A variety of fitness methods can help to sculpt the butt as well as the entire lower body. The gluteus, better known as the butt, is comprised of three muscles. Many fitness programs have been developed to target these muscles, along with the small accessory muscles of the lower leg. With regular work, you can develop a tight and lean butt.
Hitting the fitness scene a few years ago, barre classes gained tremendous popularity because of their effectiveness, especially for the lower body. After a brief warm-up, class participants are taken through a variety of ballet-inspired exercises, most of which are done while standing at a ballet bar. Movements such as single leg lifts, standing hamstring curls, and plie squats with a playground ball all work to shape the glutes. There are also many barre DVD's available for purchase if there are no classes in your area.
Although Joseph Pilates developed his exercise method for rehabilitation of the spine, clients began seeing the added benefit of a toned lower body. Mat Pilates exercises, such as prone heel taps, bridges, and the side lying series, all work to strengthen the core while toning the glutes and hips. Working out on the Pilates Reformer machine provides the added benefit of resistance and body weight support when needed. Look for Mat Pilates classes at your local gym and Reformer classes at Pilates studios.
Free Weight Exercises
Specifically designed lower body exercises can also tone the back of the body and may be done independently or in exercise classes. Hamstring curls on a fitness ball or machine help to tone the lower gluteus muscle, while bridges and the glute machine target the entire muscle. Use a lighter weight and complete more repetitions to really sculpt the area. Isometric gluteus squeezes can be done anywhere by simply contracting the muscle, holding it, and releasing. Try them while sitting at your desk, standing in line, or driving.
The Right Regime for You
Maintaining exercise variety in your ultimate butt program will help you reach your goals. Try each method for a few weeks before transitioning to the next one, or participate in a different format one day per week. By consistently challenging the muscles in new ways, you will prevent muscles from adapting to exercises. The right amount of cardiovascular exercise and a proper diet is necessary for the best fitness results.
Vicki Vara has been a fitness professional for more than 15 years, working in health clubs, studios and schools. She is certified as a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, holistic nutrition consultant and Pilates instructor. Vara holds a bachelor's degree in exercise science from the University of Delaware.