Butt-Kicking Exercises for the Swimsuit Season

It may be hard to think about swimsuit weather when just coming off the throws of winter, but before you know it, summer will be upon us and you’ll want to show some skin. Tone up your backside with these simple exercises that can be done anywhere, anytime. For best results, do them every other day (starting now!) or vary the type of exercise from day to day to let muscles rest and recover. Focus on using your butt muscles when doing them. You can use common household, office, or outdoor items as your weights. For example, in the office, lift boxes of copy paper; outdoors: rocks, logs, a water bucket, or potted plants; in your home: full laundry basket, stacks of books, boxes or canned goods.

Deadlift: With your knees slightly bent, hinge forward at your hips lowering the weight down until a slight stretch is felt in back of your legs. Maintain a straight back while performing the movement. Hinge back up using the hips to drive the motion, and squeeze your butt when standing. Do 12 reps.

Squat: Stand with feet hip-width apart and toes pointed straight ahead. Keeping your chest up and feet straight, squat down by bending your knees and hips, sitting back as if you were sitting in a chair, keeping your abs tight for stability. Keep your knees in line with your toes and don’t let the front knee stray past your toes as you lower. Push through the heels to return to the starting position. Do 12 reps.

Split Squat: From a standing position, take a long step forward as if performing a lunge. The heel of your back foot should be raised. Keeping your torso straight, lower slowly until your back knee almost touches the floor, then push back up. Keep your knees in line with your toes, especially on your front leg, and don’t let your front knee stray past your toes as you lower. Do 8-10 reps per leg.

Bridge: Lie on your back on the floor with knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and toes shoulder-width apart and pointing straight ahead. Using your arms for stability, push down through your feet and squeeze your glutes, lifting your pelvis off the ground until your knees, hips, and shoulders are in line. Slowly lower your pelvis to the floor, repeat. Do not raise the hips too far up off the floor, as this places excessive stress on your lower back. Make sure at the end position, your knees, hips, and shoulders are in alignment and gluteal muscles are fully contracted. Do 10-15 reps.

Standing Kickbacks: Use a resistance band around your ankles for best results. With your hands on your hips, shift all your weight onto your left leg and place your right toes on the ground about an inch diagonally behind your left heel, so there is tension in the band. Squeeze your abs and tuck your pelvis under as you kick your right leg back about 6 inches keeping your leg straight. Return right foot to the ground, keeping tension in the band. If you feel your lower back arching when you kick, make the movement smaller. Try not to put any weight in the leg that's kicking as it comes back down to the ground. Do 8-10 reps and repeat on other leg.

Kneeling Kickbacks: On your hands and knees with a flat back, kick one leg straight back while contracting the glute muscle when your leg is fully extended. Increase intensity by placing a resistance band around the arch of your working leg, securing it with your hands. Do 8-10 reps and repeat on other side.

Jennifer Slaboda