Targeted exercises can tighten your tush.
In addition to an unhealthy diet, consistently using your buttocks as a seat cushion can result in loss of muscle tissue and excess fat gain. You might find that your once well-defined rear end has become flat and droopy. To combat this, perform targeted exercises to stimulate muscle tissue and to tighten and perk your butt right up. You don't need fancy equipment or a gym to do these exercises; you can do them right at home.
Must-Do: Quadruped Hip Extensions
Research sponsored by the American Council on Exercises shows that hip extensions done face down on your hands and knees most effectively work your glutes. During this exercise lift one leg off the floor while keeping your knee bent 90 degrees. Then push your leg up behind you while the sole of your foot faces the ceiling. When your thigh is parallel to the floor, squeeze your buttocks for one second, and then lower your leg back down. Perform eight to 12 repetitions and three sets.
Squat and Lunge Butt Toners
In addition to working your legs, squats and lunges can also give your buttocks that well-needed boost. Start with your body weight as resistance, and as you get stronger, hold dumbbells, water bottles or heavy books in your hands for an added challenge. Squat varieties can include plie squats in a wider than shoulder-width stance with your toes pointing out; narrow-stance squats with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes forward; or pulsing squats during which you pulse your buttocks up and down. Perform lunges in all directions, and consider including walking lunges, and lunges with one foot on a platform in front or behind you.
Step Up to Firm Up
Deceptively easy-looking, step-ups are another ACE-recommended butt exercise that, as an extra bonus, also engage your legs. You can use the steps of a staircase, or a sturdy bench that's about 15 inches tall, as the stepping platform. During the exercise you step onto the platform with one foot and follow it with your other foot. Then step back down on the floor, one foot after the other. After doing 12 reps with the same leading foot, switch sides, and complete a total of three sets.
Move Your Butt
Although targeted exercises can shape and tone your glutes, solely doing these exercises won't reduce excess butt fat. This is where cardiovascular exercise comes in. It helps you burn calories and lose weight from your entire body including your buttocks. The ACE recommends doing 30 to 60 minutes on most days. Emphasize lower-body cardio to engage your glutes and the other large muscles in your lower half. At home, consider climbing stairs, jogging in place, using an aerobics DVD, or if available, exercising on a stationary bike or elliptical machine.