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Top 10 Moves for a Tighter Tush

The Tighter Tush Circuit

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We asked ExerciseTV trainer Cari Shoemate, star of the DVD Long Lean Legs, to share her top 10 butt exercises. The result? This super-effective circuit for a killer rear view!

All you need is a pair of dumbbells (Shoemate recommends starting with 5 pounds and building up from there) and a chair. Perform these moves in a circuit (back to back, without rest) doing 15 reps of each move (unless otherwise noted). Repeat the circuit three times total. For best results, do the full workout 3 days a week, alternating days with 30 minutes (or more) of cardio and always maintaining a healthy diet, Shoemate says.

1: The Chair Squat

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The squat is one of the best exercises you can do to engage your glutes, and using a chair helps to ensure you use a full range of motion with great form.

How to do it: Stand in front of a sturdy chair with your feet slightly wider than hip distance apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Bend your knees, shift your hips back and pretend you are going to take a seat. Keep your weight in your heels and don't let your knees extend past your toes. Lower down until you are almost touching the chair, and then stand back up.

Form tip: Don't lock your knees when you stand up—always keep them 'soft'.

2: The Stationary Lunge

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Another classic butt lifter, the split stance of a lunge also adds an additional balance challenge, making your buns work even harder.

How to do it: Start standing, feet together, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Take a big step behind you with your left leg, lifting your left heel off of the floor, keeping most of your weight in your right leg. Slowly bend both knees, lowering your body straight down until both knees make 90-degree angles, being sure to keep your front knee in line with your ankle. Push down through your front heel as you slowly stand back up. (Do 15 reps on both legs).

Form tip: Be sure to keep your front heel pressed into the ground and avoid lunging forward. Always drop down and up out of your lunge instead.

3: The In n' Out Plyo Squat

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This challenging move will get your heart pumping and work your fast-twitch muscle fibers (they help with explosive movements) to help shape up your booty fast.

How to do it: (No dumbbells needed for this move.) Start standing with feet slightly wider than hip width apart. Bend your knees and sit hips back into a low squat. Using your arms, jump straight up until both feet leave the ground. Land softly with your feet together, and sit back into a narrow squat position. Repeat your jump again, landing with your feet wide next time. Alternate landing your jumps in a narrow and wide squat, bringing feet in and then out each time you lower.

Form tip: If you have a back or knee injury, you can omit the jump and just step out and in, Shoemate says. Or, if you want to make it harder, speed up your jumps and try to jump higher.

4: The Curtsy Lunge

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A variation on the classic lunge, curtsy lunges are a great way to tone your glutes and legs.

How to do it: Start standing with your feet hip width apart, and then, keeping your weight in your left foot, take a big step back with your right leg, crossing it behind your left leg (as if about to do a 'curtsy'). Slowly bend your knees and lower your body straight down until your front thigh is parallel to the floor, and both knees are bent at 90 degrees. Be sure to keep your abs drawn in and your back straight. Do 15 reps on one side, and then 15 reps on the other.

Form tip: As you lunge, keep your front knee right over your ankle and don’t let it roll in or out, your toes should point straight ahead.

5: The Plie Squat

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Ever wonder why ballet dancers have such great backsides? Try this ballet-inspired plie squat to find out!

How to do it: Start standing and hold one dumbbell at either end with both hands, with your feet slightly wider than hip width apart, and your toes turned out about 45 degrees. Lift your heels off the floor, balancing on the balls of your feet, bend your knees, and lower your body straight down, keeping your hips under your shoulders and your back straight. Make sure your knees open over, but not past, your toes as they bend. Slowly straighten back up and then lower your heels.

Form tip: Be sure to keep your abs drawn in tight to help with your balance during this move.

6: The Walking Squat

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This may not be the most efficient way to move around, but it's definitely an effective way to tone your glutes and keep your heart rate up!

How to do it: Start standing, with your feet hip width apart, holding one dumbbell (at either end with both hands) in front of your chest. Bend your knees, sit back into your hips and lower your body until your thighs are almost parallel to the floor, keeping your back straight and knees behind your toes. Hold this squat position and 'walk' to the left, stepping out with your left foot, and then your right (never let your feet come closer than hip width apart as you 'walk'). Take 15 steps to the left, then 15 back to the right.

Form tip: As you walk, keep your shoulders back and your abs tight to avoid hunching forward.

7: The Walking Lunge

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This move works all of your butt muscles and is one of the all-time best tush toners around, Shoemate says.

How to do it: Start standing with feet together, holding dumbbells on top of each shoulder. Take a wide step forward with your right foot as you bend your knees, lowering your body into a lunge. Both knees should bend at a 90-degree angle, and the front thigh should be parallel to the floor, keeping your knee behind your toes. Stand up out of lunge, and step your left foot into your right. Then repeat the move with your left leg. Repeat 15 times total, alternating legs each time.

Form tip: To help your balance, tighten up your core and focus on keeping good form rather than moving quickly.

8. Standing Hip Extensions

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You can do this move anytime, anywhere since you don’t need any weights. Shoemate recommends doing higher reps on this move to really feel the burn.

How to do it: Start standing, holding onto the back of a chair for balance. Extend your left leg behind you, flexing your foot, and turn your toes out slightly, and lift your leg until it is almost at hip height. Lower your leg back down, stopping just before touching the ground, and then repeat. Do 30 repetitions on the left leg, and 30 on the right.

Form tip: Don't lean over the chair as you lift your leg. Keep your body upright, abs tight, and focus on squeezing through your glutes and pushing out through your heel as you lift your leg.

9: Kneeling Kickback

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This move targets the spot where your glutes and hamstrings connect and helps to lift your buns with every rep.

How to do it: Start kneeling on the floor, on all fours, with your hips lined over your knees and your hands directly under your shoulders (arms extended). Place one dumbbell behind your right knee, and curl your right heel into your body, squeezing into the dumbbell to hold it in place. Flex your foot, and keeping your back flat, lift your right knee up behind your hip until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Slowly lower your knee almost all the way down to the floor, and then repeat. Be sure to do 15 reps on the right leg, and 15 reps on the left.

Form tip: Keep your lifted foot flexed the whole time and think about kicking up with your heel to really activate your glutes.

10: Bridge Pose

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This one is not as easy as it looks, but it's a great move for your buns, back, hamstrings, and abs.

How to do it: Start lying down on your back, with both knees bent and feet flat on the floor about hip width apart. Place one dumbbell in between your knees and squeeze it with your inner thighs to hold it in place. Slowly start lifting your pelvis, then lower back, middle back and then your upper back off the floor, pressing your hips to the ceiling. Slowly lower back down.

Form tip: Avoid 'popping' your body up and down, but instead roll through each section of your spine and concentrate on pushing your heels into the ground to work your glutes even harder.