Save the leg warmers and awkward pirouettes. You can get a dancer-like butt by incorporating stiff-legged deadlifts into your weight training routine. This exercise firms and tightens your gluteus maximus, that large butt muscle that can make or break those cute new pants you bought. Lay off the junk food to help cut the fat layer covering your soon-to-be sexy muscles. Those teeny tiny pants are worth it.
Stand with your feet about hip width apart. With your elbows straight and palms facing your body, hold a barbell in front of you. Position your hands about shoulder width apart. Engage your back and abs to stand up tall. Keeping your back straight and abs contracted, use your butt muscles to resist the movement as you hinge forward at the hips. Allow the weight to hang straight below your shoulders throughout the movement. Hinge forward until you can no longer maintain a straight back – actually stop just shy of that point. Pause, then use your butt muscles to come back up to stand. This exercise can also be done by holding a dumbbell in each hand, in the same position as the barbell.
Even though these are called stiff-legged deadlifts, you don’t have to move like Frankenstein. Bend your knees slightly to reduce any strain on your lower back. Use a weight that is challenging, yet allows you to do the exercise with perfect form. Start with a 10 or 20-pound barbell to get used to the movement. Increase your weight only when you can do 15 repetitions with perfect form. Stiff-legged deadlifts will also work your lower back, so expect to feel those muscles working. However, stop or reduce your intensity if your back gets overly sore or agitated. This exercise is complex. Hire an experienced personal trainer to further reduce your chances of injury. She can make sure you’re doing the exercise correctly.
Do one to two sets of 10 to 15 repetitions three times each week. Incorporate stiff-legged deadlifts into a comprehensive weight training plan that includes leg exercises such as lunges, back exercises such as the seated row, chest exercises such as chest presses, as well as exercises for your abs, biceps, triceps and shoulders. The stiff-legged deadlift is one of many exercises that will shape and strengthen your glutes. Incorporate other butt exercises, such as squats and bridges, to break up the monotony and challenge your glutes in different ways. Regardless of how hard you work, take a day off in between weight training sessions. That’s when the real changes in your shape occur.
Stiff-legged deadlifts, along with your other butt exercises will sculpt your booty. Your overall weight training, cardio and diet plan will help you lose fat overall so you can uncover those sexy muscles. The amount of time it takes to get great glutes depends on how your body loses fat – some people naturally have little butts and some hold onto booty fat till it’s the very last thing left. Be consistent in your workouts and you’re likely to see some positive changes in about six to eight weeks. Continue to challenge yourself by really squeezing your butt muscles on the upward and downward parts of each exercise. Increase the amount of weight you lift once you can do more than 15 reps with impeccable form and switch up your weight training routine at least every six weeks. Your glutes will get better and better the longer you stay the course.
Suzanne Reilley is a fitness professional with a BS in exercise science and more than four years of experience as a full-time ACSM-certified personal trainer. She has been featured in DailyCandy and "The Washington Post," and has taught at Rancho La Puerta, rated Top Destination Spa by "Travel + Leisure."