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Our Top 10 Exercises to Tone Your Butt

The difference between buns of steel and buns of, well, pants are these 10 bum-blasting exercises. We tried 'em -- now it's your turn. Get moving!

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Hip-Lift Progression

This is an awesome way to relieve tension in your lower back and work your butt at the same time. (A cushy mat will keep your tailbone from crying afterward.)

Do it:

  • Lie on your back with your arms at your sides with your knees bent and your feet on the floor.
  • Lift your hips toward the ceiling. Hold for 1 count, and then lower back down.
  • Repeat the lifts for 60 seconds, squeezing your glutes and hamstrings at the top of the range of motion. Be careful not to overarch your spine.
  • To make this exercise more difficult, extend one leg at the top of the lift. Keep your thighs parallel and hold the lifted position for about 5 seconds.
  • Keeping your hips up, place your foot back on the floor and then lower your hips.
  • Repeat this exercise for 30 seconds; switch sides and do the move for another 30 seconds on the other leg.

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Toe Taps

The, um, lower, looser part of my butt takes a beating from this move. Thankfully.

Do it:

  • Lie on the floor with your arms on your sides.
  • Lift your feet, bending both knees to 90 degrees so your thighs are perpendicular to the floor.
  • Now slowly and quietly tap your left toes to the floor, then your right.
  • Alternate tapping feet for one minute.
  • If you feel any lower back pain, don't bring your toes all the way down.

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Single-Leg Front Raises

Balance! A solid thigh stretch! Glute tightening! This is a multi-reward move that requires less coordination than you might think.

Do it:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a 5-pound dumbbell in each hand.
  • Bend your right leg and raise it about 3 inches off the floor.
  • Extend both arms in front of you at chest height and your palms facing down.
  • Keeping your arms straight, raise your left arm above your head and hold for 3 counts, then return to chest height.
  • Continue alternating arm raises until you've done 8 total, 4 reps on each arm.
  • Now switch legs, doing 8 more reps standing on your right leg.

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Squat with Kick-Back

You are strong. Your quads and butt are toned (okay, getting there). You will not fall as you attempt this powerhouse move.

Do it:

  • Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart.
  • Sit back to a squat, bringing your fists close to your chin.
  • Then bring your left leg straight behind you while extending your arms forward.
  • Return to the squat position, then repeat on the other side.
  • Continue alternating sides for one minute.
  • As you squat, remember to keep your weight back on your heels.
  • When extending the leg behind you, keep your hips square -- don't twist them toward the side.

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Single-Leg Squat with Towel

This targets that messy undies spillover area between the very back of your bum and the lower part of your hips. You don't have that? A double scoop for you then, fitness queen.

Do it:

  • Stand with your feet together and place your right foot on top of a folded towel.
  • Shifting your weight to your left leg, slide the towel out slowly to your right.
  • Then slowly return to the start position.
  • Work this side for 30 seconds, keeping your elbows bent and your fists together near your chin.
  • When you squat, your left knee should bend between 45 and 90 degrees.
  • After 30 seconds, switch legs and do the squats and slides for another 30 seconds.

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Dumbbell Squats

A simple way to kick off even a quickie workout, these squats are powerful little moves. Over time, increase reps and dumbbell weight to amp them up.

Do it:

  • Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and 8- to 10-pound dumbbells by your thighs.
  • Squat down as if you were going to sit in a chair, keeping your weight over your heels.
  • Squeeze your glutes as you return to the start position.
  • Do 15-20 reps.
  • As you continue, keep the weight in your heels, making sure your knees do not pass forward of your toes.
  • For a bigger challenge, try it without the weights, jump explosively, and land in the squat position.

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Plie

I'm all about no-fuss moves that really work, and the plié falls into that category: It's as simple to do as it looks, but infinitely more toning than you'd expect. (In fact, it's one part of the Brazilian Butt Lift workout, below. Get on that.)

Do it:

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing out.
  • Bring your arms out straight in front of you and lower into a squat.
  • Come back up and repeat. Go as low into the squat as you can without letting your knees move past your toes.
  • Be sure to tuck your tailbone under and contract your glutes. Keep your torso tall, and don't let your knees creep past your toes.
  • Do for 1 minute. (After about 40 seconds, pulse at the bottom of the squat for 20 seconds.)

5-Minute Workout: Brazilian Butt Lift

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Explosive Lunges

I would typically shy away from anything that referred to my bum and any explosions, but this move gives me an awesome stretch through my glutes while testing my balance and coordination and patience.

Do it:

  • Stand with your feet together and your hands on your hips.
  • Then lunge forward with your right leg.
  • Jump up, switch legs in midair, and land with your left leg in a forward lunge.
  • Continue these explosive lunges, alternating sides, for one minute.
  • Keep your fists up in front of your chin and push off the floor with both feet. Your front knee should be bent 90 degrees and align over your ankle.

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Sun Salutations

A yoga sequence that works your entire body, sun salutations can especially benefit your butt: As you move from downward-facing dog into lunges and back through chair pose, you'll feel an incredible stretch right through your glutes down through your thighs and hamstrings.

Work into variation 2, adding lunge jumps

Variation 3 introduces high lunges -- try it!

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Clam Dig with Rotation

Tight hips, be gone: The outward hip rotation in this move feels incredible. As for toning your butt (and obliques and shoulders)? Talk to us the day after you try this exercise for the first time.

Do it:

  • Lie on your right side with your head cradled in your right palm.
  • Bend your knees in front of you 45 degrees.
  • Hold a 5- to 8-pound dumbbell in your left hand and keep your left elbow on your left side.
  • Lift both your left leg and your left arm up to the ceiling at about 90 degrees, keeping your hips stacked without rocking backwards and with your elbow pressed into your side.
  • Hold at the top for 2 seconds before returning to start. Repeat for 1 minute, then switch sides.

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More Butt Toners

Want -- okay, need -- more moves to shape your rear? Check out these other exercises, below.

Originally published in FitnessMagazine.com, May 2008.

The Ultimate Butt Workout Guide

Top 10 Butt Tips (of All Time!)

9 New Butt Boosters

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