Sexy bottoms are in great demand.

Just look at JLO and Beyonce strutting their stuff… And can you believe people are even having bottom implants! So I’ve put together a workout that will round, lift and shape your butt – so you’ll look great in a pair of tight leggings or jeans.

However, it’s not all about aesthetics (no really!), your glutes are actually a key muscle in your core and they help to stabilise your back and when conditioned will help avoid backache, improve your running and sports performance and simply and crucially help you to stand up straight.

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Your glutes

Your glutes are actually formed from three muscles, these are the glute maximus, glute medius and glute minimus. In order to achieve great glute look and function, you have to target your bottom with specific exercises.

I’ve put together the ultimate bottom shaper exercises. It’s a do anywhere routine using ankle weights as its only tools. Do the workout one to two times a week, or perform one or two exercises three to four times a week.

Whichever option you choose – perform 4 sets of 20 reps per leg and take 30 seconds between sets. Within a few weeks you’ll begin to see your ‘butt lift’!

Kick it!

How to perform:

With the ankles weights in position, set yourself on all fours, with your wrists under your shoulders.

Pull one leg in toward your chest and point your toes. Then extend it behind you and up. Keep your core braced and maintain the natural curves of your spine.

Shape a great bottom_1

Lift it Up!

How to perform:

Assume the same starting position as for the first exercise. Extend one leg out so that your toes touch the floor. Next lift the legs whilst squeezing your glutes. Keep your abs tight and spine in neutral.

Try to keep your pelvis parallel to the ground as you lift and lower your legs i.e. don’t roll in or out with the leg movement.

Shape a great bottom_2

The Clam

How to perform:

Assume the same starting position as for the first exercise. This time lift your one leg up and out to the side to a 90-degree angle, then down again toward the floor, but don’t touch it. As before avoid arching the back and keep your core strong.

Shape a great bottom_3

Perk it Up!

How to perform:

Assume a similar starting position as for the previous exercise, but this time bend your arms and rest on your elbows. Clasp your hand together under your nose.

Maintaining a strong downward angled body position, contract your abs as you lift one leg up. Point your toes upwards and keep your knee bend at 90 degrees.

Perform 20 little pulses, from the hip moving the leg up and down, using small and quick movements. Keep squeezing your glutes throughout. To hit your butt even more flex your foot.

Shape a great bottom_4

Whichever option you choose – perform 4 sets of 20 reps per leg and take 30 seconds between sets. Within a few weeks you’ll begin to see your ‘butt lift’!

Your muscle groups

Shape a great bottom_5

Gluteus Maximus

The gluteus maximus is the key muscle to target when shaping your bottom. It is also the largest and most powerful muscle of the body.

As well as providing a convenient cushion to sit on (!), your glutes extend your thigh to the rear, for example when back heeling a football or performing a hamstring curl.

The glutes are vital in exercises such as squats and dead-lifts. You use your glutes in all the exercises in this workout.

The Adductor group

Adduction means to ‘draw into the midline of your body’ and the adductor group, which consists of adductor longus, brevis and magnus (meaning ‘long’, ‘short’ and ‘biggest’) draw your thigh inwards.

Located on the inside of your thighs, these muscles contribute to both leg size and function and are especially important for hip stability when squatting and running.

Muscles that abduct the Hip

There are a number of muscles that are involved in hip abduction – meaning to ‘take away from the midline of your body. A sidekick in martial arts is a good example of hip abduction.

Piriformis, sartorius and tensor fascia lata (TFL for short) are the primary muscles responsible for drawing your leg outwards – you’ll use these during the clam.

Muscles that Flex the Hip

Flexing your hip forwards for example, when kicking, is the job of the psoas major, minor and iliacus muscles on the front of the hip.

Collectively called iliopsoas or more commonly the ‘hip flexors’, these muscles help to stabilise your hips and are very active in many abdominal exercises such as hanging leg raises, however they contribute very little to relative leg mass.

You’ll use these during the Kick it! Move as you pull the leg back into your body.

Hamstrings

The main muscles on the back of your thigh are the hamstrings. These are made up of three muscles – semimembranosus, semitendinosus and biceps femoris.

These muscles flex your knee and also work together with your gluteus maximus to extend your hip. You’ll be using them during most of the above exercises.

Francesca Giacomini is a Pilates specialist, nutrition advisor, fitness model and writer. Originally from Rome, she now lives in London where she devotes her working life to helping her clients achieve optimal health.

Her motto is beautiful body, sharp mind and clear soul. Beauty within.

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