“Believe in your butt!”
According to K.P. Poku, achieving a swimsuit-ready rear is as easy as a few targeted exercises and a positive, can-do attitude. But you don’t have to take his word for it.
One look at his well-toned clientele proves that this Uptown trainer knows how to get results. A favorite at Gold’s Gym on McKinney Avenue, we’ve convinced K.P. to share five of his top tush-tightening moves with us today. Follow along with this mini-workout to “help out the back side” (as he puts it) in time for the barest season of the year.
Five Rules: Build A Better Butt
“The first priority is to stay away from any injuries,” K.P. cautions, right off the bat. Beginners should start any of these exercises with no additional weight and a low number of repetitions, adding resistance and reps as they feel able. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for a spotter.
For a rear-toning squat, begin by standing with feet shoulder-width apart. Lower yourself as though you were sitting down in a (very short) chair, keeping your feet flat on the floor. Begin with sets of 5 reps, holding your squat for 10 seconds after each set.
For a classic stationary lunge, stagger your legs apart (like a pair of scissors) and move up and down by bending your knees. For ideal form, K.P. warns, “Make sure your front knee does not pass your toe.” Again, begin with sets of 5 reps, increasing as you feel comfortable.
At the top of the “so easy you have no excuse not to do it” category is the deadlift. K.P. says to think of this one “like picking up a box off the floor”. Beginning with legs shoulder-width apart, squat downward and lift up the imaginary “box”, keeping your back perpendicular to the floor. Modify this move by holding your squat position for 10 seconds after each set or increase the overall difficulty by beginning in a wide “Sumo” stance.
Also simple and oh-so-effective are step-ups – and they can be done just about anywhere, anytime. Using a set of stairs, a stool or a bench approximately 12” off the ground, step up and back down again, carefully monitoring your form. (The idea is not to ascend with momentum, but to work the muscles in your rear.) You can make this one more difficult by taking two steps at a time or using a slightly higher bench.
5. Broad Jumps
A field day favorite from elementary school, the broad jump is a great exercise for grown-ups, too. Starting in a slightly squatting position (feet flat on the floor), jump forward and land toe-to-heel, bending your knees into a full squat. Hold the squat for a few seconds before jumping again.
Before beginning this butt-busting workout, K.P. reminds us, “Never forget to stretch, because these exercises are no joke!” He continues, “If you are targeting your lower body, it’s best to do more exercises more frequently, like 3-4 times per week.” And finally, always remember to drink plenty of water during your workouts.