For a recent bachelorette party in Vegas, I packed the usual suspects: false lashes, my cutest cocktail dress, and my butt pad.
Go ahead and laugh. Yes, I have a butt pad. In fact, my mother bought it for me. It looks like gigantic, flesh-colored granny panties with foam butt cheeks attached to them. And while my self-esteem plummeted in my tween years thanks to the unsolicited gift, I guess I owe her a belated thank-you, because big butts are back in style.
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True, it's been a while since Sir Mix-A-Lot was singing about how his baby's got back and J.Lo was reportedly insuring her best ass-et for $27 million. But now sweet little booties like Pippa Middleton's are getting spanked (heh) by big-bottomed celebs like Christina Hendricks, Nicki Minaj, and leather-dress-ripping Kim Kardashian.
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And if being on-trend isn't a good enough reason to want more junk in your trunk, it turns out a bigger bottom is actually good for your health as well. A recent study by the scientists at Oxford University found that storing fat in your booty as opposed to your tummy reduces levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol, which prevents the hardening of arteries.
While that's all fine and dandy for the naturally well-cushioned, if you're like me and need a bit more help in the derriere department, check out these 6 butt workout moves. They'll give you more permanent results than a butt pad.
First, gear up. You'll need:
A bench or step that's lower than hip height
An exercise band loop (try Exercise Bands (Mini-Bands) in Green or Blue, $2.75-$2.95 each)
An exercise band (try Heavy Thera-Band Exercise Band, $14.95)
A small ball (a rubber ball, Pilates ball, or soccer ball are ideal)
BUTT WORKOUT NO. 1: STEP BACKS
• Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
• Hold one 15-pound weight in your right hand and hold it at your shoulder (parallel to your body).
• Step back with your left foot bending your knees until you're in a lunge position. Make sure your front knee doesn't extend over your toes.
• Step back up and squeeze your glutes.
• Repeat nine more times, for a total of 10.
• Switch sides; place the weight in your left hand and step back on your right. Again, do 10 repetitions.
Related: 7 Arm Exercises for Immediate Results
BUTT WORKOUT NO. 2: DEADLIFTS
• Hold a dumbbell in each hand in front of your body. Weights should be resting on your thighs.
• With your back and legs straight (or very slightly bent), reach toward the ground with your weights (flat back position). Only go as far as your flexibility will allow.
• Stand back up and repeat nine more times for a total of 10 repetitions.
BUTT WORKOUT NO. 3: STEP UPS
• Step up onto a bench/step and back down with your right foot 10 times. Make sure your knee is directly above your ankle as you step up.
• Switch feet and step up with your left foot 10 times.
• Want to challenge your abs while you do this? Interlace your hands behind your head. Note: If you are collapsing into your back (meaning that your spine is curving) when you step up, the bench/step you're using is likely too high.
BUTT WORKOUT NO. 4: SINGLE LEG SIT BACKS
• Step into your exercise band loop and slide it up your legs until it's above your knees. This will help you maintain balance as you do this move, says Borden.
• Raise your right leg and sit back into a squat position (while standing only on your left foot) like you're about to sit in a chair (you can place a bench or chair behind you so you'll know about how far to squat down). Hold this pose for 30 seconds.
• Do 14 more reps with your right leg lifted -- for a total of 15 and then repeat with your left leg lifted.
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BUTT WORKOUT NO. 5: HIP WALKS
• Step onto the center of your Thera Band and pick up the ends of the band in each hand.
• Crisscross the band so each end is in the opposite hand.
• Stand up tall and take 15 large steps to the right.
• Reverse directions and take 15 large steps to the left. Note: Make sure that as you step out to the side, your feet are not turned in or out. If you have a mirror in front of you, you shouldn't be able to see you heels. This will protect your knees, says Borden.
BUTT WORKOUT NO. 6: BRIDGING
• Lay on the floor face up with your knees bend and feet flat on the ground. Hands at your sides.
• Place your ball between your knees and hold it there tightly using your inner thighs.
• Tighten your abs and glutes and lift your pelvis off the ground toward the ceiling. Hold for 30 seconds.
• Repeat the bridge lift 20-40 times total until you really feel your glutes burning. • When you reach your last rep, squeeze the ball that's between your legs 20 times to activate your inner thigh muscles even more.
• Do two minutes of cardio and repeat this set of butt works (all six moves) three more times.