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This Workout Is the Ultimate Way to Sculpt Strong Legs and an Incredible Butt

Cellulite gets a whole lot of attention—but it's completely natural and, really, NBD. Technically, cellulite is just fat that happens to be packaged in lumps instead of layers, says Wane Westcott, Ph.D., a professor of exercise science at Quincy College who has done numerous studies on exercise and cellulite. Various factors—genetics, hormones, and bad circulation, to name a few—figure into whether you'll develop it. (Related: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Cellulite)

The most important thing to know is that, no, you absolutely do not need to worry about the appearance of or getting rid of your cellulite. It's incredibly common and, often, there's not too much you can do about it; so why not love your body no matter what it looks like? (See: Iskra Lawrence Is Inspiring Women to Put Their #CelluLIT On Full Display)

If you do want to reduce the appearance of cellulite, the fitness connection boils down to this: "When you lose muscle or don't have much of it, there's no underlying foundation, so fat clumps up," says Westcott. You can't spot-reduce fat, but you can build muscle strategically, he says. Because cellulite tends to accumulate on your butt and legs, you can hit your lower body hard with high reps of moderately heavy strength moves. ("Back leg exercises," aka moves that target your hamstrings, glutes, and abductors, such as deadlifts are awesome for this, BTW.) "These moves will build a crucial muscle foundation below the fat in that area and burn calories in general, helping to repackage what fat is left into smoother layers," says Westcott.

We went to top trainer Joey Gonzalez, the CEO of Barry's Bootcamp to cook up a butt and thigh workout routine that, sure, might help reduce cellulite—but more importantly, will help you build a strong and capable lower body.

How it works: Do two sets of each cellulite exercise for the number of reps indicated. If you do all your reps but don't feel burned out, tack on another five (per side if needed). Limit rest to 15 seconds between moves. You can do this butt and thigh workout routine three days a week on alternate days. Grab two sets of dumbbells, one heavier set (15 or 20 lbs) and one lighter set (8 to 12 lbs). If you can get your hands on only one set, choose 12 or 15 lbs.

Total Time: up to 30 minutes

You will need: Free weights

1. Lateral Goblet Lunge

A.

Stand with feet together, holding one heavier dumbbell vertically by one end with both hands at chest height, elbows bent by sides, to start. Keeping left leg straight and both feet pointing forward, step right leg as far right as possible, bending knee and lowering hips deeply [shown]. Push off right foot to return to start. Do 20 reps. Switch sides; repeat.

Sets:

2

Reps:

20

2. Dumbbell Curtsy Lunge

A.

Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding one lighter dumbbell in each hand with arms by sides to start. Keeping hips and shoulders square, step left leg behind and across right leg, bending both knees 90 degrees [shown]. Push off left foot to return to start. Switch sides; repeat. (Keep those dumbbells nearby to try this 5-minute arm routine next!)

Sets:

2

Reps:

20

3. Goblet Plié Squat

A.

Stand with feet wide and toes turned out, holding one heavier dumbbell vertically by one end with both hands at chest height, elbows bent by sides, to start. Squat, pushing knees out to sides [shown]. Return to start. (Related: 6 Ways You Might Be Squatting Wrong)

Sets:

2

Reps:

20

4. Weighted Bridge

A.

Lie faceup on floor with knees bent and feet flat, holding one heavier dumbbell horizontally on hips with both hands to start. Lift hips, squeezing knees inward, and hold for 3 seconds [shown]. Lower hips to return to start.

Sets:

2

Reps:

20

5. Heavy Lying Abduction

A.

Lie on floor on left side, torso lifted, left forearm on floor perpendicular to body, legs stacked with one lighter weight resting above right knee, right hand resting loosely on weight to start. Lift right leg and hold for 3 seconds [shown]. Lower leg to return to start. Do 20 reps. Switch sides; repeat. (Pair this butt and thigh workout with this entire floor-based ab workout.)

Sets:

2

Reps:

20

6. Single-Leg Dead Lift

A.

Stand with feet hip- width apart, holding one lighter weight in each hand with palms turned toward body and weights resting on thighs. Lift left leg a couple of inches off floor to start the back leg exercise. Hinge forward from hips, lowering torso toward floor and extending weights down close to legs as you extend straight right leg behind you until body forms a T [shown]. Slowly return to start. Do 15 reps. Switch sides; repeat.

Sets:

2

Reps:

20

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