There's no denying it: the ass dominated 2014. After all, they’re, um, hard to miss. It may be also be the fact that sheer everything — and now the full-body-nude-leotard — have become de rigeur. But before a weird informercial-fueled impulse lures you into opting for cushioned, enhancing panties (petrifying, we know, but it's actually a real thing), shift your fitness focus to the behind. To seriously step up our gym habits, we asked Equinox’s Becca Pace to show us how to carve out a 2015-worthy butt.
1st Position Plie
"Start with your heels up, then press them into one another. Bend the knees over the toes and tuck the tailbone down, bringing the hips forward. Bring the knees slowly to center so they touch, then using the glute muscles pull the knees wide (as if to draw a line from wall to wall). This exercise targets the buttocks (glutes), the abductor muscles (inner thighs), as well as the hip flexor muscles. Do 15-20 pulls back."
2nd Position Plie
"Start with your knees lined up over the toes, hip bones facing forward, and tailbone down. A common mistake is to over-turn out the feet, causing the knees to fall in. This can cause knee pain! Lift one heel high and sit deeper in the legs ('grande plie’), switch heels and sit deeper in the legs. As you move from right to left drop the torso to the center of your mat, feeling the buttocks and inner thighs. Do 15-20 repetitions with each heel lifted. "
Bridge with Leg Extensions
"Start on the back with feet beneath the knees, shoulder blades pressing down, arms to the sides. Lift the hips. Press up to the balls of the feet and make sure they line up directly beneath the knees. Extend one leg to the ceiling. Keep lifted leg straight and point the toes. Slowly lower the hips, then lift – pressing into the ball of the foot. This exercises works not only on strength in the buttocks, hamstrings, and lower back/core, but also works flexibility. Do about 10-12 each leg."
Frog Leg Lifts
"Lie on your stomach, placing the forehead either on a yoga block or on stacked fists. Contract the abdominals. Turn hips out, and pull heels together so they touch. Hips stay connected to the floor, and spine stays neutral. Lift the heels toward the ceiling, pulling as much of the thigh off the floor as possible. Squeeze buttocks at the top and hold for a moment. Lower the thighs down slowly, keeping heels touching. This exercise strengthens the buttocks, lower back, core and hamstrings. Common mistakes: pulling the chin up and ‘breaking’ the neutral neck position. Lifting too fast allowing the hips to lift as well. Do about 10-12 slowly with control."
Back Attitude Leg Lift
"Start in 1st position plie. Shift weight into one leg, keep the standing leg bent. Connect the big toe of the lifted leg to the back of the standing heel and turn the knee out. Keep the moving leg in the same position when lifting (aim to lift the outside of the knee higher than the heel). Slowly lower to starting position. This exercise targets the buttocks, the hamstrings, lower back, and hip flexor muscles. Do 10-12 repetitions on both legs."
Parallel Leg Lifts
"Begin in 1st position plie’. Step leg back directly in line with the hip and shoulder and turn the leg in so that all 5 toes are facing the floor; flex the foot (pull toes toward the shin, push the heel away from the leg). Pull shoulders back and aim collarbone to the ceiling. Lift the heel toward the ceiling (it may be a very small movement), keep the moving leg straight at all times. Standing leg can be straight or bent slightly. This exercise targets the lower back, buttocks, and hamstrings. Common mistakes: bending the moving leg; allowing the moving leg to turn out (not all 5 toes are facing down); collapsing forward in the upper body; and lifting the leg too high. Do 15-20 each leg."
Down Dog Split Leg Lifts
"Start in Down Dog (lift hips high and evenly distribute weight into the hands and feet). Point one foot and slowly lift the leg to the highest point without kicking to get there and control the leg back to starting position. Make sure that both shoulders stay wrapped down toward the floor (don’t allow one shoulder to pull up as the leg lifts). Do 12-15 each leg."