If you really want to perk up your peach, all-day-everyday squats aren’t going to cut it. You need to remember to target all the muscles in your booty, especially your hamstrings.
That’s because strong hammies lift your tush, power your cardio, and help prevent knee and low-back pain. While any exercise that trains them naturally recruits your glutes, the opposite can’t be said. To fully activate those muscles, you need to zero in on two movement patterns: hip extension (think deadlifts) and knee flexion (like leg curls).
Where to get started? Try this 15-minute circuit workout that targets those often-forgotten but oh-so-important muscles on the back of your thighs, created by Mike Robertson, C.S.C.S., president of Robertson Training Systems and co-owner of Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training in Indianapolis.
To try it out, follow the moves below. Crank though three sets of the first move, resting 60 seconds in between sets. Complete 2A and 2B as a superset: Perform each as instructed without resting in between, rest up to 60 seconds, and repeat for three total sets. Complete the last move the same as the first.
1. Broad Jump
How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart; push your hips back and bend your knees, lowering your chest to bring your arms straight behind you (a). Swing your arms overhead and extend your hips to leap forward (b), landing with your knees bent, arms in front of you (c). That’s one rep; do five.
2A. Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift
How to: Holding a 10-pound (or heavier) dumbbell in your right hand, stand on your left leg, knee slightly bent, right foot raised two inches (a). Bending at your hips, lower your torso and lift your right leg until your body forms a T, the weight under your shoulder (b). Return to start. That’s one rep; do 10. Repeat on the other side.
2B. Stability Ball Leg Curl
How to: Lie faceup with your calves and heels on a stability ball (a). In one motion, raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees, then pull your heels toward you until your knees are bent 90 degrees (b). Slowly reverse to return to start. That’s one rep; do 10.
3. Dumbbell Swing
How to: Grip one end of a 10-pound (or heavier) dumbbell in both hands and stand with your feet slightly wider than your shoulders. Push your hips back, knees slightly bent, and lower your chest to bring the weight between your legs (a). Push your hips forward to stand as you swing the weight to chest level (b). Return to start. That’s one rep; do 20.