If there was one part of your body you could change, it might just be your butt. Along with a sexy six-pack, toning your butt and thighs is one of the key things you can do to make a huge positive change to your physique. While weight training and body-weight exercises can help firm that pesky posterior, you can also get rid of saggy butt syndrome and tone your thighs with cardio machines.
You don't see many runners with weak glute muscles, as your butt and thighs work incredibly hard on every step. Rather than sticking to general treadmill running or jogging! though, change things up and go for some hill sprints. Running on an incline is not only effective for fat loss, it's much harder on your butt and thighs than running on the flat. In an article from "Fitness" magazine, personal trainer Diana Maitland recommends keeping your speed constant at around 4 miles per hour, but changing the gradient every few minutes from 3 to 12 percent.
Not only can you burn between 270 and 400 calories in just half an hour using it, the elliptical machine works your butt and thighs, too. Most elliptical machines come with moving handles too make the movement smoother and easier, but you should avoid using these when looking to work your legs. Go for 30 to 40 minutes and set the resistance slightly higher than you would usually. Just use your arms to help balance rather than to aid with momentum -- you want to minimize the use of your upper body to make your lower body work harder.
Stair climbers offer a challenging alternative to running without the stress on your joints, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. You'll generally find two types of stair climbers -- ones with pedals that move up and down and others with a revolving staircase. The revolving ones tend to be more difficult and put more strain on your leg and butt muscles, so opt for those where you can. Avoid the temptation to lean on the handles and keep an upright posture throughout -- this makes it tougher on your butt and thighs.
Surprisingly, none of these machines may actually the best choice for toning your butt and thighs, claims trainer Joe Dowdell, owner of Peak Performance in New York. Toning is a combination of stripping body fat and building muscle mass. To strip fat, you should reduce your caloric intake and perform cardio, while building muscle requires resistance training. Therefore, all this cardio may actually be taking your farther from your goals. Dowdell advises that the ultimate butt-toning workout should include deadlifts, glute bridges and other weighted exercises, along with some outdoor sprints.
- Fitness Magazine: The 20-Minute, Glute-Sculpting Treadmill Routine
- Harvard Health Publications: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- American College of Sports Medicine: Selecting and Effectively Using an Elliptical Trainer or Stair Climber
- American Council on Exercise: What's the Best Piece of Cardio Equipment to Use?
- That's Fit: Elliptical Vs. Stairmaster: Which Is Best For Butt-Toning?
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.