Lunges benefit the glutes.

A lower-body focused workout can burn calories and help you tone up.

Some magazines tend to focus on the aesthetics of glutes (aka your butt), but I prefer to look at the muscles of the posterior chain from an improved strength and sports performance mindset. The hamstrings, calves and glutes are the powerhouse muscles for running and many other sports. Whatever your personal reason for wanting to strengthen your rear, adding a lower-body focused routine to your schedule a few times a week will help you to get one step closer to accomplishing your goals.

Lower-Body Exercises to Improve Your Glutes

NOTE: For these exercises, you’ll need a step, a weighted bar and a set of dumbbells. If you don’t have these items, you can still do them using your own body weight as resistance. Perform 12 reps of each move and do 2-3 sets for a full workout. You can watch me as I show you how to do these toning exercises.

1. Multidirectional squat with bar
  • Challenges your coordination, engages your glutes and also works the inner thigh muscles.
2. Foot up on bench, split squat position with knee drive
  • Works the front quads, hamstrings and glutes while the knee drive gives your hip flexors a challenge.
3. Box jumps
  • Total lower-body move that engages your glutes while challenging your calves and core muscles.
4. Curtsey lunge, followed by a single leg dead lift
  • Focuses on the outside of the glute and the hamstrings.
5. Hands and knees position dumbbell, heel to glute raise (bootie lift)
  • Great for your core, hamstrings and glutes.
6. Hands and knees, heel to glute side lift
  • Focuses on the hips and glutes.

Choose to add some or all of these moves into your workout, two or three days a week.

If you want to add some running to your lower-body program, remember that running fast or running uphill promotes muscle strength and can help to build up glute muscles, too.

I recommend doing a fast running session once a week in an interval style, alternating at full speed for 15 seconds with a 30-second jog. Repeat this interval a total of 8 times, combined with a warm-up and cool-down for a balanced, glute-blasting workout. If your aim is to build muscle in this area, be sure to combine your workouts with good overall nutrition, paying special attention to your protein consumption.

We all feel better when we’re working toward achieving a body that looks and performs at its best. As you strive to accomplish your body composition and body shape goals, remember that we all have different body types and shape is created by a combination of genetics and lifestyle. Training and eating well can help you to manipulate your shape to some degree. But don’t get disappointed if your genetics prevent you from getting that magazine body. Chances are the image you’re striving for was manipulated, anyway.

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