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Gravity, hormones, age and gaining weight are all reasons why our shape changes. This is also why bums start to head south and lose their firmness. If you'd like a firmer bum, and let's face it, who wouldn't, then follow our easy countdown to a better bum.

Firm your bum: Take the stairs
We know the lift is the fastest and easiest route but if you take the stairs you'll firm up your bottom, get toned calves too and it's a free workout. Build up to doing two steps at a time, and don't forget to stretch your legs out when you get to the top to keep your muscles long and lean.

Firm your bum: Get a new pair of trainers
There's no point exercising in bad trainers, you could do more harm than good. You don't have to spend loads of money though, as long as they fit properly and have a firm, springy sole. You could go one step further and buy a pair of trainers that have a raised toe and lower heel. These work your legs and bum harder, so even if you just go for a walk around the block or walk to pick your kids up from school, you'll be giving your bum an extra workout. Ask your local sports shop for MBT trainers.

Firm your bum: Warm up with squats
There's nothing that works the bum as well as squats. They'll be tough at first but stick with them, you'll find you can do more and go lower, the more you do. Here's how...
1. Stand with feet as wide apart as possible, feet pointing out to the side, rather than in front.
2. Put your hands on your hips to balance, keep your back straight.
3. Bend at the knees and lower yourself down, so that your thighs are parallel with the floor, keep your bum tucked in and your tummy firm.
4. Repeat 10-12 times.

Firm your bum: Join a class
Working out with other people is a great way to stay motivated and make friends. A high-energy aerobics class will help burn fat but best for the bum is a step aerobics class. Spinning and legs, bums and tums are also good classes to firm the bum.

Firm your bum: Lunges
You can do lunges while watching your favourite telly programme or a DVD, so there's no excuse!
1. Step one leg forward by about a foot.
2. Put your hands on your hips, bend your legs and lower yourself until your back knee nearly touches the floor.
3. Tighten your bum muscles throughout the exercise. Repeat 20 times on each leg.
If you want to make this exercise tougher hold some hand weights too.

Firm your bum: 6 Pelvic lift
This is a great exercise for your bum, lower back and your pelvic muscles (good if you need to tone up your pelvic floor after having a baby).
1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
2. Keep your arms down by your sides and slowly lift your bum off the ground and push your pelvis toward the ceiling. Make sure you don't use your shoulders or your back to pull yourself up.
3. Stay in the position for a slow count of 10. You should feel the stretch and burn in your thighs, bum and pelvis.
4. Lower yourself down slowly, using your thigh and bum muscles.

Firm your bum: Straight bum squeeze
If you're feeling really lazy and tired from the exercises so far you could do this exercise in bed!
1. Lie on your stomach, with your head resting on your arms.
2. Keep your legs together and slowly lift your legs up, pointing your heels towards the ceiling.
3. Hold your legs in this position for three to five seconds, then slowly lower legs back to the starting position.
4. Don't worry if you can only raise your legs an inch or two off the floor, this is quite a tough exercise. Repeat up to 10 times.

Firm your bum: The donkey
No, it's not a sexual position, it's an exercise!
1. Start on all fours, make sure your back is straight, pull in your tummy and keep it firm.
2. Lift one leg up, keeping your knee bent and your foot flat, so that the sole of your foot points towards the ceiling.
3. Bring your leg back down and stay in the position but swap legs.
4. Do the same with your other leg. If it feels too easy, you're not doing it right, take it slowly and you'll feel more of a burn. Repeat on each leg 10-12 times.

Firm your bum countdown No.8 The donkey
No, it's not a sexual position, it's an exercise!
1. Start on all fours, make sure your back is straight, pull in your tummy and keep it firm.
2. Lift one leg up, keeping your knee bent and your foot flat, so that the sole of your foot points towards the ceiling.
3. Bring your leg back down and stay in the position but swap legs.
4. Do the same with your other leg. If it feels too easy, you're not doing it right, take it slowly and you'll feel more of a burn. Repeat on each leg 10-12 times.

Firm your bum countdown No.9 Tone up while waiting for the bus
You might feel silly but no-one needs to know that you're exercising your bum while waiting for the No.53!
1. Stand up straight, keep your shoulders back and pull in your belly.
2. Clench your buttocks, hold for 5-10 secs and release. Repeat 10-15 times.

Firm your bum countdown No.10 Make washing up a workout
This is so easy - you'll end up doing loads of repetitions without even knowing it!
1. Stand up straight, shoulders back, belly pulled in. Go up on your tip-toes, clench your bum and hold for a few seconds. Repeat 10 or more times.
2. In the same position, keep your leg straight and point your leg out behind you, then point to the side and back to your starting position. Alternate between legs and repeat 10 or more times.

Where to next?
Did you know that roughly 80% of women have cellulite? And the most common place is the bum and thighs. Along with this bum-firming countdown our easy cellulite busting exercises can really help. You also need to watch what you eat though, with our find your perfect diet brilliant diet quiz.

Juggling a family, work commitments and a home can be tough and the last thing you have time for is a complicated diet plan and exercise regime. So, take the pressure off and look at some of our other easy exercise suggestions. You might like the Lazy Girl's Diet. And I bet you've got some exercise equipment at home that's just gathering dust, why not read our tips on exercising at home.

Also try:
Flat belly plan
Beat bingo wings

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