Who doesn’t want a good butt? No matter your age, a good butt is important — and not just so you can look great in jeans. Strong glutes play a bigger role in your fitness level than you probably realize.
Your glute and leg muscles are the biggest muscles in your body, explains Lindsey Clayton, master instructor at Barry’s Bootcamp and co-founder of Brave Body Project. “Your glutes are responsible for moving your hips and thighs,” she says. “Having a powerhouse lower body will not only improve your performance during your workout, but it also makes it easier to do simple daily tasks, like walking up stairs or picking a kid up.” Plus, having strong glutes can help prevent injury and muscle imbalances down the line.
Want a strong, sexy booty? We asked Clayton to share some of her favorite moves for toning and strengthening the bum. Add this routine to your workout regimen once or twice a week.
1. Sumo Squat With Pulse
Stand with legs wider than shoulder width apart, toes pointed outward. Without letting knees go past toes, sit back and down as far as you can. Lift arms overhead. Hold. Pulse down for 20 seconds.
“I love this exercise because it targets the glutes and the inner thighs,” says Clayton. “The pulse gives the extra burn, and time under tension will result in a stronger and firmer booty!”
2. Single-Leg Deadlift
Stand with feet hip width apart. Lift your left leg off the ground, bend right knee slightly. Keeping your back straight, slowly lean forward to touch your left hand to your right foot while simultaneously lifting your left leg behind you. Slowly return to standing. Repeat for 10 reps, then switch legs.
“Challenge your balance and strength at the same time with this move,” says Clayton. “It can be done with or without weights and specifically focuses on the glute and hamstring. Plus, it’s great for working through muscle imbalances, since the unilateral movement prohibits you from relying on one side of the body being stronger to do the work.”
3. Single-Leg Glute Bridge
Lie flat on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor about a foot in front of your butt, arms down at your sides. Raise your left leg toward the ceiling, foot flexed. Squeeze core and glutes as you push through right heel to raise butt, hips, stomach, and chest off the floor, so only your right foot, shoulders, head, and arms remain on the ground. Slowly lower. Do 10 reps, then switch legs.
“This is my favorite move to create that separation from the thigh to the glute,” says Clayton. “Push all the energy through your heel during this move. The more you focus on that, the more you’ll feel the muscles in your booty fire up.”
4. Hydrant With Leg Extension
Come to tabletop on all fours, hands directly under your shoulders, hips directly over your knees, back flat. Keeping your knee bent, raise your right leg to the side until it is in line with your shoulder (or as high as you can). This is position one. Extend your right leg fully out beside you. Slowly return to position one and repeat. Do 10 reps, then switch legs.
“You really get to isolate the glutes and focus all your energy on that specific muscle with kneeling glute work,” says Clayton. “This specifically targets the gluteus medius, or the muscle responsible for moving the leg sideways, away from your body.”
Come to tabletop on all fours, hands directly under your shoulders, hips directly over your knees, back flat. Extend your right leg out behind you and tap the ground with your toes. Then, keeping back flat, right leg straight, lift right leg and move it in an upside down U-like shape, tapping toes to the ground outside of the left foot. Continue repeating the motion, tapping right side and left side 10 times. Switch legs and repeat.
“This move challenges your range of motion, therefore tackling your glutes in a different way,” says Clayton. “Be conscious not to arch your back during this movement though! Keep your core tight, and let the lower body do the work.”
6. Step Up
Stand in front of step, bench, or box. Keeping your core tight, step left foot flat onto the top of bench; as you push to stand up fully on your left leg, pull your right knee up toward your chest. Step down. Repeat 10 times, then switch legs.
“I love this move because it translates to how we move in real life,” says Clayton. “Learning to properly fire up your glutes instead of dumping the intensity into your hamstrings and quads will make a huge impact on the shape of your glutes.
Want more? Download the best exercises for women over 50.