A trim waistline and a firm, sculpted butt are the keys to getting that all-important hourglass figure. To get your waistline down, you need high-intensity, calorie-burning exercises to strip fat, while lifting your buttocks requires serious glute training. You needn't spend hours in the gym though--with the right intensity and mindset, three tough, 45-minute sessions per week will see you rocking that bikini body in no time.
Cardio to Trim Your Waistline
Revamp your cardio regime by ditching your hour-long jog or elliptical session and switching to high-intensity interval training instead.
Pick any cardio machine you like and warm up for five minutes at a moderate pace. If you don't have access to cardio machines, jog outside or go swimming instead.
Go as fast as you can at maximum intensity for 30 seconds. This should be an all-out effort, and the last 5 to 10 seconds should feel like pure hell.
Ease back to a moderate pace and maintain this for between 90 seconds and two minutes. This should feel a breeze compared to the previous 30 seconds at maximum intensity.
Repeat this protocol a further six to eight times, aiming to maintain speed and intensity in all your short, sharp bursts. Interval training burns more fat in less time than steady-state cardio and has a bigger impact on your metabolism, writes trainer Charlotte Andersen on the Shape magazine website.
Perform three interval-training cardio workouts each week, leaving a day of rest between each one.
Lie on your back with both feet on the floor and your knees bent to 90 degrees. Lift your hips as high as you can while pushing your heels into the ground and squeezing your glutes and hamstrings. Pause briefly at the top, then lower your hips down again. This is the basic version of glute bridge raises.
Lift your left leg off the floor and perform the same movement with just your right heel in contact with the ground. Aim for 10 reps on one side, then 10 on the other. Try these single-leg glute bridges when you're comfortable performing 15 regular ones.
To increase the intensity further, elevate your heels on a weight bench or chair and perform glute bridges in this elevated position. If you're feeling particularly confident, try single-leg elevated glute bridge raises.
Grab a kettlebell or dumbbell and hold it in both hands. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart with your knees and toes turned out slightly. Swing the bell back through your legs, then forcefully snap your hips forward to propel the bell up in front of you. Keep straight arms and a flat back at all times and really squeeze your butt muscles as you snap your hips. Keep your abs braced as tightly as possible throughout. This helps relieve stress on your lower back and prevents injury.
Perform all these exercises for three sets of 10 to 15 reps each in a buttock-focused session once a week, or pick just one or two to add into a full-body workout, performed three times per week. If you can't perform 10 to 15 reps yet, try just six to eight reps of each and add a rep or two each week until you're at the desired number.
- Forget performing direct ab exercises to trim your waistline. The idea of spot reducing fat by performing high-repetition exercises on that muscle is a myth. Your time is better spent on interval training and butt exercises.
- For best results, combine your exercises with a calorie-controlled diet.
- Consult your doctor before partaking in a new training plan and ask a qualified gym trainer for assistance if you need it.
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.