Here’s How to Make Rear Exercises Way More Effective

Those lunge and squat exercises that are designed to tone your butt can be more effective if you think about breaking out of the front-to-back plane that limits many exercises. Changing the angle of your body and moving in more than one direction uses smaller muscles when you shift your weight. Try these modifications, and you’ll improve your range of motion to help your body meet everyday challenges (like catching yourself when you slip on icy sidewalks).

For instance, if you’re engaged in a lunge series, think about adding a side lateral lunge to the forward lunge and backward lunge. Or if you’re doing jump squats, start by facing forward and then jump again, pivoting your body to the right. This multi-dimensional trick also works with planks. Starting in a high plank or elbow plank, pick up one arm and leg at a time and rotate your body to move into a side plank with one arm on the ground and another towards the sky.

Not all lunges and squats can be adapted to this “around the world” trick, but don’t fret. Here are some toners that are guaranteed to shape your booty.

Weighted (or non weighted) Lateral Lunge

Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart while holding a pair of kettlebells at your chest (optional). Take a large step to the left and sit your hips back. Lower your body until your left knee is nearly parallel with the floor while keeping your right leg straight. Go back to your starting position for one rep.

Complete four sets of 10 reps on each side.

Front Racked Reverse Deficit Lunge

Use a small riser, step or box for this move and stand up straight with a set of kettlebells in front of your chest. Lift your right knee up to hip height in front of your body and then lower it behind you until the ball of your foot touches the ground. Slowly lower your body until both knees form 90-degree angles. Return to your right knee-lifted position for one rep.

Complete four sets of 10 reps on each side.

Goblet Squat

Holding a weight in front of your chest, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and elbows pointing toward the floor. Keeping the weight at your chest, lower into a squat but keep your back straight. Your knees should be in line with your feet for the perfect squat. Straighten legs to starting position. That’s one rep.

Complete four sets of five reps.

Bulgarian Split Squat

Stand about two feet in front of a step for your starting position. Extend your right leg back and place the top of your foot on the step. Keep your shoulders back and chest up. Hips should be facing forward. Bend your left leg to lower your body until your knee gently touches the ground (or as far as you can go). Pause, then push with your left heel to return to start for one rep. (Optional: Hold a dumbbell in each hand.)

Complete four sets of 10 reps on each side.

Cossack Squat with Overhead Press

Begin by standing up straight with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Hold a kettlebell in each hand in front of your chest. Raise your right arm straight into the air. Take a large step to the left with your left foot and then sit your hips back and lower down. Your thighs should be almost parallel to the ground. Straighten your left leg and stand back up for one rep. This is a great core workout as well.

Complete four sets of 10 reps on each side.

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