There’s nothing quite like summer and its requisite cheeky lycra bikini bottoms to make you pay attention to your assets. While butt workouts and, um, butts in general are clearly trendy topics (remember butt week, you guys?), women have been searching for ways to trim, lift or tone their derrière long before Cher taught Tai about “Buns of Steel” in “Clueless.” But even with as much buzz as the booty gets, it’s still kind of a difficult area to target with workouts.
The exercises typically aren’t as straightforward as bicep curls for your arms or booking a spin class to build up your cardio. That’s why we were so intrigued when we came across the Better Booty 14 Day Challenge—in an easy-to-follow PDF print out, mind you!—that targets getting your butt in the shape you want. Exercise pro Sara Haley, who has an intense background in dance and post-natal workouts, created the two-week dare. “Almost all women complain about their booty,” she explains.
Performed on your hands and knees and repeated on both sides, the block of five exercises include The Booty Lift, Attitude, Fire Hydrant Kick (this one is a doozy), Leg Lift and Tail Wag. Sounds complicated, but the PDF shows Sara doing the exercises in “step 1” and “step 2” positions, so you can clearly follow along. Each exercise starts off at 14 reps and each day you add a new rep. That means by the end of the 14 days, you’ll be doing 27 reps of each exercise before you switch to the next.
Sara picked this series of exercises for a few reasons: they can all be done at home without any equipment (true), they target the glutes (true, the burn told us), and all require core stability so that you’re almost unknowingly working your abs at the same time. “So many ‘butt’ workouts are all about squats and lunges,” she says. “Both exercises are often done with poor technique, and people end up feeling them in their legs more than their butt. I wanted exercises that you would immediately feel in your booty.”
In all of the exercises, you are lifting and kicking your leg in different motions while the rest of your limbs lean against the floor. The only downside? You’re going to need a yoga mat or something soft on the ground to take the pressure off your legs.
Theoretically, if you’re following her recommendations, you should be able to see results in 14 days—a hell of a lot quicker than we’re used to with other exercise regimens.
Off the bat, we’ll be honest and say that we weren’t expecting it to be difficult. Workout instructions on paper always do seem a lot easier.
Starting off with 14 reps of each workout was more than manageable—honestly, kind of easy. The Booty Lift and Leg Lift were by far the two easiest moves, as they concentrated on simply lifting the leg up and down. When we added side to side movements and knee bends, that’s when the sweat started. Still, 14 reps fly by.
As the days progressed, we noticed that if you were really paying attention to your body position (she urges you to keep your hips square and a neutral spine), you would really feel a burn in your butt and the leg muscles right underneath it—i.e. an unexpected workout. But there were definitely days when we didn’t and noticed our legs were kind of just moving back and forth in the air, with no apparent choreography.
Days 14–20 weren’t bad, but once day 21 hit, you really had to push it through and tap into all those cheesy (but hey, pretty helpful) motivation quotes you pin on Pinterest. “I think women forget to ‘talk to their booty,'” says Sara. “You have to tell yourself to squeeze your butt—it’s not going to naturally turn on for you. I think the biggest misconception is that if you just do the work you’ll see results. [But] it’s not about just getting through the workout, it’s about how you do it. Slow down and focus on feeling the movement and perfecting the technique and you will see results quicker and better.”
You might want to power through, but at the end of the day, getting it done 3 minutes faster isn’t doing your bum any good.
The hardest exercise by far was the Fire Hydrant Kick, where you have to lift your leg like a dog on the fire hydrant (just go with it), then kick it out laterally while keeping your hips square and your upper body facing forward. This move feels totally foreign, and you start to feel the burn in your butt and inner thighs almost immediately. When we told Sara we found that exercise to be a little difficult, she agreed.
“The Fire Hydrant Kick is the most challenging because it’s difficult to keep the hips square to the floor,” she concedes. “The best way to get through this exercise is to come down to the forearm on one hand. Also, I think people often try to lift their leg too high. It’s okay if the leg is low, as long as everything else—shoulders, hips, back, etc.—is in place.”
The Results and Benefits
It only took us about 10 to 15 minutes a day when we were really paying attention to form. The cool thing about this workout is that there isn’t a given time frame—it can take you as long as you want per session. We added it in every day to different workouts (running, spinning, weights) and it was definitely a good supplement that didn’t feel pointless. Reason being, that we think we saw some results. Towards the end, the exercises didn’t leave us panting and while we didn’t experience a crazy drastic “my butt is three inches higher” look, we noticed enough of a lift to want to keep doing it and see even more results—enough that we might just add in a 15th day.