By now you know: Butts are the new boobs. NING CHAO reports on the latest ways women are enhancing their assets
Jennifer, Nicki, Iggy … when it comes to curves these days, it really is "All About That Bass," and experts have noticed an uptick in women who want to maximize their assets. "Patients used to complain that their butts were too big, but now I'm injecting fat to make them larger," says Dr. Grant Stevens, clinical professor of surgery at the Keck School of Medicine at USC. To wit: There was a 58 percent increase in the number of buttocks-enhancement procedures in the U.S. between 2012 and 2013, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Here's how those not naturally blessed with the derriere à la mode are doing a little work (or getting a little work done) to boost the caboose.
Buns of Steel Like breasts, butts aren't judged just on size: Perkiness and shape count, too. "People want projection and roundness—a full buttocks that looks almost like a bosom," says Stevens. Leandro Carvalho, a New York City trainer (he counts Alessandra Ambrosio among his clients), runs Brazilian Butt Lift classes that attack glutes with a punishing combination of squats and lunges. To improve the "thut," as Carvalho calls the hard-tofirm area below the curve of the cheeks, "you have to combine exercises in which you lift your leg straight behind you and with a bent knee." Core Fusion teacher Alexandra Shepherd, of Exhale Miami, recommends exercises like the Chair Pose and Foldover (Google it). "That also tones your waist and thighs, which will improve your butt," she explains.
Food For Thought Unlike belly fat, a little extra junk in the trunk poses few health risks (not even back pain or posture problems), but it's difficult to hold on to weight in that area if you're slimming down elsewhere. "Breasts and butts are predominantly made up of fat, so when you diet, those places tend to shrink first," says celebrity nutritionist Kimberly Snyder, whose clients have included Dita Von Teese. To slim down but still keep your curves, she suggests swapping dairy for healthier fats like avocado. And stock up on vitamin C– rich citrus fruits, which can strengthen and rebuild the collagen that helps keep cellulite in check.
Plastic Fantastic No matter how many squats you do or how many avocados you eat, there are genetic limitations to how much your butt will bulk. "If you see a small waist and a gigantic butt, unless they're under 25, it's probably surgical," says Stevens. "Naturally large butts sag with age." To round the lateral buttocks into a "youthful, cantaloupe shape," Stevens relies on fat injections (taken from elsewhere on your body via liposuction). The procedure requires two weeks of downtime. Women without enough fat may get better results with the semisolid silicone implants, which are firmer than breast implants.
Waist Management Not everyone wants to be pear-shaped. Some prefer an hourglass that's bigger on the bottom—which helps explain the (terrifying) return of the girdle. "Waist training" with shapewear has been getting tons of buzz, but it comes with a price. "Compressing the abdomen can limit lung capacity, making you take shallower breaths whenever you have the girdle on," Stevens warns. And if you really crank a corset tight, you could faint. Bottom line? Get your ass to the gym instead.