Butt strengthening workout
Strengthen your gultes with these simple exercises. The glutes – gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus muscles – connect your hips, lower back and legs. Working out the glutes not only engages those muscles, it helps stabilise your back and strengthen your hip joints too.
It’s important to warm-up before you get into your exercises. Get your blood pumping with some vigorous housework or a brisk walk – include some hills to intensify your workout.
Loosen up your lower back and toosh with a stretch before you start. Lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest. Hug your shins, or the backs of your thighs, keeping your back, neck and shoulders relaxed.
Start out easy with eight to 10 repetitions of each exercise. Gradually increase to 12. Create a circuit of all six exercises by doing them one after another in single sets for up to one minute a set. Repeat up to three times and do it two to four times a week for best results. If the exercises become easy, add weights.
1. Wide squats
Works: Your glutes and quadriceps
Equipment: Start with nothing, then add a heavy book or a 5-10kg dumbbell to make this more intense.
How-to: Stand with your feet parallel slightly wider than hip-width apart. Hold the weight between your legs and press your shoulders back and down. Squat as though sitting into a chair, keeping your knees over your ankles and heels pressed into the floor. You’ll feel the stretch along your inner thighs. Hold for a moment, then squeeze your bottom and slowly straighten your legs.
Tip: Don’t lean forward: this minimises the effectiveness of the exercise. Sit back and keep your chest open; hopefully, you won’t feel like you’re about to topple over!
2. Walking lunges
Works: Your glutes and legs
Equipment: Start with nothing then add two hand weights or full water bottles.
How-to: Stand with your back straight, legs shoulder-width apart and hands on hips. If using dumbbells, have them by your sides. Leading with your right heel, take a big step forward and lunge down, bending both legs. Make sure your front knee is above your ankle so your leg is at 90 degrees, and your back knee hovers just above the floor. Push up through your right heel and come back up to standing. Take a big step forward, leading with your left heel, and lunge. Keep lunging forward in an exaggerated walk, or lunge on the spot.
Tip: Keep your hips facing forwards.
Works: Your quads, hamstrings and glutes
Equipment: A sturdy step or stair that’s lower than knee height.
How-to: Place your right foot squarely onto the step with your knee directly above your toe. Keep your back straight as you step up. Place your left foot on the step so both feet are together. Step back down with the right foot, leading with the toes. Either lead with the one foot for a series of reps and then change, or alternate sides as you go, pumping your arms as if you’re marching.
Tip: Try adding a knee lift as you step up.
4. Heel presses
Works: Your glutes and hamstrings while stabilising the lumbar spine
Equipment: A mat or towel.
How-to: Lie on your stomach with legs together and gently rest your head on your hands. Bend your right leg to 90 degrees, keeping your foot flexed, and push your heel straight up towards the ceiling. You’ll feel it in your glutes if you’re doing it right. Keep your upper body relaxed and your hips pressed firmly into the floor as you continue with one leg and then the other.
Tip: This exercise can be done on all fours if it feels more comfortable.
5. Narrow squats
Works: Your glutes and quads
Equipment: A fit ball or a clear space against a wall.
How-to: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, leaning your back flat against the wall or with a fit ball balanced between your lower back and the wall. Bend your knees and lower your bottom as if sitting into a chair. Keep your weight even through your heels and your knees directly over your ankles. Squeeze your bottom on the way up as you straighten your legs.
Tip: Start small and only go half way down. Build up to bending your knees to 90 degrees.
6. Pelvic bridges
Works: Your glutes and thighs
Equipment: A mat or towel.
How-to: Lie on your back with arms by your sides, feet flat on the ground, knees bent. Slowly raise your pelvis towards the ceiling, rolling up your spine one vertebrae at a time until your back is at a 45-degree angle to the floor. Squeeze your bottom as you reach the top, then roll your spine back down.