Could your posterior use a pick-me-up? If your buns look more like toast, consider incorporating butt-boosting exercises into your workout. When performed properly, lower-body exercises also can ease back discomfort, reduce knee pain, and enhance athletic performance.
Target your glutes with these knee-friendly exercises:
Squats. Squatting is an activity of daily life, yet many of us do it wrong. Squats get a bad rap because many people use poor form and as a result, feel aches and pains. By focusing on the foundational aspects of a squat, it is easier to graduate to more advanced versions of this toning move. So to start, practice your body’s positioning as you sit and stand from a chair.
Start by sitting down on a stable seat. Now, stand up. Did you use the arms of the chair for momentum when standing? If so, try it again. This time allow your legs to do all the work.
- Position your legs about shoulder-width apart, with all of your body weight resting in your heels.
- Tighten your core muscles as you push through your heels to elevate your body. Perform 15 reps total.
Every time you squat, this is the movement and form to mimic. Maintain heel dominance, joint alignment and good posture with each repetition.
Swiss Ball Leg Curls. If you’re short on time but still want a great workout, this move is for you. This compound exercise targets the glutes, hamstrings, core, calves and quads. You will need a small-to-medium stability ball.
- Begin in a supine position with your palms pressed into floor.
- Place your calves on the stability ball and push through your palms to elevate your hips off the ground. Stay in this position until you feel balanced.
- Bend your knees to roll the ball toward you. Both feet should be resting on the surface of the ball at the apex of this repetition.
- Keep your core tight and hips even as you extend your legs back to the starting position. Repeat 10-12 times.
Reverse Lunges. Lunges target the core, quads, hamstrings and glutes. In order to safely hit these zones without compromising your knee joints, try a reverse lunge. This version of a lunge is sturdier and safer because the front foot is stationary throughout the entire exercise. Slowly move through each repetition, concentrating on the alignment of your knees and hips.
- Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Take a step back with your left foot, lowering your body until your right thigh is parallel with the floor. Bend both knees at a 90-degree angle.
- Hold for two breaths, then push through your right heel to bring your body back to the starting stance. Repeat 15 times then switch legs.
Lateral Band Walk. Your glutes are comprised of a trio of muscles: the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus. In order to have a well-rounded set of glutes, you must complete a comprehensive routine that hits this entire muscle group.
The gluteus medius and minimus are responsible for hip rotation, leg abduction and pelvic stability, which is an important factor for fighting lower back and hip pain. Get the edge on this holy trinity by practicing a lateral band walk.
- Position a resistance band slightly below your knees. Maintain pressure on your muscles by separating your legs about shoulder-width apart throughout the entire exercise.
- Lower your body into a half squat (about a 45-degree angle) and take a large step to the right. Keep your bodyweight in your heels.
- Take a small step to bring your left leg close to your right.
- Continue stepping to the right for 20-25 repetitions, then repeat this drill in the opposite direction.
If you want to amplify your assets, you need to step up your glute game.
Ashley B. Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach. To learn more, visit ashleyblakefitness.com.