Frustrated by your butt? We dug up brand-new research from the University of North Carolina revealing the most 4 effective moves for sculpting a sexy, shapely backside. In fact, the exercises in this 10-minute routine beat out the competition by activating muscles up to 30% more than traditional moves. Add in regular cardio 4 to 5 times a week and researchers say you'll start noticing a firmer, shapelier rear in as little as 2 to 4 weeks. Bonus: Since a strong backside powers just about everything you do, from hiking up stairs to rushing through errands, you'll feel more energized all day long.
The Expert: Lindsay DiStefano, a certified athletic trainer, is completing a doctorate in human movement science at the University of North Carolina.
Workout at a Glance
What You Need: A medium resistance band ($5; spriproducts.com); optional: a set of 5- to 10-pound dumbbells and a chair.
How to Do It: Do 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise on each side. Do the entire routine twice through 3 times a week on nonconsecutive days. Try the Main Move first. If it's too difficult, do the Make It Easier option. For more of a challenge, try the Make It Harder version.
For Quicker Results: Do 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps every other day, and add 30 to 60 minutes of cardio, such as walking, jogging, or cycling, most days of the week.
Main Move: Side Leg Lifts
Lie on right side with legs stacked, right arm bent and head supported on right hand, left hand resting on floor in front of chest for balance. Raise left leg about 2 feet, keeping foot flexed and squeezing butt. Pause, then slowly lower. Complete all reps, then switch sides.
Make it Harder: Double up: Once top leg is lifted, raise bottom leg to meet top leg, pause, and then lower one leg at a time.
Make it Easier: Bend top leg to 90 degrees, and lift with leg bent.
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Main Move: Banded Shuffle
Stand with feet a few inches apart, and tie elastic band in taut loop around shins, hands extended to front at shoulder level. Step about 3 feet to right, then bend knees and sit back until thighs are almost parallel to floor, keeping knees behind toes. Staying low, step left foot to follow. Take two more shuffle steps to right, then switch directions and repeat.
Make it Harder: Bend knees only 45 degrees, and step out just slightly more than hip-width.
Make it Easier: After stepping with right foot, stand and lift left leg to side for a balance challenge. Repeat toward left, lifting right foot for a side lift.
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Main Move: Balancing Squat
Balance on right foot, left knee bent with foot lifted a few inches off floor in front. Keeping back straight, slowly sit back into right leg, bending right knee about 45 degrees. Pause, then press into right heel to stand up. Complete all reps, then switch sides.
Make it Harder: Complete the move holding a dumbbell in each hand.
Make it Easier: Rest left toes on floor and, if needed, use a chair or stool for balance.
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Main Move: Single Leg Deadlift
Balance on right foot, with knee soft and hands on hips, left leg lifted behind. With abs tight and back straight, hinge forward from hips, lowering left hand toward right foot. Pull through right leg to return to standing. Do all reps on right leg; switch sides.
Make it Harder: Reach both hands to floor, dumbbell in each hand.
Make it Easier: Rest hand on back of chair for balance.
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