The Best Bum Workout

Want to get your rear end in shape? These glute workouts will help you get the rear you’ve always wanted.

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We would all love to feel as bootylicious as Beyoncé but unfortunately for some of us we just don't have those natural luscious curves. But do not fear, as all is not lost! The gym can actually be your best friend, helping you build up those glutes and get that peachy derriere you've been dreaming of. Follow these glute workouts and you can build up your behind in no time!

These bum exercises will work all three of the bottom or ‘gluteal’ muscles — the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus — to make your rear end firmer and shapelier. Although the glutes work as a ‘team’, they all perform slightly different roles in terms of the movements they enable. For example, exercises in which you lie on your side and lift your leg, works the minimus and medius, but you need to externally rotate the hip to bring in the maximus. Equally, the medius and minimus work hard to keep the pelvis stable during walking, but the hip doesn’t extend far enough behind the body to involve the gluteus maximus. 

However, running, hopping, stepping or skipping — where weight is transferred explosively from one leg to the other will work a treat. Alongside these toning and strengthening exercises, you are going to need to step up your cardio, in order to burn extra calories and ensure your newly honed and toned bottom isn’t buried under a layer of blubber!

Exercise Tips

  • Aim to workout the bum 3 to 4 times a week, and use the alternate days to do 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise. Your muscles need rest between workouts to ensure repair and growth for more exercise through the week. 
  • Ensure you take one day off completely a week. In week one, perform the exercises with no weight, to get a feel for correct technique and gear your glutes up for action. 
  • Stick to lower reps and sets; around 8 rep sets, 3 times when beginning, then hitch it up to between 10 and 12 reps in 4 or 5 sets with increased weight. Ideally you should aim for failure on the last rep, when your muscles are so spent, they cannot contract any more.
  • As soon as you feel comfortable with the weight, repetitions and sets you are performing, it’s time to up the ante don’t settle into a comfort zone. Provided you keep challenging your muscles, and work up a sweat in your cardio exercise, you can expect to be making a very grand exit eight weeks from now!

The Squat

Unfortunately there is no getting round this exercise, if you want a nice peachy bum and toned legs that you have to hit those squats! 

Squat

Technique: Stand around hip distance apart with knees slightly bent a core engaged, with either arms crossed, dumbbells by your sides or holding a bar on the meaty part of your shoulders. Take your weight back into your heels and lower your body by bending the legs, leading with the bottom, and with knees directly over the middle toes, imagine you're sitting down onto a chair. Aim to lower the legs to 90 degrees or less if you've developed good leg strength. Pause for a moment, then raise yourself back up and repeat.

Progress: There are so many variations to squats, moving the legs to different positions, bouncing whilst holding a squat, using a multitude of weights and equipment to vary your squat routine. Use a weighted bar across the fleshy part of your upper back, or a dumbbell in each hand, with arms at your sides, to add overload is the best way to advance your squat. 

Glute Kickbacks

A great exercise with many variations, easily done in and out of the gym, is the kickback that targets solely the glutes and hamstrings, perfect for hitting those muscles and perking that peach up. 

Technique: Kneel on all fours, hands and knees aligned with the hips and shoulders, with legs at right angles. Keeping the foot flat and the knee at a right angle, lift the leg up to the ceiling until the hamstring and back are level. Squeezing the glutes as you raise the leg and pause for a second, then return to the tabletop position. 

Progress: Adding a dumbbell to the crook of your knee or adding weights to your ankles as you do the movement will make your glutes work harder. Even alternating movements from the upward motion to the fire hydrant exercise- lifting your leg to the side instead of upward- will alter the types of glute muscles used, giving a more rounded workout. 

Side Leg Raise

A relatively low maintenance workout, perfect for sweating it out in the gym or in front of the tv at home!

