Working out, whether you love it or love to hate it, is an integral part of keeping yourself physically and mentally fit. The benefits of a regular exercise regime have been proven time and time again. It only makes sense that you’ve started to embrace it and make it part of your life. Some days it’s easier to burn those calories than it is on other days, but, regardless, you do it. You feel and look better every week.
Maybe, though, you need a way to mix things up. The cardio workout needs a little bit of a boost, and you need some variety to keep things interesting. You have a few areas of your body that could use some extra attention, so finding exercises you can do that can target those would be a good thing. One such extra-special area is your backside.
It has stayed more on the jiggly side. Even with the muscles around it tightening up, those muscles just haven’t seemed to want to follow suit. Luckily, there are a few butt workouts for women who want to firm up the junk in the trunk. Following some of these moves could help get those glutes whipped into shape sooner rather than later.
The Gluteal Muscle Group
First, it may benefit you to know a little bit more about the muscles that make up your seat. The gluteal muscles make up the largest muscle group by sheer volume in the human body. It consists of three muscles on each side of the hip:
Gluteus minimus: This muscle is responsible for rotating the hip. It helps you stay stable when you walk and when your weight is placed on one leg or the other. The gluteus minimus enables hip abduction — moving the leg straight out sideways from the body — as well as rotation inward of the hip and thigh.
Gluteus medius: The gluteus medius covers the gluteus minimus. Its primary function is to help your thigh rotate while walking. It also is responsible for keeping you steady while you’re moving. Finally, it keeps your pelvis level, preventing one side or the other from having more or less weight to support.
Gluteus maximus: When you talk about your butt, you’re referring to the gluteus maximus muscle. It is one of the strongest muscles in your body, and it runs from the side of your pelvis all the way down the back of the hip to the thigh. The gluteus maximus makes sitting, standing and stepping possible.
Keeping Your Glutes Healthy with Butt Workouts for Women
The gluteal muscles all work together to make walking, standing, sitting, twisting, running — pretty much all lower body motion — possible. If one or more of these muscles is not performing the way it should, your other muscles have to try and pick up the slack. If your butt muscles aren’t in the best shape, the majority of the exertion to get you from a sitting to standing position may be borne by your lower back or knees.
If your pelvis is out of whack due to a weakened gluteus minimus muscle, your hips may start to tilt and cause pain on one side of the body or the other due to improper and uneven walking. The glutes, therefore, really need to be a muscle group you concentrate on in your exercise efforts. Keep in mind, though, as you work them, they will let you know it. There is sometimes no pain greater than a sore booty after a good lower body workout.
Aside from aesthetics, you can now understand why it’s important to keep your butt muscles in good working order. Due to their size and function, their health and strength are essential to keeping your body moving. Check out this list of some of the best exercises you can do to maximize the function and look of your glutes.
Six Best Butt Exercises
Lunges, in general, are great exercises for your glutes. There are several variations, but walking lunges provide a great way to tone and firm your butt.
Start in a standing position with your hands on your hips. Step forward with one leg. When that forward foot hits the ground, lower your body like you do when squatting, bending both knees. The front thigh should be parallel to the ground, and the front knee should not go over the foot. Stand up almost immediately and step forward with the rear leg, and then repeat. Do 12 total steps, six with each leg. Repeat this at least once. Work your way up to more.
2. Side Skaters
Moving from side to side is a great way to work all the muscles in your hips. Side skaters are an easy exercise to perform to get the job done.
Stand with your back slightly bent, core tucked under, hips pushed back and arms pulled in under your chest. With one explosive move, leap to your right, landing on the ball of your right foot. This should not be a thud but a light landing. Immediately leap to the left and land on the ball of your left foot. Repeat, jumping from side to side. You can either do these by the amount of time, say 30-second bursts with a 15-second rest period, or you can count the leaps on either side.
You may remember seeing this move done in exercises class or tapes. It’s a great way to engage your core and tone all the muscles in your hips and butt.
Lay flat on your back with your knees bent. Stretch your arms out on the ground beside your hips. With one move, engage your glutes and core in lifting your lower back and butt off the ground. When you get to the top of the motion, only your shoulders, head and feet should be on the ground. Hold yourself in this top position for a count of 10, squeezing your butt muscles. Lower yourself slowly. Repeat this series of motions 12 times. Do three sets, resting in between each set.
4. Hip Thrust
Much like the bridge exercise, the hip thrust move forces you to engage your core and glutes in lifting your body off the ground. However, there are a few slight variations between the two exercises.
Start in a seated position on the ground. Place your arms behind your body, palms flat. The tips of your fingers should be facing away from your body. Bend your knees and put your feet flat on the ground. Engage the glutes and lift your lower body off the ground until only your hands and feet are remaining on the floor. You should look like you’re going to crab walk. Lower your body back down and repeat this thrusting movement 12 times. Rest and repeat with at least two more sets.
5. Step Up
Since climbing stairs is one of the essential functions of the gluteus maximus, it makes sense that doing that same movement will help strengthen it.
Stand to face a bench or other sturdy raised surface. The higher the bench or chair, the harder this exercise will be. Put your left foot on the bench and, without pushing off from your right foot, step up onto it. It is critical that you use only your glutes for this. Otherwise, you’ll be working the quad muscles in your thighs and not the glutes. At the top of the bench, bend your right leg and then begin your return back to the ground. Do this with each leg a minimum of 12 times. You can either do each leg at once or switch off. You should do three sets.
Squats are a great way to get your glutes in shape. If you are not strong enough at first to do freestanding squats, use a wall or sturdy chair as a guide. Squat form is essential to performing the exercise correctly.
Stand with your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart. The weight of your body should be driving through your heels, not the balls of your feet. Bend your knees and sink down into a deep squat. You should stop before your knees go past your feet. Your thighs should be just about parallel to the ground.
Put your arms out in front of you to help stabilize you. If you are performing the squat correctly and your weight is balanced on the heels of your feet, you should not be unsteady. Using your glutes, push yourself back to a standing position. Repeat this 12 times doing at least three sets.
There are many variations to all six of these exercises. Some will help if you are just starting out and others will add more intensity as you start to improve your form and your glutes start getting stronger. Adding weights and additional movements will cause the glutes to engage and keep them growing in a good way.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to take these six butt workouts for women and make them work for you. Integrating these into your exercise routine will help engage this muscle group, making it stronger, leaner and tighter.
Featured Image: CC0 by sifusergej via Pixabay