10 great butt-shaping exercises

FEEL THE BURN: Make ordinary lunges harder by elevating your back leg.
FEEL THE BURN: Make ordinary lunges harder by elevating your back leg.

The backside is one of the hardest parts of the body to tone up and shape because more often than not people are doing the incorrect exercises to really target the glutes.

These exercises are perfect for performing at home, and will hit just the right spot to help achieve a bikini-ready bottom.

1. Step-Up

All you need is a bench to do the step-up:

- Place your right foot firmly on the bench with your left foot directly under your left hip.

- Step up, straightening your right leg, bringing both feet completely onto the bench. Slowly bend your right knee, lowering the ball of your left foot back to the ground, keeping your right thigh engaged. For a more advanced version, you can kick the left knee up as you step up. Complete three sets of 15-20 reps on each leg.

    2. All Fours

    This barre-inspired move gives your booty a surprisingly tough workout:

    - Start on all fours with knees placed directly under the hips and elbows below the shoulders; legs should be touching. Round the back up toward the ceiling and pull abs away from the floor.

    - From there, lift one leg from the ground, keeping it at a 90-degree angle, and point toes up at the ceiling. Make tiny pulses upward for 15-20 repetitions.

    - For more of a challenge, flex the lifted foot, and pulse up with the energy in your heel for 15-20 more reps.

      3. Plank Leg-Lifts

      Doing these plank leg-lifts on an exercise ball further challenges your balance to help strengthen your core while you work your backside:

      - Lie on your belly on an exercise ball, and walk your hands out so the ball is underneath your shins. Your hands should be underneath your shoulders. '

      - Draw your navel toward your spine to engage your abs, which will help keep your spine straight and your body stabilised.

      - Lift your right leg into the air, then slowly lower it back toward the ball, but don't let it touch. This counts as one repetition. Keep your pelvis level throughout your reps.

      - Complete three sets of 10-12 reps with the right leg, and then repeat with the left.

        4. Pure Barre Leg and Upper-Body Lifts

        This exercise from Pure Barre targets thighs, love handles, and glutes:

        - Begin by lying down with your belly on the mat, toes together and knees apart.

        - Ground your palms on the floor, placing them on top of one another with your forehead resting on the back of the hands.

        - With your legs still floating off the ground, lift your forearms up in one motion.

        - Keep your back and seat engaged while you lift your upper and lower body together. Do this 10-15 times.

        - Now, stay lifted as you extend your arms back behind you to grab hold of your ankles.

        - Relax your shoulders and stay active in the stretch for 10 counts. Keep your whole body engaged, holding your highest position for the best stretch.

          5. Plie Squat

          Shake up your squat routine with the plie squat, which targets glutes and inner thighs:

          - Start in second position, with your legs opened wide to the sides and your toes turned slightly outward. Placing your hands on your hips, bend your knees, going as low as you can. Make sure your shoulders remain directly over your hips and your back stays in a straight vertical line. Use the mirror to monitor your posture, and do make sure to keep your heels directly below your knees to avoid harming the joint.

          - While holding second position, in a pulsing fashion, lower and raise your hips one inch for 10-15 reps.

          - Stay at your lowest point, reverse the emphasis of the pulse, and begin to lift your hips up one inch in a very tiny range of motion for 10-15 reps.

          - Now, extend arms in front of you (as shown) and hold for 20 counts at your lowest point.

            6. Elevated Lunges

            Whether on the ball or outside on the bench, these elevated leg lifts really work your butt:

            - Begin by placing the top of your left foot on the bench, with your right leg straight. Bend your right knee, engage your left glute, and lower your pelvis toward the ground. You want your right foot out far enough so that when you lower your hips, your knee stays directly over your ankle.

            - Straighten your right leg and rise back up to the starting position. Complete three sets of 10-15 reps on each leg.

              7. Side-Lying Leg Lift

              For a slight variation, try side-lying leg lift:

              - Start on your side with your legs extended, flexing both feet. Place your top hand on the ground in front of your abs and your supporting arm under your head. Make sure your bottom leg stays extended for the duration of the series.

              - Keeping the energy reaching out through your flexed heels, lift your top leg up about six to eight inches from the floor. From here, make tiny pulses upward 20 times. Holding your leg at the highest point of your lift, draw one-inch circles with your heel for 20 reps.

              - Keeping your top leg lifted, bend and straighten your knee. Do this 20 times while not letting your thigh lower as you press through the heel to lengthen your top leg to the straightened position. For an even greater burn, finish this series with lifts in a bigger range of motion, taking the foot all the way toward the ceiling and back down, 10-20 times.

                8. Superman Ball Lifts

                The Superman ball lift is a butt-challenging variation on your standard Superman:

                - Lie on your belly, and hold an exercise ball between your feet.

                - Engage your abs, and extend your arms straight out in front of you.

                - As you inhale, squeeze the ball and lift your knees, arms, and chest off the floor. Hold for a count of 10, and then slowly release your body back to the floor.

                - Repeat for a total of 10 lifts.

                  9. Elbow Plank Donkey Kick

                  Evolve your basic donkey kick into a full-body move. Working your glutes and hamstrings in an elbow plank will work your core. Toning your abs and your behind with one move is a win-win in my book.

                  - Begin in an elbow plank with elbows directly under shoulders, abs engaged toward the spine. Don't let the pelvis sag down or pop up.

                  - Lift right leg off the ground, bending your knee so the sole of your foot is toward the ceiling. Keep pelvis square to the floor. Don't let your pelvis twist.

                  - Press your right heel toward the ceiling as high as you can without moving your pelvis or low back. The motion will not be huge, but concentrated on the booty and hamstring.

                  - Lower the bent leg slightly, and repeat for a total of 10 repetitions. Then switch sides.

                  - Do two sets on each leg.

                    10. Lying Butt Lifts

                    Since this move requires no equipment, you really have no excuse to skip it! For a bigger burn, flex your butt for five seconds at the top of each move.

                    - Lie flat on your back on a mat with your knees bent and your arms at your sides. Feet should be hip-distance apart.

                    - Slowly raise your pelvis up toward the ceiling to a point where your body will be at about a 40- to 45-degree angle relative to the floor.

                    - At the top of the movement, be sure to really flex your butt for one second - try and make it a long second.

                    - Now slowly return to the start position to complete one.

                    - Do three sets of 12-15.


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