If you consider your hips and butt to be your biggest trouble zones, you're in good company. Women tend to carry weight in their lower bodies, making this a tough area to tackle, especially if you're pear-shaped. While you can't change your body type, adding targeted strength moves to your fitness regimen three to four times per week can help you slim down your hips and butt for a tight, toned figure.
Tie a resistance band around your ankles and stand with your feet hip-width apart. Take a big step to the left, moving down into a squat as you plant your left foot; hold the squat for three counts. Stand up, bringing your right foot next to your left, and raise your left leg straight out to the side as high as you can, keeping your toes pointing slightly downward. Return to a standing position; complete 12 reps before switching to the opposite side.
Grasshopper on the Ball
Lie face down on an exercise ball, your pelvis on the ball and your palms on the floor directly under your shoulders. Raise and straighten your legs directly behind you, toes pointing in opposite directions, then bend your knees into 90-degree angles and bring the soles of your feet together. Hold for three seconds, then straighten your legs and raise them just a few inches higher. Complete 12 reps.
Walking Lunge with Twist
Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a medicine ball or dumbbell with both hands directly in front of your rib cage. With your right foot, take a big step forward and lower your body into a lunge until your right thigh is parallel to the floor. Keeping the lower body stable, twist your torso to the left, keeping the medicine ball or dumbbell in position in front of your ribs. Twist back to the center and raise up as you take another big step forward, this time with your left foot; sink into a lunge and twist again. Complete 24 reps, alternating legs as you go.
Lie face-up on an exercise mat, knees bent, feet flat on the floor and arms at your sides. Drive your right heel into the floor and raise your hips off the mat. Straighten your left leg and raise it until the left thigh is parallel to the right, keeping your left toes pointed. Hold for three seconds and move your left leg out at a 90-degree angle to your body; hold for another three seconds and lower down. Complete 12 repetitions with the left leg before switching to the right.
Hip and butt exercises can strengthen and firm muscles to create a tighter body, but to actually reduce the size of your hips and buns, you need to burn excess fat -- and cardio is king for slimming down. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five times a week. Anything that gets your heart rate up will do the job, but you can make the most of your sweat sessions by choosing cardio that also works the muscles in your lower body, like step aerobics, kickboxing or running.
Kristen Fisher is a freelance writer and editor with professional experience in both print and online media. She has published articles on a wide variety of topics including health, fitness, nutrition, home and food, and her work has appeared in "Connections Magazine" and on Lifescript.com. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in psychology.