Despite the band Queen’s take on the female derriere, some people might prefer to have a small tush. This is particularly true if the glute muscles are mostly covered in a pillowy, protective layer of fat. It might allow you to sit comfortably and cushion you for hard landings, but when there’s too much of good thing, you may want to take action with a smaller butt workout.
Making your butt smaller most likely will require you to lose weight, which is best accomplished through calorie control and supported by exercise. While there’s no such thing as “spot reduction” — being able to target a specific area for trimming down — says ExRx.net, some exercises will firm up your rear while a healthy, calorie-controlled diet will help shrink those fat cells.
Climb on Up
If you want to reduce the dimensions of your butt, you could hardly do better than climbing stairs, whether of the real-life variety or on a machine such as a stair stepper or stepmill.
The action of climbing engages the glutes, hamstrings, calves and abs, toning your entire lower body. Put in 30 minutes a day, five days a week, and you’ve achieved the aerobic portion of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. What’s more, you’ll have burned a substantial number of calories: 237 calories in a half-hour on a step machine.
1. Squats: An Oldie But Goodie
Squats are perhaps the most underappreciated of the great exercises. They deserve to be in the exercise hall of fame next to push-ups and sit-ups because they so thoroughly activate the lower body, including the glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps.
HOW TO DO IT: Stand with your feet at hip width and your back straight but not rigid. Slowly bend at the knees while taking care to keep them over your ankles; this helps prevent injury. As you descend to a sitting position, let your weight shift to your heels while getting as close to the floor as you can. Hold the position at the bottom before returning to start position.
2. Lateral Step-Up
By requiring the hip muscles to move laterally, this exercise activates the two smaller glutes, the medius and minimus, reports the American Council on Exercise.
HOW TO DO IT: Find a step or a step platform. It should be at a height at which your thigh is parallel to the floor when you place your foot on it. Center your right foot on the step and exert force downward through the entire foot, activating the right hip muscles as you straighten the leg. Lower slowly to starting position and repeat with the other leg. You may hold dumbbells in each hand as you do the exercise.
3. Single-Leg Romanian Deadlifts
This exercise maximizes side-to-side hip movements while strengthening the core and supporting balance.
HOW TO DO IT: Hold a dumbbell in your left hand and plant the right foot firmly on the ground. With a straight but flexible back, slightly bend the planted leg and swivel forward, extending the left leg behind you while letting the dumbbell serve as a counterweight. When your torso is parallel to the floor, lower leg back and return to starting position.