If you want to tone your backside and get your heart rate up while doing it, try step ups. The name pretty much says it all; this move works your legs and glutes while making your heart pump like you're walking up a flight of stairs as you step onto a bench at least a foot off the ground. Here are three levels of this basic yet effective exercise for you to work your way through.
- Beginner: Find a step or a bench that when you place your foot squarely on it your knee is at a 90 degree angle or larger. The weight benches at my gym are the perfect height for me, but a dining room chair can work in a pinch too. Step up 20 times leading with the right foot, then the left, bringing both feet completely onto the bench. To return to the starting position, lead with the right foot to step down to the floor, then the left, until ending with both feet on the ground. Switch legs and start stepping with the left foot for 20 steps.
If you're ready for a more challenging step up, read more.
- Intermediate: This is a slight variation from the previous step up, but will challenge your balance and work your glutes even more. Start by stepping onto the bench with your right foot, bring your left foot up and tap the bench with your left toes, then lower your left foot down to tap the floor. This is one rep. Your right foot never moves as you bend and straighten your right knee. Prepare for you booty to burn. This works best on a step or bench, something lower than a chair.
- Advanced: Try the beginning variation explained above while holding dumbbells — starting with eight-pound weights in each hand working up to 15 pounds. If you're ready for an extra challenge, try the toe tap version.