Single leg raise

Technique: Lie on your right side, with hips stacked one on top of the other, and your head supported on your outstretched right arm. Keep the body in a straight line (you can lie against a wall to ensure you are straight) and lift the left leg up, toes pointing forwards, without allowing the pelvis to roll open. Pause then lower and repeat. Remember to keep the movement slow and controlled to utilise the muscles properly. Doing the movement up and down in two or three steps can also be useful to avoid letting gravity to the hard work. 

Progress: Tie a resistance tube around both ankles so that lifting the top leg requires you to work against the resistance of the band. Alternatively, use an ankle weight to add additional work for the muscles.

Knee Drive 

Probably one of the best leg exercises after squats, this workout uses many muscles in the legs but still hits the glutes hard. This exercise also gets the heart pumping effectively to burn those calories and keep weight off. 

Technique: Begin in a deep lunge position, both legs at right angles, with your right behind you and your left in front, knees remaining behind the toes. Drive up onto the left foot, bringing the back knee up towards your chest, using your arms in a swinging opposite action (as if you were power walking). Come right up on to the ball of your foot, pause, then go straight back down into a lunge position. Remember to squeeze those glutes both when in the lunge and reaching the top of your movement to fully utilise the workout. Repeat all repetitions and then change sides.

Progress: So many additions can be added to your workout such as jumping when your knee reached the top to add a calf and cardio element to the exercise. Holding some dumbbells can also be a great addition to not only make the legs work harder, but lifting your arms above your head as you swing them, will also give your arms a bit of a workout. 

Prone Lift

Technique: Lie on your tummy with forehead resting on hands, legs outstretched and tummy gently contracted. Bend your knee to 90 degrees and then squeezing both buttocks, lift the right knee a couple of inches from the floor. Don’t arch the back or rotate the leg. Pause lower and repeat all repetitions before changing sides.

Progress: Increase the range of motion by alternating leg and arm movements, as one leg goes up the opposite arm does the same thing and vice versa. When you can perform this comfortably, add ankle weights and dumbbells for the arms to push your muscles that extra bit. 

Lunge

Lunges work a variety of muscles in your legs, but particularly help tone and strengthen the glutes, similar to the squat exercises, being very demanding of the rear support.

Lunge

Technique: Take a big step forward with your right leg, bending both knees so that the right knee aligns over the right toes, but do not let the knee travel over the toes, as the left knee travels towards the floor. Aim for the legs to be at 90 degree angles and keep the weight centred through the hips. Keep the torso upright. Pause, then, pushing up through the front heel, straighten the legs and return to the start position. Complete all repetitions. Remember; do not allow pelvis to tip forwards and tailbone to stick out. 

Progress: Hold a dumbbell in each hand, ideally 5kg (approx 11lb) to begin with, with arms at your sides. Even adding a bar onto the meaty part of the neck. Explosive lunges are also great variations of this exercise, beginning at a neutral position and jumping into the lunge formation. Walking lunges are even better for glutes as you are required to fully use the glues to push off from the lunge position and swing the leg forward in a more extended motion than with static lunges. 

External Rotation with Resistance Band

Technique: Sit back on the floor, with weight supported on elbows and a resistance band tied around your thighs, just above the knees. Keeping feet close together, open the knees by pushing against the resistance of the band. Pause when you can’t extend any further, then slowly bring the knees back and repeat.

Progress: Once you can do this exercise comfortably, try the move travelling. Standing up, tie the resistance tube around your ankles this time, bend your knees into a plié position with your feet turned out to at least 45 degrees. Take a step to the right, working against the resistance of the band, and then bring the left foot in. Repeat with the right foot until you finish the set or run out of space and then return by leading with the left foot.

‘Kick-ass’ Cardio 

Step machine: 380 calories in 40 minutes

Step class: 635 calories in an hour (providing step is at least 10 inches high)

Walking uphill: 200 calories in 20 minutes (10 per cent incline at 4mph pace)

Kickboxing: 475 calories in a 45-minute class

Rowing: 270 calories in 30 minutes

Running: 360 calories in 30 minutes (at 8-minute-mile pace)

Figures based on a 140lb (63.5kg) woman.

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