-mile pace in just 30 minutes, which beats swimming, dancing, stair-stepping and, depending on your pace, elliptical training and cycling.
With the excellent calorie burn from treadmill activities, you can really ramp up the rate at which you drop inches from your body -- including your butt. Because it takes a deficit of 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound, you can combine treadmill workouts with a healthy diet to drop pounds. If you take the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's advice and work out at a moderate level for 30 minutes five times a week, you can take care of 1,000 to 2,000 of those calories through exercise alone. That means you only have to eat 1,500 to 2,500 fewer calories to drop a pound in a week. With each pound lost, your butt will get smaller and smaller.
Treadmills and Your Glutes
If you choose to make treadmill your cardio source, you’ll be using your butt muscles -- your glutes -- in several ways. The main function of your glutes in running and walking is to stabilize your hips, which because of the repeated motion of your lower body, is a ridiculously important task. But because running is a hamstring-dominant workout, you’ll have to increase the incline on the treadmill if you really want to strengthen the glutes and get them to engage.
Building Your Butt
There are scads of workouts you can do on the treadmill to really develop your glute muscles. But you’d better be ready to work. Because the glutes only engage when you’re running or walking at an incline, you’re going to have to play with the elevation on the machine a little instead of just moving on a flat plane. Instead of doing an entire workout uphill, though, you can use the incline to add variety to your session by doing intervals. Break up the time you spend by doing minutes at different elevations and keeping your mind engaged. Warm up at a flat level and then aim for three inclined intervals during your 30-minute workout. This will challenge your glutes and your mind while still allowing you a chance to recover between climbs.
After graduating from the University of Kansas with a bachelor's degree in sports information, Jill Lee served for 10 years as a magazine editor for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). Also a published author, Lee now works as a professional writer and editor focusing on fitness, sports and careers.