Okay, I’ll admit it: I stare at my own butt in the mirror sometimes. Not because it’s J-Lo gorgeous or anything like that (though it’s not bad), but because I’m in my 40s—an age that can begin to spell trouble for one’s derriere.
“The buttocks get their lift and shape from the gluteus maximus muscle,” says Mehmet Oz, MD. “After 40, fat cells begin to proliferate and grow larger.” At the same time, you begin to lose muscle mass.
Even if you’re under 40, there’s a good chance you’re a wee bit obsessed with your rear view. “The butt is a trouble spot for many women,” says Sharecare Fitness Expert Kristy Lee Wilson.
Happily, it isn’t hard to firm and shape your bum, no matter what your age. If you’re tired of squats, lunges and step-ups, fear not: there are lots more to try. One of my favorite mini-routines is this fun, creative 3-move bootie firmer that celeb trainer Jeanette Jenkins introduced on the Dr. Oz Show.
No matter which moves you do, pay attention to your form to get the best results. “The key to really targeting the butt is to always make sure you are pushing through your heels instead of the toes,” says Wilson. “Pressing through the toes will target the front of the thighs more, so always concentrate on pressing through the heels when standing up from squats, lunges, deadlifts and other butt exercises.” Small detail, yes—but it delivers a really big return.
There are other benefits, besides looks, to building a strong bootie. “Your glutes are your body’s largest and most powerful muscle group,” says NASM Elite Trainer Ricky Moore. “The larger muscles will burn the most calories to help you lose more body fat,” says NASM Elite Trainer Barb MacGillivary. “Building those big muscle groups will also enable you to burn more calories at rest.” Translation: Firm your butt and you’ll automatically torch more calories throughout the day.
Turns out J-Lo’s in her 40s, too. Something tells me she knows this stuff already.
What body part are you most concerned about toning up, and how do you do it? Let us know in the comment section below.
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File under: Fit Friday