Whether your motivation for stronger glutes is to feel more confident in a swimsuit, fit in your jeans again, or feel stronger when running, this full lower body workout focuses exclusively on the glutes to give your butt well-rounded definition. Plus, working some of the biggest muscles in the body (the glutes and legs) helps to burn more calories, speed up your metabolism and burn fat. By strengthening your glutes with our monthly plan, you’ll not only feel tighter and more toned, but also more stable with improved balance throughout your whole body.
There are three major muscles in your glutes — the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus — that work together to rotate, abduct and extend the hip. Fun fact: They’re also the largest and strongest muscles in the body.
When we build and tone the muscles of the butt (plus add in cardio), we’re not only building sleek muscle, but also burning fat and calories, and both of these things work as a one-two punch to building a more toned backside.
To help you tone the glutes from every angle, we’ve broken down our monthly routine into three exercise banks: standing exercises, modified plank exercises and floor exercises. Each of these three positions provides options for working the muscles in various planes of motion to effectively work the entire glute.
Since the glutes and legs are large muscles, it’s recommended to perform these exercises every other day (rather than doing the standing glute exercises today and then the lying down exercises tomorrow.) In between, take a day off from working your lower body and do something else like cardio from our walking plan or abdominals from our abs plan. We've provided an example of what that may look below.
Standing with the feet hip-distance apart, step one foot back and one foot forward. Bend the back knee towards the ground as you bend the front knee tracking over the ankle. From here, press down through the front foot’s heel and pull the back knee up and forward towards your chest. Work the standing leg glute even more with an added squeeze at the top as the opposite knee comes up and through. Step the knee back and lower the foot back down, and repeat 10 times. Switch sides.
Standing upright, step your left leg out to the side and bend the left knee into a halfway side lunge. Press off through the left heel and bring the leg and knee back to center. Lift the knee up towards your chest as you squeeze your right glute and press down through the right heel. Repeat 10 times on this side and then switch.
Standing upright, balance on the right foot. Extend the left leg behind you, and lean forward as you lift the left leg up behind you until it is parallel to the floor. Keep the leg straight and squeeze the left glute at the top. Then lower the leg back down towards the ground and bring your torso up to center. Repeat 10 times, then switch sides.
Step to the right and bend the right knee. From this side lunge, lift the left leg up and pulse it up as high as your hip, then tap it back down to the ground. Repeat this 10 times, and then switch sides.
Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees and sit your glutes back as if you’re sitting into a chair. Pull your naval in towards your spine and make sure your knees aren’t going forward past your toes. Then press down through the heels to stand back up while squeezing your glutes. Repeat this 10 times.
With your naval pulling in on your hands and knees, extend the right leg behind you. Lift the leg up as high as your hips, then tap it to the right. Lift it back up and bring it back to center. Lift and tap 10 times, then switch legs.
On your hands and knees, lift your right knee off the ground and pull your right heel towards your right glute creating a 90-degree angle. Push your right foot up towards the ceiling to engage the back of the leg and glute, and then release it back down to the starting position. Repeat 10 times, then switch legs.
From hands and knees, lift the right knee off of the ground. Open the right knee to the right (as if you’re a doggy lifting your leg up to urinate!). Then bring it back towards center. Repeat this 10 times, then switch to the left leg.
Perform the exercise above, except instead of coming back to center, press the leg straight on a diagonal. Then bring it back to the fire hydrant position, and back to center. Repeat 10 times on the right, and then switch to the left.
Lying on your side, with your legs stacked on top of each other, lift your right leg up towards the ceiling, and then lower it back down. Slowly do this so that you feel the outer hip and glute engaging. Lift and lower 10 times, then repeat on the other side.
From the above position, lift the top so that your legs are not touching (about a foot above the bottom leg) and draw circles with your leg. Draw ten circles to the front, than reverse and draw ten towards the back. Switch sides.
Lying on your side with your top leg elevated, bend your right knee in towards your chest, then extend if out towards the front as if you’re pushing down on a bike pedal, press the leg back straight, and then bend the knee back in towards the chest. Repeat this 10 times.
Stephanie Mansour is a health and fitness expert and weight-loss coach for women. She is a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor and Pilates instructor, and host of “Step It Up with Steph” on American Public Television.