If you're like many young women, you're looking to tone your butt to get it firm, strong and shapely so you can look your best in that new pair of jeans. But your approach to exercising your butt isn't as black and white as picking an online workout and copying it; first, you need to decide whether you're trying to fill out those jeans with a bigger butt, or just fit into them by slimming down. The difference between shrinking and increasing butt size is all about figuring out the right mix of cardio, strength training and nutrition.
Building Your Butt
Going for a jaunt on the treadmill will burn calories, but if you want to add size and shape to your butt, you need to focus on the big boys -- your glutes. Strength exercises like lunges, squats, hip extensions and step-ups will help you target your glutes and build a stronger, firmer and larger behind. Do strength training twice per week to get the best results. The best part about these exercises is that you can add more resistance simply by holding dumbbells during your workout, and you can do them virtually anywhere you can find the space.
Shrinking Your Butt
Maybe your first priority is trimming excess body fat to reduce the size of your butt. If so, focus on cardio. Aerobic exercises such as jogging, swimming, cycling and interval training will burn calories and help you slim down. According to MayoClinic.com, aerobic exercises have the added benefits of increasing your stamina, strengthening your heart and managing chronic conditions such as high cholesterol and blood pressure. The more intense your strength-training workouts, the less cardio you need to do. Find the right balance for you, but you should do at least two cardio workouts per week if you want to slim down.
Best of Both Worlds
It's best for you to attack your butt from all sides, through cardio training to trim and resistance training to strengthen. By alternating between cardio and strength days for your glutes, you'll build your butt muscles as you're burning the fat that's keeping them hidden away. Fitness model Obi Obadike claims that sprinting gives you the best of both worlds, burning an insane number of calories and building muscle at the same time.
No matter what your fitness goals, it's important to recognize that exercise alone isn't going to get you maximum results when it comes to reshaping and toning your butt. You need to balance a steady workout routine with a healthy diet and clean nutrition. Be weary of exercise programs that claim to reduce fat in a specific area of your body, since this falls in line with the spot reduction myth. Cardio and strength exercises will burn calories and help you slim down by reducing total body fat.
- ExRx.net: Hip Exercise Menu
- Fitness Magazine: 3 Squats to a Strong, Firm Butt
- MayoClinic.com: Aerobic Exercise -- Top 10 Reasons to Get Physical
- BodyBuilding.com: Ask the Ripped Dude -- What's the Best Form of HIIT?
- Yale Scientific: Targeted Fat Loss -- Myth or Reality?
- Women's Health: The Best Strength Training for Women
- CoachCalorie.com: How Much Cardio to Lose Weight?
Steven Kelliher is an experienced sports writer, technical writer, proofreader and editor based out of the Greater Boston Area. His main area of expertise is in combat sports, as he is a lifelong competitor and active voice in the industry. His interviews with some of the sport's biggest names have appeared on large industry sites such as ESPN.com, as well as his own personal blog.