"While this exercise may seem simple, an ACE research study actually found this move to elicit the most muscle activation for the gluteus maximus and the gluteus medius when compared to other common butt-shaping exercises (squats, leg press, etc.)," says Jessica Matthews, exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise. "It also elicits a significant amount of muscle activity in the hamstrings (which is important for sporting a great-looking backside). Plus, it can be done just about anywhere so it's convenient for those who may be exercising while traveling or at home," Matthews says.
How to do it: Start on your hands and knees (quadruped position) with your knees below your hips and your wrists below your shoulders, fingers pointing forward. Keeping the core muscles engaged, slowly lift the left leg. Your knee should stay bent as you press your foot up toward the ceiling.
To ensure safety and effectiveness of this move, avoid sagging or arching your back by continuing to brace your core, and avoid rotating your hips by keeping the shoulders and hips squared to the floor during the entire exercise. Complete 8-12 reps with the left leg and then switch sides, completing 8-12 reps with the right leg.
Images courtesy of the American Council on Exercise®