It’s official: Springy shoes that make your feet bounce or roll with each step don’t tone or strengthen your butt muscles, says the Federal Trade Commission. So if you fell for the hype and bought Reebok’s EasyTone or RunTone shoes, you may get back some or all of your money (no word yet about settlements from other toning shoe manufacturers).
Turns out what fitness experts have been saying is true: There are no shoe shortcuts to getting a butt like Pippa’s. But if you work at it — as Pippa is said to do with Pilates and aerobics — you can build stronger, firmer glutes. Here are more butt builders that really work:
1. Brush your teeth. But don’t just stand there watching toothpaste foam in your mouth. Get gorgeous glutes by placing your free hand on the sink for balance, tightening your butt, and stretching your right leg straight behind you so your foot is 6 to 9 inches off the ground (no leaning forward). Rise up and down on the toes of your left leg (try for 30 times), then switch legs and repeat.
2. Get in the pool. Water’s buoyancy reduces the pressure of your weight on joints and legs by up to 90%. Yet, it provides enough resistance to make you stronger because water is 800 times denser than air. Do the same workout for glutes that you’d do on land, such as leg lifts and squats. You can add water weights to boost muscle strengthening even more. A moderate intensity water workout easily pushes your heart rate high enough to produce cardio benefits, too — without that pesky sweat.
3. Go for a spin. Indoors or out, biking is a butt builder, but you can’t just cruise. Picking up the pace increases glute action without added pressure on your joints. Plus, faster pedaling burns more calories. A Harvard study revealed that overweight women are more likely to bike than walk because they find it easier. If you bike just 2 to 3 hours a week, you’re 46 times less likely to gain weight! Come winter, spin away while catching up on new Mad Men episodes. You might be surprised how fast the pedaling time flies by.
4. Get on the ball. If your butt and back are already in good shape, reverse extensions on a stability ball (straight leg raises as you’re positioned face down on the ball) will strengthen your glutes even more. If you’ve not done this before, have a trainer show you the proper technique so you don’t hurt your back.
5. Clean house. Whether you’re mopping the floor, washing the car, or scrubbing windows, you can get a lower-body workout with a couple of half-filled buckets of water. Try these squeaky-clean squats:
- Stand with one bucket handle gripped in each hand. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and your back, arms, and legs straight.
- Keep your arms straight down at your sides while you slowly squat by bending at the knee and hip joints. Lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the ground, then return to starting position. Repeat 10 times.
- To avoid injury, keep your knees centered over your toes when squatting. Do not allow your thighs to dip beyond parallel to the ground, and keep your back straight.