Bent-Knee Donkey Kick
Muscles emphasized: gluteus maximus, hamstrings
How to: Kneel on a mat or towel and then get on all fours with your knees aligned under your hips. Focus on a spot on the ground so that your neck stays neutral. Exhale and raise one leg behind you, keeping the knee bent, until the sole of your foot is parallel to the ceiling. Pause for one count. Lower your knee to the mat. Do 12 to 15 reps before working the other leg. Perform three complete sets (both sides).
Pointers: To make the exercise harder, contract your glutes at the top of the move and pulse your raised foot upward five times.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Do keep your back flat and tummy controlled.
- Don’t overarch your back or let your belly sag as you raise your heel.
- Do use something under your knees to protect them.
- Don’t do this exercise on a hard surface.
- Do keep the motion small and controlled.
- Don’t let momentum take over.
Standing Hip Extension
Muscles emphasized: gluteus maximus, hamstrings, erector spinae
How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands placed lightly on your hips. Hold yourself up tall, knees unlocked. Exhale and raise your left leg behind you, keeping your upper body in the same general position and making sure you do not hyperextend your back. Contract your glutes as you lift. Hold for one count, then slowly return to the start. Complete one set of extensions for your left side, then repeat on your right. Do three sets of 15 to 20 reps on each side.
Pointers: Beginners or those with poor balance may want to hold on to the back of a chair.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Do control the working leg.
- Don’t let it swing out to the side.
- Do give yourself enough room to perform this exercise properly.
- Don’t start from a position that is too close to furniture (if you’re at home) or equipment (if you’re in the gym).
- Do focus straight ahead.
- Don’t bend your neck back.
The hip extension is a bodyweight exercise that really targets your booty. As your erector spinae stabilize your body during this move, it hits your hamstrings and glutes.