Our Janurary/February cover girl shares her favorite lower body exercises for a tight butt and strong legs
At 5 feet tall and 105 pounds, Pinkett Smith can squat three times her weight. “She’s so strong and determined in the gym,” says her personal trainer, Aaron Ferguson. But the real secret behind her sculpted lower body is a much more approachable workout Ferguson created for her (and now you) to do at home or her go-to gym, Equinox. The six toners hit multiple butt and leg muscles at once. Pinkett Smith starts her sessions with some butt-lifting cardio: stairs. She’ll walk up all 32 flights in her apartment building, take the elevator down, then do it again holding weights. “I love walking stairs because it’s great cardio and resistance,” she says. Most steps are around a 65 percent gradient, Ferguson explains, so in addition to spiking your heart rate and helping you burn a ton of calories, the incline gets you all-over toned too. Get a sneak peek of the workout here, then pick up the January/February issue, on newsstands December 31. (Plus, find out more about How Pinkett Smith Stays Fit at 43.)
How it works: Start with cardio or skip it if you’re short on time and just do the 6 moves. Go in order, completing the designated number of reps and sets and resting for 1 minute between sets. Do this routine once every 5 days.
Total Time: up to 30 minutes
1. Squat Raise
Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms extended for- ward at shoulder height. Squat.
Shift weight to left leg as you stand, rising onto ball of left foot and bringing right knee up. Hold for a count, then squat and repeat on opposite side for 1 rep.
2. Hip Thrust
Lie faceup with heels on stairs so legs make a 90-degree angle, arms out to sides at shoulder height to start.
Squeeze abs and butt as you lift hips so your body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees. Hold for a count, then slowly lower to starting position for 1 rep.
3. Single-Leg Deadlift
Stand on left leg, knee soft, left hand on hip and hold a weight in right hand to start.
Bend forward, lowering weight toward floor and raising right leg until body forms a straight line from head to right heel. Slowly reverse move to return to starting position for 1 rep. Switch sides; repeat to complete 1 set.
4. Split Squat Twist
Stand at the bottom of the stairs, facing away, and hold one weight with both hands at chest. Place top of right foot on second or third step and extend arms forward at chest height to start.
Bend knees as you rotate torso left, bringing weight over left knee. Return to starting position for 1 rep. Switch sides; repeat to complete 1 set.
5. Lateral Lunge and Reach
Stand with feet together and hold one weight with both hands, arms down. Step right leg into a lateral lunge and drive weight to inside of right foot to start.
Press into left leg to stand, raising right knee and bringing weight overhead. Reverse move to starting position for 1 rep. Switch sides; repeat to complete 1 set.
6. Stair Jumps
Stand in front of stairs with left foot on the first or second step, arms at sides. Push off left leg to jump, driving right knee high, pumping left arm up, right arm back, landing with left foot on step [shown]. Step back with right foot for 1 rep. Repeat immediately. Switch sides; repeat to complete 1 set.