Now that the holiday season is here, it’s getting less enticing to go to the gym after work and more tempting to eat the entire bowl of snowflake sugar cookies sitting in the conference room. It’s easy to skip your workouts and eat your way through the winter, but you can only hide your extra 12 pounds under your Canada Goose for so long. Sooner or later it’ll be time to wear shorts and tanks again, so you’ll want your butt and waist to look bomb. Do each of these moves for 45 seconds for a quick circuit that combines butt-toning moves and cardio bursts. Then, repeat the whole thing two to three more times for a full workout.
1. Glute Bridges
This move is a warm-up for your glutes, which are the muscles that make your butt look perky and perfect, even in your least flattering leggings. The best part about this move is that you do it laying on the ground, so you have no excuse not to do it. Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Keep your arms at your sides and slowly lift your hips off the ground, squeezing your butt when you get to knee height. Then, hold the bridge position for a few seconds, lower your butt back down to the ground, and repeat.
2. Kettlebell Swings
You’ll need a kettlebell for this move, and we recommend using anything from 20-50 pounds. It sounds heavy, but you’re literally swinging the weight, so you can probably go heavier than you usually would for weighted squats or arm moves. The kettlebell swing is basically the bend and snap from Legally Blonde. With the kettlebell starting in front of you, you’ll bend down with a flat back, grab the bell, and swing through your legs, bringing the kettlebell to shoulder height and then back through your legs again. Think of literally snapping your hips forward when you swing and squeezing your butt at the top of the movement. Remember, it’s more about your lower body than your arms.
3. Star Jumps
The star jump is a deathly cardio move, and you’ll get out of breath really fast, but these jumps are amazing for your legs and butt. You basically have to start in a closed-leg narrow squat, and then explosively jump up, spreading your legs and arms in the air like a star. Hence the *star* jump. Get it? You might think you look stupid doing these, but you’re working your inner thighs and your butt while burning calories at the same time, so these have SO many benefits. Basically, just stop whining and start star jumping.
4. Dumbbell Split Squats
If you don’t have dumbbells, you can do these without them, but we like adding a little weight to make these more effective than just using your bodyweight. Holding a dumbbell at each side (think 10 or 12 pounds per hand), stagger one leg on a bench or chair behind you, and keep the other leg out in front of you like an elevated lunge. Then, descend up and down, keeping your posture straight the whole time and just moving your hips to lower your body down. Extend the knee to return to your starting position, and try to get 5-10 reps on each leg. This one’s less about speed, so take your time here.
5. Jump Squats
Now that we’ve slowed down for a minute, it’s time to get your heart rate back up, and jump squats will do this within seconds. Drop the weight and start in a squat position, keeping your knees behind your ankles and your posture straight. Then, jump up, straightening out your legs and landing back in your squat. Try to do as many as you can without resting, and if you really just can’t, do basic air squats as fast as you can. Jump squats basically work all your leg muscles while burning calories, so there’s a lot going on here. In other words, they work.
6. Lateral Walking Squat
The walking squat is called a burnout move, which basically means that it uses the muscles you’ve just been working and literally burns them out, so you’ll be sore AF tomorrow and probably won’t be able to sit down without holding onto something. Best feeling, I know. Start in a squat position and walk your feet laterally in one direction while staying low. Try going for five steps to the right, pausing for a few seconds, and then doing five steps to the left. If these don’t burn like hell, you’re not going low enough. If they feel like you’ll be limping home from the gym afterwards, you’re probably doing them right. Have fun walking tomorrow.