My last HIV combo caused fat wasting, leaving my butt sagging. What exercises will enhance my behind?   —Bummed Out

Dear Bummed,
I’ve had both lipoatrophy (fat loss) and AIDS wasting, and these two great exercises brought my butt (and my strength) back in about five months. They build legs too. For both, you’ll need to use a challenging amount of weight, whether barbell or dumbbells. You should use enough weight to leave you struggling during those last few reps; less weight and more reps will tone muscle rather than build it. Correct form is crucial for results and safety. Before starting any rigorous exercise program, consult your doctor, and work up slowly to the repetitions listed below.

Incorporate these two routines into your regular workouts, and they’ll work for you too.


  1. Stand with feet shoulder-length apart and your toes pointing slightly outward. Place a barbell across your shoulders, behind your neck.
  2. Tighten your abdominal and butt muscles. With your back straight and your head facing forward or tilted slightly up, bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Don’t bend them any farther or you’ll put too much pressure on them.
  3. Slowly return to standing. Work up to three to four sets of 12 repetitions. If you can complete all 12 reps, add more weight, five pounds at a shot.


  1. Stand with feet six to eight inches apart, barbell across your shoulders, behind your neck. Lunge forward with your right foot, keeping the knee over the toes. This will bring your left heel off the floor a bit.
  2. While lunging, keep your back straight, butt tight, chest out and eyes forward. Bring the right foot back; repeat 12 times; then switch to the left.
  3. Do three to four sets, adding weight appropriately. You have it right when you feel the burn; muscles should feel exhausted by the final set.

Jeffrey Gross is a certified trainer based in Chicago.

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