If sculpting your booty is one of your New Year’s resolutions, these exercises are perfect for toning, lifting and strengthening your glutes. They can be done at home, outside or at the gym—and you can easily incorporate resistance bands and free weights to increase intensity. Start with three to five sets of each exercise a minimum of three times a week. Building muscle is a progressive effort, so be sure to increase number of reps, duration and intensity of your workouts over time to avoid a plateau.
The glutes are the largest muscle group in your lower body, so try to hit the region from every angle for best results.
This classic move is an excellent way to start your glute workout. The Bridge also works your abs, core and back, and helps to strengthen and stabilize. Start by lying down on your back on a mat. Position your knees about hip width apart and bend them. Engage your glutes and tighten your abs as you use them to slowly raise your hips until your spine forms a straight line. Make sure to keep your heels directly under your knees. Once you’ve mastered this move, you can add a resistance band around your knees to increase intensity.
Squats are a must for improving your backside. They also target your thighs, calves, hips and core. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees and lower as if you’re sitting down in an invisible chair, keeping the knees behind the toes and your head up. Lower as far as you can comfortably, keeping your torso upright and core engaged. Drive through your heels to stand up. When you’re ready to increase intensity, simply hold free weights at your side or shoulder level while you squat. Use a barbell when you’re ready to advance further. Note: If you have issues with your knees, don’t squat further than a 90 degree angle.
Lunges are another staple of good lower body workout that also target the core, glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves while building endurance. Stand with your feet about three feet apart and staggered, one forward and the other back. This staggered stance forces you to engage your glutes for stability and works the front part of your legs harder. Keep your body straight and engage your core as you bend both knees, lowering your hips until your knees are at around a 90-degree angle. Drive into the front heel to stand back up. Do a full set and then switch sides.
Strive not to lunge forward over the front knee as this can lead to injury. Just like with squats, add free weights or a barbell into the mix when you’re ready to advance.
This exercise provides a killer glute workout because you’re working the muscles against gravity from an ideal angle. Rest your upper back on a bench, with the bottom of your shoulder blades hitting its edge. Your chest and knees should be in a straight line, with your feet placed directly below your knees. Keep your knees bent and push through the heels to lift your hips up from the ground.
For increased intensity, use a resistance band around your knees or rest your upper back on a stability ball instead of a bench.
This exercise opens up your hips and increases mobility while lifting and firming the glutes. Also known as external hip rotations, clamshells improve hip flexibility and range of motion over time. Start by lying on a mat on one side with your hips stacked vertically on top of each other. Bend your legs at the knees so that they are at an approximate 90 degree angle. Hinge at the hip and keep your heels together as your raise your and lower your top knee—opening your legs like a literal clamshell. Activate your glutes to drive the movement. Place your hand on your glutes to feel them work—it’s a great way to make sure the muscles are engaged.
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