Exercises That Build the Glutes
Your backside is made up of two major muscles groups: the gluteus medius and the gluteus maximus. Both muscle groups work together to build a well-rounded buttocks. Sculpting strong, toned glutes can be achieved by performing resistance exercises, many of which also tone your legs and core muscles.
Squat Down Low
Squats are one of the most effective exercises to target the glutes and help you tone a shapely backside. They are also a compound exercise that sculpt your thighs and core as well. Beginners can start out using only body weight and advance to using dumbbells or a barbell to add intensity to the exercise. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees and squat down as if you were sitting into a chair. The deeper you squat, the more you work your glutes, but do not allow your knees to go forward beyond your toes when you squat. Hold for a moment and then return to the starting position. Control the movement as you go up and down. Perform 12 to 15 reps per set. Make this exercise more challenging by increasing the weight, doing one leg at a time or completing more reps per set.
Come Alive With Deadlifts
Roman deadlifts are done using a barbell. They target your glutes as well as your hamstrings and core. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart, keeping your hips and butt stationary. Hold the barbell in front of your body at about thigh-height. Bend your knees slightly and keep your back flat. Bend at the waist and slowly slide the weight down to your shins. Hold this position for a second and then contract your glutes to accelerate back up to the starting position. Complete 10 to 12 reps per set. Add more weight to the barbell to make your glutes work harder, or go until muscle failure.
Lunge With Power
Side lunges work your glutes, along with your hamstrings and quadriceps. Start by holding a dumbbell in each hand. Lunge to the right by taking a big step and squat down until your right thigh is parallel to the floor and your dumbbells are touching the ground. Keep your weight on your heel and do not hunch forward. Engage your glutes to stand up and return to the starting position. Alternate sides and complete 12 to 15 reps. To challenge yourself, make them explosive by adding a jump as you come up from each lunge and go until muscle failure.
Kickbacks Make a Comeback
You can build up your glutes and hamstrings with glute kickbacks. Start on all fours with your back straight and parallel to the ground. Extend your right leg back and raise your heel until your right thigh is parallel to your back. Hold for a moment and then return to the starting position. Squeeze your glutes during the entire movement. Do 12 to 15 reps on one side and then switch legs. Wear ankle weights while performing this exercise or do more reps per set to give your glutes a harder workout.
Based in the Los Angeles area, Brandi Junious specializes in health-related articles. Her writing reflects her expertise in fitness and education. Junious is the author of children's book "A World Without Trees" and her work has appeared on Modern Mom, The Nest Woman, Chron Healthy Living and at Loseweightandlivehealthy.blogspot.com. Junious holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Southern California and a master's degree in Education.