Posted: Tuesday April 17, 2012, 10:30 AM
Fit for Spring: Seven exercises to reduce the butt
By KARA YORIO of The Record

Gluteus maximus, rear end, backside, tuchus: No matter what you call it, it's often a problem area, particularly for women.

"When women gain weight it tends to go on the hips and buttocks first," says Bentley Ritter, trainer and president of BeneFit Personal Training, which offers in-home training in Bergen County and around the state. "Unfortunately that also means that as you lose weight, those are the last areas where the excess body fat comes off."

Understandably, women often look toward their backside when looking to shed pounds and shape up, but a wider lens is required. Ritter reminds people that excess fat over the muscles won't be lost doing just these exercises. People must do them with aerobic activity and modified eating habits. With that understood and out of the way, here are seven exercises for super glutes.

Jayne Drew, manager and trainer at Get in Shape for Women in Waldwick, offers three butt-shaping exercises:

* Squat: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your knees over your ankles, bend like you're sitting into a chair — your buttocks should not go lower than your knees. Lift up through the heels not toes and squeeze the glutes and hips while coming up. Do four sets of 12 to 14 reps.

* Bridges: Lie on your back with knees bent and feet shoulder-width apart. Bring hips up, squeezing glutes, hold for 10 seconds then go back down. Do four sets of 12 to 14 reps.

* Reverse lunge: Start with feet shoulder-width apart. Step back with one leg, putting toe down and heel up. Bend front leg, keeping knee in line with ankle. Come up, put legs together and switch, stepping back onto the other toe. Do four sets of 12 to 14 reps.

Celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels likes to lunge toward a better butt, too. Here are four of her favorites from a workout video with soap star Vanessa Marcil:

* Basic lunge: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Step forward, keeping shoulder, hip and knee in a straight line. Bend top knee until it is over ankle, front thigh parallel to the ground, go up and back down. Do three sets of 20 reps on each leg.

* Crossover lunge: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Step forward with right leg and step across the left leg, then bend into the lunge, breathing in while bending down and exhaling on the way up. Do three sets of 20 reps on each leg

* Jump lunge (more advanced): Put one foot forward, hands on hips, bend knee into basic lunge, jump up and switch legs then do basic lunge again, jump and switch, etc. Do three sets of 20 reps.

Ritter adds that you should lunge in all directions to work all of the muscles, get a balanced look and avoid injury. So add a side lunge to the workout — and be sure to give yourself and your buttocks muscles a day off to recover between workouts.

* Side lunge: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and step out to the right with the right leg, keeping toes on both feet facing forward. Bend the right leg to where right knee is over — but never beyond — the right toe. Step back to beginning position. Do 10 to one side then switch or alternate legs. Beginners: two sets of 10. Work up to three sets of 10 and ultimately three sets of 15.

Email: yoriok@northjersey.com