I would like to know what is the best way to tone up my buttocks? I am approaching thirty and am worried about everything getting saggy.
Barbell squats and barbell deadlifts are both excellent movements for your glutes/lower body.
EDIT - It has been requested that I elaborate on how to perform these movements, which is a bit daunting considering there have been entire books devoted to how to squat and deadlift, but I'll try to give a concise rundown:
- Grip/Positioning - Starting with the barbell in the rack, place your hands on the bar somewhere close to the knurls (varies person to person). Step under the barbell with your knees bent sligtly so that it the bar rests either on your traps (olympic or high bar position) or where your traps meet your delts (power position). Pull your shoulder blades down and together and flex your lats. This creates a nice "meat shelf" for the barbell to rest on. Once the bar is in a comfortable place on your meat shelf, stand up fully, removing the bar from the rack.
- Preparing for the lift - Take a step back from the rack and place your feet a little wider than shoulder width with your toes pointed slightly out. Keeping your shoulder blades pulled together and lats flexed, arch your back: imagine the front of your pelvis moving slightly toward the floor, while the rear moves slightly toward the ceiling. At this point the flexing of your lats, shoulder blades, and lower back have put you in a "proud" looking posture, which is what you will want to maintain through the squat.
- Descend - With your weight on your heels and maintaining the proud posture mentioned previously, begin to squat down. Try to focus on sitting back, as opposed to sitting down, as this will lead to more glute recruitment (which is the point of all of this, after all). Descend at least until your quads are parallel with the ground, all the while keeping your back arched.
- Ascent - Squeeze with your glutes and drive your hips forward to come back into a standing position. Don't let your knees cave inward: a cue I like to think of is that I am spreading the ground beneath me outward with my feet.
- Grip/Positioning - Place your feet under the bar about shoulder width apart. Get into the proud posture described above (shoulder blades down and together, lats flexed, lower back arched, hips tipped foward). Maintaining this posture, bend at the knees and hips to grab the bar either with a double overhand grip, or alternating grip (one overhand, one underhand) somewhere near the knurls of the bar (varies person to person). The bar should be very close to your shins.
- Ascend - Keeping your back arched, use your glutes and hips to drive through your heels and stand up with the bar. Simultaneously straighten your knees and bring your back upright. The bar should trace your shins and quads on its way up.
- Descend - Reverse the motion above, tracing the bar down the front of your legs. And here's one last reminder to keep your back arched, lats engaged, and shoulder blades down and together while doing it.
These are the cues I think about to keep my form as good as possible while doing these movements. Please comment if you have other helpful cues.
Just something different, I think you will like these 2 exercises, frog jumps and platypus *walk* from celebrity trainer David Kirsch. See this video of Victoria Secret models tryout/contest:
- platypus walk at 1:30 until 1:35 of the video
A. Grasp a medicine ball with both hands and extend your arms overhead. Squat in a sitting position with your knees aligned with your toes and your butt sticking back as far as you can get it.
B. Keep your core tight as you walk forward, pushing off through each heel. If you perform the move correctly, your butt and inner thighs will be on fire. Walk across the room in one direction and then reverse and walk backward. If your room is small, repeat crossing the room one time before moving on to jumping lunges.
- frog jump at 1:55 until 2:03 of the video
A. Squat down while sticking your butt out. Keep your knees just above not in front of your toes.
B. Spring up while thrusting your arms overhead. Land on your heels, rolling forward onto your toes.
There are tons of butt toning workout from David, as he's clients are mostly women, I think you'll like his exercises. Hope this helps
I agree with @Ben's answer as far as squats, deadlifts and lunges being good glute exercises. Additionally, you may want to check into Callanetics. It is based on short, repetitive movements at the end of the range. This approach specifically targets the deep gluteal and hip muscles that help to contract and lift the buttocks. I'm sorry I can't find a link to a picture that shows the progression of the buttock line lifting.
Another similar program using these small isometric type contractions is Pure Barre.
Given your goal of tightening up and lifting the buttocks, I think you will be happy with these types of exercises. Just realize that these exercises only deal with shrinking the space you occupy. If you need to lose weight as well, follow good diet principles and appropriate calorie burning exercises like HIIT.
I agree with BenWillkommen's suggestions.
I have two more which don't require a gym with a squat rack...
- Lunges - After these become too easy, start carrying a couple dumbbells while doing them.
- Sprinting - Sprint 100 meters, walk back to the starting line and repeat. Doing this a few times is an awesome workout and hits every single muscle in your legs.
Legs=any part of legs really. Cardio helps because it trims fat and tightens everything, so I would suggest that as well. Specific to quick easy leg exercises that aren't mentioned above, I would do any of these things:
Air squats, forward and side lunges, sprawl, wall chair, and lots and lots of jump rope. (if possible)
Vary it between lots of fast reps and holding in place for 30+ seconds or however long you can stand it.
DO them CORRECTLY and form first, reps second. You'll majorly mess up knees and back if you do them with bad form.
Someone asked a similar question here that I answered: Quick leg workout without equipment