The 1 Workout That Changed the Shape of My Butt

While training for my second half-marathon, I was determined to beat my previous time. I knew I needed to kick my workouts up a notch. No, I didn't put in more mileage — instead of working longer, I just worked harder. I started doing one specific interval workout once a week — it was finished in under 40 minutes — but man, did I notice a change. Not only in how my overall pace increased on all my runs, even my longer, weekend training runs, but I also noticed a huge change when I looked in the mirror.

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POPSUGAR Photography | Ericka McConnell

My butt had transformed. I come from a long line of flat butts, and I couldn't believe my backside looked so different. It was rounder, higher, and firmer. And I owe my perky, harder tush to hill repeats. It was a grueling workout but totally effective. It not only helped me shave 14 minutes off my previous time for my second marathon (yeah PR!), but when other people noticed my bum, I knew this workout was a keeper.

The workout is simple: There's a hill in the woods by my house. I'd run 10 minutes to get to the hill (about a mile). Then it took about 60 seconds to run up it; 45 to get back down. I'd run up and down that hill 10 times (it took about 17:30). Then I'd run the 10 minutes back home. I'd aim to run up that hill as fast as I could, then used the downhill to recharge. When I first began this type of incline interval workout, I started with three or four hill repeats because my legs were burning so much, but over a few weeks I was able to increase to 10. The total workout takes under 38 minutes, but it is so intense, I feel more spent after that workout than I do after a 10-mile training run.

Running up an incline targets your legs and butt much more than running on a flat surface, so if you want to change the shape of your butt, find a hill near your home or increase the incline on your treadmill to 15 percent. It's OK if you run slowly or even have to walk, but don't be scared to push yourself — you'll feel amazing every time you reach the top of that hill. And with every hill you conquer, you'll quickly build the lower-body strength and endurance to get up the next hill with greater ease — OK, maybe not with ease, but without crying.