Everyone’s been obsessing over abs and arms recently, but why would you start neglecting your lower body right as bikini season starts? I mean, if you thought leggings showed the world everything you’ve got, imagine what your booty shorts and swimsuit bottom will show if you don’t work on toning your butt and legs. This workout can be done anywhere and you don’t need any equipment whatsoever, so like, you have no excuse not to start right now. You can add weights if you want the extra credit or extra butt lift, but let’s start with the basics. Here’s how to sculpt your butt and legs for summer:
The bodyweight air squat is like the tall cold brew of butt exercises. It’s not anything fancy and there’s nothing complicated added to it, but it does the damn trick and that’s what matters. Start by standing your feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart. Sit your butt back into a squat, as if you’re sitting on a chair or using a Bonnaroo Port-A-Potty. Try to get to knee-level or below, and don’t let your knees go in front of your toes. Keep your weight in your heels and keep your chest up. Think public bathroom stance. You get the point.
Regular lunges are amazing for your legs, but we love curtsy lunges because they hit your outer thighs and butt in a way that forward lunges just don’t. Just like a regular lunge, you start standing up with your feet hip-width apart, but instead of stepping forwards, step your left left behind you, diagonally behind your right leg while bending your knees into a lunge. Push through the right heel to stand, and sweep your left leg out to the side. Then do the same thing on the other side. If you’re not feeling the burn after a few reps, go lower.
Jump squats are exactly what they sound like, and they’re super effective in getting your heart rate up while activating the muscles in your butt and legs. Do the same air squat that we talked about before, but this time, when you get low in your squat, jump up into the air as high as you can while straightening out your legs. Land back on the floor in a squat position and keep going. Try to get 20 reps, or put yourself on a 20-30 second timer. You should feel these pretty quickly.
Hip bridges are one of those moves you def don’t wanna do when some 80-year-old in a Hooters tee is hovering over your yoga mat, but if you’re relatively alone in the gym or just at home, this is a great toning exercise for your butt. Start by lying flat on your back with your knees bent and your heels a few inches away from your butt. Slowly lift your hips up and then lower them back down to the ground. Repeat for 20 reps, then pulse at the top for 10 seconds. You’re essentially thrusting your pelvis into the air, but this move will literally give your butt a lift, so we’re not sorry.
Lateral Skater Hops
Usually, betches would only entertain the idea of skating if it involves a date with a hot guy or like, a sick Instagram opp in Bryant Park. We’re making an exception for this exercise because it’s easy to learn, burns calories, and tones your legs. Start in a slightly squatting position, then jump your whole body to your right foot as far as you can, landing on your foot. Try not to touch the left foot down as you bend your knee, then jump back across to the left to land on your left foot. Go side to side for 45 seconds with a little hop in the middle, and remember to stay low to keep your legs activated.
Donkey Kicks don’t look cool or classy in any sense, but they’re actually so much harder than they look—so if anyone’s judging, I’d like them to try a few. This move is pretty tough on the ankles, so if you have an injury, you can do this without a jump. The idea is to start in a downward dog position with your hands on the floor in front of you. Then, jump your legs upwards toward the sky, using the muscles in your butt and legs to lift you off the ground. Land back with your feet on the ground as lightly as you can, then do at least 10 more reps without breaks in between.
There are a lot of random workout trends and weird body goals that go in and out of style, but in 2017 everyone wants a good butt, no questions asked. I mean, ever since it became acceptable to go out in leggings and to wear bikinis that are made with less material than your red string bracelet from Birthright, the butt has really taken its place as one of the most important body parts. With summer coming up, the clock is fucking ticking, so get off your ass and get it toned and perky in time. Do each of these seven moves for 45 seconds each, then repeat the circuit another 2-3 times total for a kickass workout, pun intended (and the only acceptable occasion to use the word “kickass”).
