Aerobic Exercise That Shapes the Glutes
Cardio is an important part of many people’s workouts. It’s great for burning fat, strengthening your heart and lungs and keeping you healthy. But, if you want to tone and shape your butt, you need to choose the right cardio workout. While swimming, for example, is a terrific cardio conditioning exercise, it won’t do a lot for your butt; so, if you want to work your heart and your butt — choose your workout wisely.
The main function of your gluteus maximus, glutes for short and better known as your butt, is to extend your hip. To really challenge and shape this muscle, it needs to be worked through a wide range of motion. The bigger the range of motion, the more effective an exercise will be. Choose exercises that involve taking your hip from a flexed or forward position into an extended position against resistance. Make sure you push down through your heels and try to tense your butt to maximize glute activation.
Cross trainers use an elliptical leg action, which is often combined with a back-and-forth arm action. As you push down and back through your feet, your glutes and hamstrings contract to drive you into your next step. If the machine you are using allows you to adjust the height of each step, choose a high setting to maximize the benefits to your glutes and also make sure there is sufficient resistance for you to work against. Keep your torso upright, your feet flat and really push back hard. This will make the movement even more glute-centric.
A stepmill is like a never-ending staircase that revolves as you climb. Like step ups, using a stepmill provides a great glute workout as well as burning lots of calories. The step height on stepmills is usually fixed, but you can crank up the glute-shaping effects of your workout by taking two steps at a time. Do not use your arms to haul yourself up; this only reduces the load on your legs and makes the exercise less effective. If you do not have access to a stepmill, try performing step ups on a high step instead.
Whether you choose to work out indoors or out, walking uphill is an effective way to work your glutes. You have to extend your hips powerfully to keep driving yourself upward against gravity and that means your glutes will be working very hard. The steeper the hill, the harder your glutes must work. You can make hillwalking even more challenging by wearing a backpack or weighted vest. If you choose to walk on a treadmill, do not hold onto the handrails, as you’ll only make your workout less effective.