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Defy Gravity: Your Butt-Sculpting Workout Plan

Sculpt Your Backside

This tush-targeted workout takes the science of how to tone the three muscles in the glutes to the maximus. "Do all nine exercises for a 360-degree shape-up or pick a few based on your particular trouble spot," says Kate Albarelli, the creator of the signature Figure 4 class at Pure Yoga in New York City, who designed these proven butt blasters. (That's Albarelli demonstrating the moves.) To shape more curves, try the Lift It! trio. Tighten your rear with the Shrink It! moves. Got saddlebags? Focus on the Trim It! section. Do two sets of each move you choose three times a week on nonconsecutive days.

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Lift It: Carving Curl

Targets gluteus maximus and hamstrings

  • Lie facedown on floor with head on folded arms, squeezing a 1-pound dumbbell or rolled-up towel behind bent left knee, foot flexed. Tuck pelvis to flatten out low back.
  • Lift bent left leg a few inches off floor; lower. Do 20 reps.
  • Switch sides, repeat.

Lift It: Bend and Extend

Targets gluteus maximus and hamstrings

  • Stand in front of chair, bend over and place left hand on seat, right forearm atop chair back; tuck pelvis and extend left leg behind you, foot flexed.
  • Pulse left leg 10 times (lift and lower by 1 inch).
  • Keeping left leg lifted, bend knee and then extend 10 times; then trace 5 clockwise and 5 counterclockwise circles with leg.
  • Hold leg lift for 5 counts. Switch sides; repeat.

Lift It: Swaying Bridge

Targets glutei maximus, medius, and minimus, and hamstrings

  • Lie faceup on floor with knees bent, feet flexed with heels on floor and arms by sides; step heels out so legs are slightly wider than shoulder-width.
  • Lift hips so body forms a line from rib cage to knees (bra line stays on floor). Lower. Do 10 reps.
  • With hips lifted, sway hips from left to right as you squeeze glutes. Do 20 reps, alternating sides.
  • With hips lifted, do 20 pulses.

Shrink It: Slimming Swirl

Targets glutei maximus, medius, and minimus, and legs

  • Stand with heels together, toes out, holding chair back with right hand. Lift heels (still touching) off floor; bend knees 90 degrees out to sides.
  • Maintaining pli?, tuck pelvis as you squeeze glutes and then arch your back slightly. Do 10 reps.
  • Draw 10 clockwise circles with hips, squeezing glutes to tuck position at 12 o'clock. Do 10 counterclockwise circles; finish with 10 more tucks.

Cross Your Legs

Targets glutei maximus, medius, and minimus and hamstrings

  • Start on floor on all fours.
  • Lift bent left knee to hip level so that it's pointing slightly out to side as hips stay even. (Tuck pelvis under so that your back is not overextended.) Do 20 pulses, lifting and lowering left leg 1 inch.
  • Next, cross left knee behind right knee and then lift if out to left side at hip level. Do 10 reps.
  • Do 20 pulses, foot flexed. Switch sides; repeat.

Door Hinge

Targets glutei maximus, medius, and minimus

  • Standing, bend at hips to rest right forearm on chair back, and squeeze a rolled-up towel behind left knee, foot flexed; place left hand on hip
  • Tuck pelvis, lift left knee out to side; bring knee in toward chest and then behind you. Do 10 reps.
  • With knee behind you, do 20 press-back pulses: Bring left leg toward right 1 inch, then back again. Switch sides; repeat.

Trim It: Clamshell

Targets glutei maximus, medius, and minimus

  • Lie on right side and bend knees 45 degrees so they are in front of you; lift feet 12 inches off floor.
  • With heels together, raise left knee so it points up (clamshell position); lower knee. Do 10 reps.
  • Return to clamshell; keeping left knee raised, extend and then bend left leg 20 times. Return to clamshell, do 10 pulses (lift and lower left knee by 1 inch). Switch sides; repeat.

Trim It: Second-Position Pulse

Targets glutei maximus, medius, and minimus, and legs

  • Stand with feet wide, toes turned out, left hand holding chair back for support, right hand on hip.
  • Bend knees 90 degrees out to sides and, maintaining squat, open legs wider by pressing knees back 1 inch; then bring them back. Do 10 presses.
  • Lift toes off floor in squat position; do 10 more presses.
  • Finish with 10 presses on toes with heels lifted.

Trim It: Fly Trap

Targets back; abs; obliques; glutei maximus, medius and minimus; and legs

  • Stand with right hand on chair back for support.
  • Hinge forward at hips, lifting left arm in front of you and left leg behind you (body parallel to floor).
  • Side bend to left at waist, bringing left elbow to left hip and bending left knee. Extend. Do 10 reps.
  • From elbow-to-hip curl position, do 20 pulses, lifting and lowering bent left leg by 1 inch. Hold final rep for 5 counts. Switch sides; repeat.

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