Wide Stance Squat

Trimming your bottom line

Rumor has it that the famous derriere of Jennifer Lopez is insured for millions. While most of us don't place that much monetary value on the seat of our pants, we do appreciate a firm, rounded posterior.

Without special attention to this area, we may notice what I call gluteus gravitus; a flat, soft, boring booty. Sedentary jobs, inactivity or aging muscles can cause the downward droop, robbing us of that youthful shape.

Whether you consider J. Lo's posterior to be gluteus maximus or gluteus minimus, you can certainly improve your own gluteal silhouette with the following exercises. The secret to success is to focus on really working the glute muscles while performing each move.

Special thanks to Michelle Gordon, manager at Women's Fitness Company in Medford, for demonstrating the moves for photographer Jamie Lusch.

Wide stance squat
1. Start with feet wider than shoulder width apart, buttocks slightly out. Hold dumbbell in both hands in front of body.

2. Keeping back straight, shoulders back and glutes tight, lower body until knees are at a 90-degree angle, thighs parallel to the floor.

3. Using glutes, return to standing position. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

Hack squat
1. Begin with heels slightly elevated on 1-inch wood strip, feet 2 to 4 inches apart, toes forward.

2. Hold weights at sides, palms facing legs.

3. Slowly squat down until thighs are parallel to floor, allowing buttocks to float back as if sitting in a chair. Keep glutes engaged throughout move.

4. Return to standing position. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

Stationary lunge
1. Hold weights at sides, palms facing legs.

2. Step forward, bending knee to 90-degree angle.

3. Rear knee should almost touch the floor. Move body down, not forward.

4. Using quads, hamstrings and glutes, push back to starting position. Repeat 10 to 15 times, one leg at a time.

Reverse lunge
1. Begin by standing with weight at sides, palms toward legs.

2. Step back with one leg until rear knee almost touches floor. Front knee should not extend past toes.

3. Using glutes, quads and hamstrings, push up into standing position. Repeat 10 to 15 times, each leg, one leg at a time.

Step ups
1. Stand behind a 15-inch platform or step, weights in hand.

2. Place the right foot on the step, transfer the weight to the heel and push into the heel to come onto the step. Keep back straight, shoulders back.

3. Concentrate on using only the right leg to push, keeping the left leg active only for balance.

4. Slowly step back down and repeat all repetitions on the right leg before switching to the left. Repeat 10 to 15 times, each leg.

1. Stand with your back to a step or low bench that's about 15 inches high.

2. Reach left leg back and place toe or top of foot on step.

3. Keeping weight on the front leg, bend the knees and lower into a lunge until your front knee is at a 90-degree angle. (You may need to adjust right leg to make sure the front knee stays behind the toe when in lunge position. Move down, not forward.)

4. Push through the front heel to stand and repeat 10 to 15 times before changing legs.

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