Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness and nutrition courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+.
It’s the era of the booty. Not just in fashion and pop culture (read: Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Iggy Azalea) but for health and fitness as well. Strong glutes not only look good but they can help improve your posture, protect you from injury and improve athletic performance.
The glutes are made up of three main muscles: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. The gluteus maximus, is the strongest and biggest muscle in your body and the one that gets the most attention. All three muscles work together to extend, rotate and abduct the hip. They also contribute to stabilizing the pelvis, especially when you’re walking and running.
Squats and lunges should always be a component of any glute training program but the following moves will also target those muscles for a stronger more shapely rear end.
Aim for three or four sets of 12 to 15 repetitions each set.
Lie on the floor, firmly holding a weight disc on your stomach as indicated. Raise your hips up as high as possible and hold for one second. Lower and repeat. As your full-range repetitions are concluded, perform 10 to 15 quick pulses at the top of the movement, raising and lowering your hips only three to four inches.
Note: This exercise works the entire glute area from a different perspective, strongly increasing hip flexibility and overall butt tone and shape.
Tip: If you’re just starting out, master the move before adding a plate.
Adopt the starting position on a hyperextension apparatus as shown. With your hands clasped behind your head, lower your upper body toward the floor. Rise up as high as possible and repeat until your selected number of repetitions are complete.
Note: This exercise works your lower back as well as your glutes. Additionally, the tie-in between your hams and lower glutes is greatly mobilized.
Kneeling Cable Kickback
Kneel on a bench with a low cable pulley attached with an ankle strap as shown. Holding on to a sturdy post for balance, start the kickback from a leg-forward position as indicated. Bring your leg backward to as high a position as possible. Lower and repeat until your repetitions are complete. Work your other leg in an identical manner.
Note: This is the most complete butt-training exercise known to man. The glutes are taken through their fullest range of movement, and consequently are toned from top to bottom.
Using an attached low cable ankle strap on your left foot, take a hold of a sturdy upright post for balance. Bring your leg back as far as possible without leaning too far forward. Lower until your feet are once again aligned, and repeat. Work your right leg in a similar fashion.
Note: This exercise works the upper half of the gluteus, sometimes known as glute height or “shelf.”
Tip: Contract your glutes at the top of the move.