1. Goblet Squats
Goblet squats sound scary, but they’re just regular squats that you’ll do while holding a kettlebell for added weight. We’re not hating on bodyweight squats, but you’ll see results so much faster while holding a heavy weight, so why do 500 normal squats when you can get a perkier butt by doing like 20 weighted ones? Exactly. Stand holding a kettlebell at your chest (15-40 pounds) with the horns facing downward. With your weight in your heels, squat down until your hamstrings are on your calves and remember to keep your chest and head up to avoid hurting your back. Pause for a second at the bottom, then come back up while squeezing your butt to activate your
thot powers muscles.
2. Split Squats
Split squats are different than conventional squats because they focus on your right and left sides individually, so you can hit every part of the muscle. This move actually looks more like a lunge, but they really target the bottom of your glutes, so you’ll feel them tomorrow morning. Stand with your right foot forward and your left foot behind you, with both knees bent. Dip downward, bending your legs into a 90-degree angle, trying to get your back knee to touch the ground. Then, come back up by driving through your heel. Alternate reps on each side, and remember to keep the front knee in line with your front foot. Add a weight in your hands if you’ve got it down.
3. Kettlebell Swings
Kettlebell swings are one of those exercises that can be done SO wrong if no one explains what the fuck you’re supposed to be doing. First of all, this is a LOWER BODY movement, so if you feel yourself using your arms too much, you’re doing it wrong. You’re supposed to feel it in your butt. The idea is to grab a heavy kettlebell (25-50 pounds), and place it on the ground in front of you. Hinge your hips and lift the bell up, hiking it in between your legs so that it’s basically touching your butt. Then, swing the bell forward with your hips, making sure it stays above your knees on the way up and swings to chest-height. Then keep swinging in that same motion from between your thighs to your chest. If you find it easy to swing it that high up, get a heavier kettlebell. Your ponytail should be a hot mess by the end of the 45 seconds.
4. Single Leg Raises
Single leg raises might actually be the single best exercise to make your butt perk up like, three inches. Make sure you take your time on these, because it’s not a fucking race. Start by laying on your back with both feet on the ground and your legs bent. Raise your hips up to the sky, like you’re in a bridge position in fourth grade gymnastics, and then point one leg up while keeping the other bent. Dip your butt up and down for 10 reps, then hold at the top for 10 seconds before you switch sides. Remember to squeeze your butt to really use your muscle. If you’re not feeling the burn and you feel like you’re just humping the sky, you’re not doing it right, and it’s pretty embarrassing and everyone is judging you.
5. Sumo Jump Squats
Tired of the word squat yet? Spoiler alert: too fucking bad. They work. These squats are amazing because they target your inner thigh area while getting your heart rate up, so you’re toning your butt and burning calories at the same time. Start in a regular squat position, but with your feet turned outwards, like an awkward ballerina. Then, squat down, and when you come up, add in a hop, keeping your feet turned outwards. Keep jumping as much as you can without stopping. You should feel the burn on your inner thighs pretty fast.
6. Donkey Kicks
These might sound like a weird sex move, but they’re actually an amazing toning move that targets the muscles in your thighs and butt, so stop being so skeptical and start kicking. Start on your hands and knees with one leg straight out behind you with your knee at a ninety-degree angle. Press your leg straight up, and alternate sides. Once you do regular reps on each side a few times, pulse the leg upwards for 10-20 seconds. If your shoulders get tired from being on your hands, switch to your forearms and/or do some fucking arm workouts and stop being such a weakling.
7. Star Jumps
The star jump is a cardio move, which means you’ll be ending this workout by jumping and sweating. Don’t cry yet. The idea is to get your heart rate up while working your butt and your inner thighs at the same time. Start in a narrow squat with your feet together and hands in front of you. Then, explode up into a high star-shaped jump, separating your legs and arms in the air and then bringing them back together as you land in that same narrow squat. Make sure to actually separate your legs while your jumping, or else you’re defeating the purpose of the move. Good luck walking up the stairs tomorrow.