There’s more to a strong backside than the confidence-boosting vavoom effect. Toning and sculpting your glutes helps to prevent knee injuries, lower back pain, hamstring weakness and pelvic musculoskeletal problems. Many exercises incorporate the glutes by default, but isolating them and adding plyometrics will get the best results.
Leg Lift and Opener on Belly: Begin laying on the belly with hands underneath the forehead. Squeeze the glutes and abs simultaneously as you lift the legs. Perform a few reps moving up and down, then try a few moving out and in, separating the feet and bringing them together again.
Reverse Leg Pulses: Still on the belly, reach the arms out overhead. Raise the legs a few inches off the ground and pulse. Keep the heels together for one set then point the feet straight out for the next set.
Squat Jump: Begin with feet at shoulder-width and send the hips back and down into a squat. Using your arms, explode upward. Land softly in a toe-ball-heel fashion until you've reached the bottom of your squat again. There are so many variations to this movement. Click here to get more from your squat!
Plié Burner: Take the feet out wide and turned out almost all the way. Keep the hips close to the line of the feet and quads as you bend the knees. Don’t let the knees pass over the toes. Try to get the thighs parallel to the ground at first. Hold here for 10 to 30 seconds, then pulse for 10 to 30 seconds before returning to the hold again. Come up halfway and repeat the hold-pulse-hold pattern before you hit the full plié for a third set.
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Downward Dog Leg Lift: Come into your downward dog; heels should be on the ground or as close as you can get them to the ground. Pressing evenly into your palms, raise one leg up. Experiment with pointing and flexing the foot as you raise and drop the leg. Finish with pulses at the top. Switch legs without coming out of the downward dog. Click here to learn how to get into this range of motion.
Kneeling Leg Raise: Begin on all fours. Maintaining the 90-degree bend, point the foot on one leg and raise it up until the thigh is parallel with the ground. Return it to the starting position, or for an additional core workout, pull the knee up toward the chest. Do several repetitions on each side before switching.
Heel Kicks with Resistance Band: On all fours, grab the handle of a resistance band in each hand. Wrap the band around the middle of the foot and flex it. Slowly push the leg out and pull it back it like a donkey kick. Slow and controlled is best. Click here to check out this move more.
Fire Hydrant Lift/Extension: The classic fire hydrant move begins on all fours with the knees hip-width apart and shoulders over the hands. Keeping the bend in the leg, open the hip as the knee lifts upward. Repeat this motion for 10 to 30 reps, then add the extension: raise the knee up, swing the foot out to the side and back it, then release the leg. Click here for more explanation of this movement.
Glute Bridge with Mini Band: Wrap a mini band around your legs just above the knees. Laying on your back with the legs bent, heels close to the hips, roll the spine up as you lift the hips. Keep your arms at your side, palms down and pressing into the ground. Pulse outward on the band to work the outer glutes. Relax the head and neck. If the hips start to sag down, tap the floor with them and move back into position.
Single Leg Bridge: Get into your bridge again, but this time lift one leg as you move the hips up and down. Add a BOSU ball for a bigger challenge.
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