Booty Boosters

So you think doing squats and lunges will give you a big butt? False! These exercises—plus other moves targeting your gluteus and hamstring muscles—will actually help strengthen and tone your rear, not plump it up.

Brynn Jinnett, a former New York City Ballet dancer and creator of the Refine Method, developed this series of exercises specifically for dancers on the go. The moves are simple yet effective. And the results? Increased strength throughout these muscle groups will improve your jumps and turns, and you’ll look smokin’ in whatever costume your teacher throws your way this season!

Exercise 1: Sliding Hamstring Curl
Exercise 1: Sliding Hamstring Curl
Exercise 1: Sliding Hamstring Curl
Exercise 1: Sliding Hamstring Curl
Exercise 2: Hip Lift
Exercise 2: Hip Lift
Exercise 2: Hip Lift
Exercise 2: Hip Lift
Exercise 3: Sliding Lunge With a Reach
Exercise 3: Sliding Lunge With a Reach
Exercise 3: Sliding Lunge With a Reach
Exercise 3: Sliding Lunge With a Reach
Exercise 4: Single-Leg Dead Lift
Exercise 4:  Single-Leg Dead Lift
Exercise 4: Single-Leg Dead Lift
Exercise 4: Single-Leg Dead Lift

Exercise 1: Sliding Hamstring Curl

This move targets the hamstring muscles. If you’re doing choreography with lots of quick directional changes, you’ll need solid hamstrings to keep you on your toes—literally.

1. Lie on your back with your feet flexed and your heels placed on the center of two sliding discs (if you don’t have discs, you can use dish towels). Keep your arms relaxed by your sides.

Exercise 1: Sliding Hamstring Curl

2. Contract your glutes and lift your hips two inches above the floor.

Keep your shoulder blades resting on the ground.

Exercise 1: Sliding Hamstring Curl

3. Slowly extend your left leg, keeping a slight bend at the knee, and then draw it back in.

Repeat with your right leg, and then lower your hips to the ground. Repeat the sequence 10–12 times.

Exercise 1: Sliding Hamstring Curl

Extra Credit!

Extend both legs at the same time.

Exercise 2: Hip Lift

This exercise targets the gluteus maximus. During this move it’s crucial to activate your glutes without using your lower back muscles to help. Feel the burn!

1. Lie on your back with your left knee bent and your left foot flat on the ground. Bend your right leg and tuck the knee toward your chest.

Exercise 2: Hip Lift

2. Raise your hips to form a line from your shoulders to your hips and knees. If you feel a cramp or strain in your back or hamstrings, lower your hips slightly.

Lower your hips and your right leg simultaneously. Repeat the exercise with the left leg. Do 12–15 sets.

Exercise 2: Hip Lift

Extra Credit!

1. With your arms by your side and your hips lifted, extend your bent leg straight in the air, then lower it 45-degrees.

Exercise 2: Hip Lift

Extra Credit!

2. Lift the leg back up to 90 degrees, and then lower your entire body to the ground. Repeat on the other side.

Exercise 3: Sliding Lunge With a Reach

This move will fire up your glutes and hamstrings while also giving your quad muscles a workout.

Stand with the ball of your left foot on a sliding disc or dish towel, with your feet parallel and your arms relaxed at your sides. Keep your focus straight ahead.

Exercise 3: Sliding Lunge With a Reach

2. Slide your left foot backward into a deep lunge. Reach your left arm forward and your right arm backward, keeping your shoulders square as you lean forward, hinging your torso 45 degrees.

Keep your spine straight, your right shin vertical—your knee shouldn’t go past your toes—and your hips back.

Exercise 3: Sliding Lunge With a Reach

3. Return to a standing position by contracting your glutes and following through with your hips.

Your glutes should be doing all the work, powering you back up. Repeat on your other leg. Repeat the exercise 12­–15 times.

Exercise 3: Sliding Lunge With a Reach

Extra Credit!

Keep your front foot flexed throughout the exercise with your toes lifted slightly off the ground. This small change will shift your weight into your heels, activating your butt muscles.

Exercise 4: Single-Leg Dead Lift

Brynn calls this move “the arabesque trainer.” Learn to love it and you’ll see improved arabesques (think less lower back aching!) in no time.

1. Stand on your left leg with your foot in parallel. Lift your right knee up to your chest, holding it in place with both arms.

Exercise 4: Single-Leg Dead Lift

2. Lean forward with your upper body, extending your right leg backward and reaching both arms forward.

You should create one line from your head to your heel. Think of your body as a seesaw, maintaining energy through your lifted heel to really work the glutes.

Exercise 4: Single-Leg Dead Lift

3. Return to a standing position. Think of your body as one unit.

Don’t lift from your back to come up. Instead, move from your hip joints to bring your knee back into your chest. Lower your leg and repeat the exercise on the other side, doing 6–8 reps per leg. Your standing glute should be working hard.

Exercise 4: Single-Leg Dead Lift

Extra Credit!

Add a relevé before returning to the start position.


 

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