If you want a round, firm backside, you need a workout dedicated to building one. The glutes make up a large percentage of the muscle in your lower body so it makes sense to blast them with exercises that will target them hard! Try incorporating this workout into your training program once a week to isolate your glute muscles and get a tighter, shapelier booty. Bring the intensity and don’t forget to squeeze your glute muscles with every rep and zone into feeling them fire.
(1) Hip Thrust
Also known as “the bench press for your butt”, this is the king of all glute exercises. If you’re brand new to this exercise start out with glute bridges from the floor with just your bodyweight. Once you’ve mastered the glute bridge and can do 3 sets of 12 with your bodyweight in perfect form move onto hip bridges, increasing the weight used as often as you can. This is one exercise I love to do using high reps (3 sets of 20), really concentrating on squeezing at the top of the movement. For extra cruelty, pausing for a 3 count at the top will really get those glutes firing! This video does a nice job of explaining how to properly execute both a glute bridge and hip thrust using correct form: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvQXREKFfpY
(2) Ankle Lateral Band Walks
For this exercise you will need a set of ankle resistance bands such as these: Resistance Loop Bands. Start with the light band and progress as you are able. Place the resistance band around your ankle and bend down into a squat position with your knees bent, chest out and flat back. Your arms should be bent with hands up at your sides to help you stabilize. Take 25 side steps to the left and then 25 side steps to the right. This is not a big movement. The strides will be fairly short as the lead foot steps to the side and the lagging leg then slides along. Start with 1 set then progress to 2-3 sets with one minute of rest between sets. Holy cow! You will feel this one immediately after your last set when you take off the band and (try to) walk. It’s deceptively effective which is both evil and awesome! Here is a video of what this move looks like when done properly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiD4eOaivqY
(3) Goblet Squats
I must confess, I had been doing this exercise the wrong way for years (by not going deep enough). I recently learned the proper way to goblet squat and discovered what a killer lower body exercise it can be. It’s best to start with a light dumbbell until you are used to how this is supposed to feel. When you come up, focus on driving through your heels to really emphasize the glutes in this move. This is an excellent video demonstrating the proper form for this exercise. Remember to squeeze your shoulder blades together throughout this movement to help keep a neutral spine and prevent rounding out the back. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeIiIdhvXT4
(4) Back Extension
The back extension is most commonly used for strengthening the erector spinae (lower back) muscles so why am I listing it as a great glute builder? Well, with a slight modification we can add more emphasis to the glutes and hamstrings as well. It’s very easy to let your form slip on this exercise. The most common errors are hyperextending your lower back by swinging up too far (and often too fast!) and rounding out your back on the descent. Don’t do either of things if you want to avoid injury and lower back pain!
In a typical back extension, the exerciser descends the torso forward over the bench and then uses the lower back muscles to rise back up until the body is at a perfect 45-degree slant. If we concentrate instead on using our hips as a hinge and squeezing our glutes as we come up it instead becomes more of a glute/hamstring exercise.
Although there are various ways to perform this exercise, (on a stability ball, using a horizontal bench or from the floor), I highly recommend using a 45-degree machine as shown in the video below. Again, I recommend starting out performing this exercise without added weight until form is mastered. Once you feel comfortable, practice holding a light dumbbell or plate close to your chest throughout the move. 3 sets of 10-15 reps is a good target.
This is a great variation of the standard glute bridge exercise. Obviously, it is a lot tougher to perform the glute bridge with one leg. Just remember to position your leg so that you can really press into your heel as you push up (approximately 6 inches or so). Perform 3 sets of 10-20 per leg. This is a great finisher exercise and will really fatigue your glutes! Of course, here is a video of how to perform this exercise and some instructions on proper form:
There you have it! Try adding some of these to your existing workout or doing all 5 as one “Glute Day” workout. After a short while, you’ll be pleased with your new and improved rear view. Not only will you achieve a curvier lower half but your strong glutes will protect you from injury, prevent lower back pain and improve overall athletic performance.
Jill Kane is a Certified Master Workplace Wellness Ambassador and Certified Health Coach. She works with organizations to cultivate healthy workplaces and thriving work cultures that optimize employee well-being, engagement and performance.
Through her website, www.jill-kane.com, she helps busy working mothers transform their bodies with simple nutrition and fitness programs that reduce overwhelm and stress and emphasize a healthy dose of self-care.
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