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Trainers hail squats as the queen of butt-toning exercises. But if your knees are balky—they pop or grind as you drop into position—squats may be an unsuitable option.
That's okay: The squat queen can lose her crown to these joint-friendly, butt-blasting, derrière-toning moves. (And check out these other 6 cellulite-busting moves.)
To get the most *** for your butt—er, buck—complete one set through the full program, rest, then repeat one time.
Try to do the workout 3 days a week. Although the photos demonstrate the moves with resistance (using Resist-a-Cuffs), start without resistance.
This is a tough workout and you can expect some soreness initially; stretch and use foam rolling to massage any sore muscles.
When you're ready to increase the difficulty, try adding some resistance. (Get a flat belly in just 10 minutes a day with our reader-tested exercise plan!)
1. Donkey Kick Back
This exercise once had a bad rap for being *** the lower back. But Donkey Kicks have come a long way since the '80s,
when the leg was lifted high enough to pop a light bulb.
This updated Donkey Kick is not only safe, it actually helps strengthen your lower back, too. This version targets your core and the big muscles in your butt.
Start on all fours, palms under shoulders, knees under hips, and eyes on floor in front of you. Raise right back leg until even with torso.
Hold momentarily then slowly draw leg back to start. Repeat for 12 reps, then switch to left leg.
Make it easier: Prop your forearms up on a couch.
2. Side Leg Raise
There are six different muscles that work in concert to rotate your legs outward from the hip. This move lights a fire under the side parts of your rear, hips, and outer thighs.
Lie on left side, left arm flat overhead, and head propped up on left bicep; place right hand on floor in front of you to balance and brace yourself.
With both feet flexed, lift right leg to about a 45-degree angle—about 2 to 3 feet off floor. Hold momentarily. Slowly lower. Repeat for 12 reps, then switch sides.
Make it easier: Bend your knees and keep your feet together, only lifting your top knee up and down.
The move will resemble a clam shell opening—which is what this variation of the exercise is called.
3. Standing Hip Extension
Whether sitting at the computer, doing chores, or shopping, we spend an awful lot of time bending at our hips.
(Here are 3 stretches for tight hips.) This can lead to tight hip joints.
A Standing Hip Extension opens up those tight hip flexors and strengthens the lower back and the largest part of your butt.
Stand perfectly upright, hands on hip bones, feet shoulder-width apart. Flex through right foot, and lift it off floor and raise 2 feet behind you.
Slightly bend left leg. Hold momentarily then slowly draw right leg back to start. Repeat for 12 reps then switch legs.
Make it easier: Perform this exercise barefoot.
4. Standing Hydrant
The standing hydrant is an essential Barre exercise that can be converted from Barre to butt-blasting bombshell.
This exercise strengthens the core, hip flexors, and all parts of the butt.
Stand perfectly upright, feet shoulder-width apart, hands on hips. Lift left leg up and out to side with knee bent (imagine Fido and a fire hydrant).
Stop movement and hold momentarily when thigh is parallel to floor—knee will be even with hip. Slowly bring left foot back to floor. Repeat for 12 reps then switch legs.
Make it easier: Only lift the knee to half of the height shown in the photo.
5. Standing Lateral Tap
Remember "Slide" aerobics from 20 years ago? This exercise gives you all the goodness for your glutes of that program without any pain in the knees.
This exercise strengthens the fronts of the thighs, outer thighs, and the side parts of your rear.
Stand with knees slightly bent, feet shoulder-width apart, arms bent, and fists loosely clenched in front of you.
Slide left leg out to side as far as you can reach; drive left arm up and right arm back, keeping right knee slightly bent.
Hold momentarily. Slowly draw left leg back to start. Repeat for 12 reps then switch legs.
Make it easier: Keep your legs straight and lift your leg about one foot in the air, instead of sliding it out.
6. Front Kick
Sometimes, it just feels good to kick something! Releasing your aggression with a front kick isn't just good for your stress management,
it's also it's fantastic for your butt: This strengthens the core, hip flexors, fronts of the thighs, and largest part of your butt.
Stand perfectly upright, feet shoulder-width apart, arms bent with fists clenched loosely in front of you.
Lift right knee to hip height, and then extend foot out as if trying to kick something out of the way. Drop foot and return leg to start. Repeat for 12 reps then switch legs.
Make it easier: Only lift your knee to half the height and kick lower.