3 steps to a bootilicious butt!

Is your behind more low-low than J-Lo? Well, stop the drop and set your sights on a fabulous, fat-blasting workout from fitness guru Brad Schoenfeld.

If your routine has bottomed out and you don’t know where to turn, it’s time to kick it up a notch with Schoenfeld's 12-minute routine. Set aside three days a week (at the most), perform the trio of recommended exercises and you’ll have a behind to boast on the beach!

For many women, the backside is often the downfall of an otherwise fabulous figure. But you can kick that butt into shape with some tried-and-true techniques from Schoenfeld, the author of Look Great Naked (Prentice Hall Press) and Sculpting Her Body Perfect (Human Kinetics). He says the secret to getting the derriere of your dreams is working it from all angles.

The behind is made up of three separate muscles: the gluteus maximus, gluteus minimus and gluteus medius. The trick is to target each of these areas. And Schoenfeld stresses that it’s quality, not quantity that counts.

“It’s what you do and how you do it that counts – not how long you work out for,” he tells eDiets. “Less is more, provided you workout properly.”

Schoenfeld says that using improper form when exercising not only works the wrong muscles, but also sets you up for injury. That’s why we need to get educated when it comes to fitness.

Here are three important rules to keep in mind when you’re working the glutes:

1. Be careful doing exercises such as the stiff-legged dead lift and back kicks if you have previously injured your back. The muscles of the lower back are involved in these movements and can receive excessive stress. Avoid using weights with these exercises and check with your doctor before starting the routine.
2. To apply proper stress to your glutes, concentrate on contracting these muscles on every repetition - practice the movement without weights until it becomes second nature.
3. An excellent way to increase muscle tone of the glutes is with butt squeezes. This technique is both effective and convenient – just squeeze your glutes when you’re in the supermarket queue, watching TV, doing the ironing or lying in bed! Simply contract your glute muscles, hold the squeeze for as long as possible (aim for 30 seconds or more), then release. Once you are comfortable with the technique, try to do them in sets, counting each squeeze as one repetition. Perform three sets of 15 reps several times a week, and you’ll soon have buns of steel!

If you’re flat-bottomed rather than fat-bottomed and want to build up your bum, try 8 to 10 reps of the following exercises. If you are concentrating on muscle tone and endurance, perform 15 to 20 reps of each set.

Unilateral Hip Extension
Begin by placing your left knee on the bottom of an incline bench or on the seat of a chair. Bend your elbows and place your forearms across the top of the bench or chair, so they support your body weight. Slowly raise your right leg as high as comfortably possible, keeping it straight throughout the move. Contract your glutes and then reverse direction, returning back to the start position. After performing the desired number of repetitions, repeat the process on your left.

Standing Leg Curl
Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a wall or the back of a chair for balance. Slowly flex your right knee, stopping just short of touching your bum with your foot (go as far as comfortably possible). Contract your right hamstrings, and then reverse direction, returning to the start position. After performing the desired number of repetitions, repeat the exercise with your left leg. This exercise can be performed using ankle weights or a resistance band if desired.

Lying Abduction
Begin by lying down on your left side. Bend your left leg at a 90-degree angle and bring your left foot to rest underneath your right knee. Keeping your right leg straight, slowly raise it as high as possible. Contract your glutes, and return to the starting position. After finishing the desired number of repetitions, turn over and repeat the process with your left leg. For added intensity, attach leg weights to your ankles.

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