Best Cardio Machines to Kick "Up" Your Butt

1. Step mill


It looks like the bigger scarier and clumsier version of the stair master. It usually stands abandoned at the gym, if not for the previous reasons then for the fact that when you are on it you tower over everyone else on any other machine like Gulliver. BUT this machine will give you the best results.

Unlike the stair master, it does not allow you to cheat by literally resting your upper body on the handles and moving your feet with majority of the impact absorbed by your arms and shoulders. Yes, that's called cheating, not to mention it's a recipe for a very nasty kink in your back. Also the movement that you do at the stair master with your feet is not the same as the one you do when you walk the stairs. Step mill, on the other hand, requires you to take full steps as you would on a real staircase using full motion of your gluteus, quads and hamstrings.

Tip: This machine is the go-to when it comes to competition prep. It makes your butt POP and in a good way. 

Try: If you are daring,check out this booty workout on the step mill by Amanda Latona, IFBB Bikini Pro. Do you want a butt like that? Work it!

2. Cybex Arc


It looks like a variation of an elliptical machine but it's 100 times better. At high inclines (10-20) it becomes a quadricep- dominant motion machine. In English: the movements your legs perform at that incline are similar to climbing or stepping so your quads/ glutes are targeted.

Tip: Do not use the handlebars because then your arms are helping your legs and you are taking the focus off of your lower body. Instead, lean forward and grip the machine monitor on either side with your hands, dig your heels into the pedals, stick your butt out and GIVE'ER!  Keep your incline high and play around with the resistance.

Try: For optimal HIIT, I do 20 minutes of 30-sec intervals at incline 20, alternating the resistance: 20, 30, 20, 40, 20, 50.

3. Treadmill BUT on a high incline 


The incline does really make a difference. Since we all love scientific proof that something works, I thought I'd share the finding of researchers at the University of Colorado. Walking at a 9 degree treadmill incline, hamstrings increased by 635 % of the muscular activity and glute activity increased by 345 %. MIND BLOWN! Add speed variations to the mix and you have a perfect workout for your legs.

BUT (because there is always a but) there is a wrong way and a right way to work out on an incline. Ever see people walking at incline 15 speed 6 and literally hanging on for dear life? The glutes and hamstrings are not engaged, they are training their arms at best and exerting unnecessary pressure on their knees. You can definitely hang onto the front bar of the treadmill but make sure that your glutes are engaged.

Tip: Grip the treadmill with your arms lightly for balance, put the pressure into your legs, take long strides and squeeze your butt.

Try: Fitness Magazine has a perfect "Sculpt your Glutes" treadmill workout for you to try:

Target Your Glutes

To sculpt your glutes and burn a fast 150 calories, try this cardio hill-walking workout from Diana Maitland, personal training manager at Equinox Fitness Clubs in New York City. Do this workout three or four times a week to build strength and endurance.

Minutes Speed (mph) Incline (%) RPE*
0:00-5:00 4 3-3.5 5
5:00-7:00 4 8-10 7
7:00-8:00 4 4-6 6
8:00-10:00 4 10 8
10:00-11:00 4 5-7 7
11:00-13:00 4 12 9
13:00-14:00 4 10 8
14:00-15:00 4 12 9
15:00-20:00 4 2-4 5


Tip: Beginners should start with a speed of 3.5 mph; advanced exercisers can go up to 5.*RPE, rate of perceived exertion, is a measure of your exercise intensity based on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the most effort. Adjust speed and incline to reach desired RPE above.

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4. Spinning Bike

There are studies that directly link biking with feelings of joy. It is a low impact exercise that actually strengthens and not stresses the joints in your knees. AND it works your entire body, engages your core and tightens your legs and butt.

Tip: For a serious glute-targeted workout increase the resistance on the bike, stand up for an uphill climb and FEEL THE BURN!

Try: I do part of my HIIT called "mixed terrain" on the bike- 30 sec sprint at low resistance sitting down, alternating with 30 sec uphill climb standing up with increased resistance, for a total of 20 minutes

5. Plyometrics 

These are the go-to exercises if you want to tone your lower body and burn more calories in less time. Not to mention the moves will improve your coordination and agility and increase your endurance levels.

Tip: Don't just do partial moves for the sake of doing a high number of reps. Do them properly with full movements, full contractions, and feel the burn with every jump.

Try: There are a number of plyometric exercises you can find online but I recommend checking out this beauty by IFBB Figure Pro Nicole Wilkins, she sure knows what she's talking about.

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