Your booty may be out of your sight most of the day, but out of mind? Not if you've been spending any time on the fitness side of social media lately!
The message out there is loud and clear: the glutes are the athlete's muscle! And to build glutes like an athlete, a little light work at the end of your normal leg workout isn't going to cut it. You need to make your backside a priority!
Your guide to a new booty is Cory Gregory, who, in the decade before co-founding supplement giant MusclePharm in 2010, ran his own personal-training business and gym. He programmed women's weight-loss and body-transformation routines while earning certifications in exercise, powerlifting, nutrition, and CrossFit, among other disciplines. Along the way, he also developed a lasting admiration for the power of strong glutes, and well as a fondness for training certain lower-body muscle groups and movements daily, rather than just a couple of times a week.
These moves can be peppered seamlessly into your daily routine as directed, or done as an additional workout. We've outlined both methods below, so you have no choice but to kick your butt into shape!
Booty Booster 1. Walking Lunge
Directions: Start with 5 minutes per day, working up to 10 minutes daily
Cory Gregory's take: "Walking lunges tighten everything back there, and they're extremely simple to incorporate. You can simply do them without weights in an open area, anywhere from a yard to a hallway to lunging back and forth in your living room."
How to: You saw that right: Do these every day! Cory does, usually on a track near his home. You can do them wherever works for you, but definitely make them a high priority.
Place your hands on your hips if you're using body weight—which is fine—or, if you have dumbbells, you can hold one in each hand with your arms at your sides. Stand erect and take a large step forward with one foot. Bend both knees to lower your torso, making sure your front knee doesn't pass your toes in the bottommost position. Stop just short of your rear knee touching the floor, then drive through the heel of your front foot while bringing your rear leg forward.
You can come to a standing position after each rep, or continue the step with the rear leg and bring it forward into the next step. Repeat for time, not reps.
Booty Booster 2. High-Box Step-Up
Directions: Do on two nonconsecutive days per week for 5 sets of 12-20 reps.
Cory Gregory's take: "The step-up really engages your glutes on the strong upward drive to a standing position atop the box or step. To better fatigue the muscle, complete all reps one leg at a time instead of alternating."
How to: You can either do these with hands on hips (body weight only) or holding a dumbbell in each hand. Stand in front of a step, bench, or platform that's high enough that when you put your lead leg up, your forward thigh is parallel with the floor. Starting with your feet in a comfortable hip-width stance, step forward with your left leg onto the step and drive through the heel to use your glute and thigh to lift your body upward.
Bring the trailing leg to the top of the step, just tapping the bench at the top, then return along the same path to lower first your right and then your left leg to the floor. Repeat for 12-20 reps, then switch legs.
Booty Booster 3. Uphill Walking
Directions: 1-2 times per week, walk uphill outside or adjust a treadmill to the highest incline you can handle for 30 minutes.
Cory Gregory's take: "When you walk on a flat surface, it doesn't engage the butt nearly as much as when you're propelling yourself uphill. Of course, hill runs are great too, but don't underestimate the power of uphill walking. I use both!"
How to: This is as simple as it sounds. Find a hill in your neighborhood, or use a treadmill if you need to keep your workout indoors. Then walk up it, making sure to take strong strides and move your arms to increase your heart rate.
On a hill, you'll go up, then do a recovery walk down, and repeat the sequence for 30 minutes. On a treadmill, you'll walk on the incline for 30 minutes straight. Start off using a setting of 4.0 miles per hour, then increase to 5.0 miles per hour when you feel ready. Just remember that holding onto the handles will reduce the intensity and effectiveness of the exercise.
Booty Booster 4. Wide-Stance Squat
Directions: 1-2 times per week, do 5 sets of 12-20 reps.
Cory Gregory's take: "Whether done with a barbell, dumbbells, or just your body weight, a wide-stance squat taken to a position in which your thighs are parallel with the floor—or even just below that level—really puts the glutes under stretch and engages them strongly when you return to a standing position."
How to: Take a wide stance, with your feet well outside your shoulders and toes pointed significantly outward. With your chest up, your lower back maintaining its natural arch, and your eyes focused forward, bend your knees and hips as if you were sitting in a chair. Lower yourself until your thighs go at least parallel to the floor or just below.
Hold that bottom position for a count. Then reverse the motion by driving through your heels and pressing your hips forward to return to the start position.
Booty Booster 5. Stair Run
Directions: 1-2 times per week, run stairs for 20-30 minutes. A stadium is great, but any relatively long indoor or outdoor staircase that provides a safe area and at least standard-size steps will do.
Cory Gregory's take: "These work on the same principle as walking or running uphill. By adding an incline, you greatly increase your glute involvement in the exercise."
How to: Simply climb stairs as fast as you can, not skipping steps (although you can add some double-steps as your fitness levels improve). Be sure your whole body is working, with your arms pumping in tandem with your steps. Walk back down each time as a recovery mode, concentrating on breathing and allowing your heart rate to come down to a point at which you'll feel slightly recovered.
Your booty-building calendar
Perhaps you don't have a dedicated glute workout in your program—or worse yet, you have one that totally falls, er, flat. No worries: You can plug these moves into your existing program either piecemeal, or as an incredible one-hour booty-builder routine that you can use 1-2 times per week.
Option 1. The "add it to your current program" method
- Walking Lunge: 5 minutes nonstop, building up to 10 minutes daily
Twice a week (nonconsecutive days):
- High-Box Step-Up: 5 sets of 12-20 reps
Once a week:
- Uphill Walking: 30 minutes
Once a week (separate day from walking):
- Stair Run*: 20-30 minutes
If you don't have stairs within proximity of your gym, hop on the stair stepper for 10 minutes and complete 10 rounds of 30 seconds on/30 seconds off. Your working intervals should be at a high-enough intensity that you are out of breath at the end of 30 seconds. For your recovery intervals, reduce the speed enough to allow your heart rate and breathing rate to come down.
Once a week as part of lower-body workout:
- Wide-Stance Squat: 5 sets of 15-20 reps
Option 2. The "Booty day" method
- Walking Lunge: 5 minutes, working up to 10 minutes
1-2 Times a Week: