If you're consistently using your buttocks as a seat cushion, your glutes are bound to forget their function and get lazy. This can affect the mobility of your hips and result in lower back pain. To make things worse, your lazy butt muscles stretch, and before you know it, your once firm, shapely derriere doesn't look so perky anymore. Targeted stability ball exercises can wake-up and tone your butt muscles. As an added bonus, the unstable surface of this beach-ball-like exercise tool forces you to engage your core muscles so you don't fall on the floor.
The Butt Lift
Lie face up on a mat, rest your arms on the floor with your palms down and place your heels and calves hip-width apart on top of a stability ball.
Tighten your tummy muscles, squeeze your butt cheeks together and push your hips up until your lower back lifts off the floor and your body forms a diagonal line from your feet to your upper chest. Pause one second in this position.
Lower your hips slowly toward the floor and gradually release the tension in your legs and glutes. Hover your buttocks about 1 inch above the floor and immediately go into the next butt lift. Repeat the butt lift eight to 12 times and work your way up to finishing three sets.
Lie on your back on the floor, place your lower legs and heels on a stability ball and extend your arms out to your sides so your body forms a T position.
Tighten your abdominal muscles, push your lower legs and heels into the ball and simultaneously raise your hips and lower back until your body forms a diagonal line from your toes to your upper chest.
Dig your heels into the ball, contract your glutes and hamstrings and then slowly bend your knees and roll the ball closer to your buttocks. Stop the motion when your feet are flat on the ball and your knees point up. Keep your back straight and pause in this position for one second.
Push the ball away from your buttocks with your feet and straighten your knees so your body forms a diagonal line and your heels and lower legs are on the ball again. Repeat the exercise eight to 12 times before fully lowering your hips to the floor. Work your way up to completing three sets.
Sit on the center of a stability ball, place your feet shoulder-width apart on the floor and slowly walk them forward until just your shoulder rest on the ball and your knees are directly above your ankles.
Tighten your tummy muscles to support your back, and then slowly raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your knees to your head. Keep your back straight and squeeze your buttocks and hamstrings for one second.
Lower your hips slowly about three inches and release the tension in your butt and hamstrings. Immediately repeat the exercise, completing eight to 12 repetitions and three sets.
- To make the butt lift less challenging, move the stability ball closer to your buttocks.
- Need a more challenging butt lift or hamstring curl? Extend your arm and raise your hands straight up to the ceiling so they can't help stabilize your body.
- For a challenging variation, do hamstring curls with one leg while the other leg is extended and elevated above the ball.
- For a challenging ball bridge, place the ankle of one leg across the opposite knee so you're balancing on one leg.
- Consult a doctor before starting a new exercise routine, especially if you've been inactive or have an injury or health condition.
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.