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A well-sculpted butt is a favorable physical trait. Men subconsciously perceive women with defined rear regions to be more fertile. Similarly, women find men with muscular bottoms more attractive, especially when other areas of the body are adequately toned.
Aside from being nice to look at, a strong backside also comes with health benefits. Exercising the butt region activates the core and strengthens the back and hips. A good glute workout also optimizes movement in forward-oriented activities, like walking and running.
Do these squats today to help shape the gluteus maximus from flabby to fabulous.
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1 – Basic Squat
For me, the basic bodyweight squat is where it all begins. This is the foundational move for toning the glutes. It also provides a solid foundation for more advanced squats.
Stand up straight with your feet facing forward, shoulder-width apart. With arms outstretched in front of you for balance, bend your knees and bring your hips and butt back. You should feel as if you are slowly descending into an imaginary chair.
In order to get the deepest squat possible, your butt should be in line with your calves when you lower your body.
Rise up slowly, keeping your body tight – especially the core and butt. Make sure to inhale as you lower and exhale as you rise.
The basic squat is a great way to activate bones and joints and counter the effects of prolonged sitting. Experts recommend completing three sets of 10, with a rest period between each.
2 – Plié Squat
Move over, ballet – this squat is coming for your glutes.
The plié squat (or sumo squat) is a wide-stance squat that I use for engaging the glutes at another angle. It also helps tremendously with improving my balance and stability. This move works the quads, hamstrings, inner thighs, and lower back.
Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width. Your feet should be pointed outward at about a 45-degree angle. Lower your body slowly, bringing your hips and butt back. Remember to inhale on the way down. Fold your hands in front of your chest if you need extra balance.
When you are lowered, your back should be straight, and your core and butt should still be tight. Your thighs should also parallel the ground. Maintaining a proper stance is essential for avoiding injury.
3 – Lateral Squat
I like the lateral squat for working the gluteus medius, the butt muscle that helps produce side-to-side hip and thigh movement. This move also helps with flexibility.
Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width, with feet pointing forward. Bend your right knee and lower your body to your right side, keeping your left leg straight. If you need extra balance, you can fold your hands in front of your chest or outstretch your arms.
Reverse the movement by shifting your weight to your left side, bending your left knee and straightening your right leg.
I know you have heard me say this already, but please keep your core and glutes tight. Working as many muscles as I can makes me feel stronger, and I want the same for you.
4 – Single-Leg Squat
If you are an avid runner like I am, the single-leg squat is your best friend. I like that it simultaneously trains balance, coordination, and of course strength. It also helps prevent dreaded runner’s knee due to the flexion involved. It may be difficult to master, but I find the extra challenge to the quadriceps and hamstrings totally worth it.
Stand on your right leg, bending slightly. Extend your left leg in front of you or slightly behind you, whichever feels more natural. If you need balance, outstretch your arms in front of you.
Once balanced, lower yourself as far as you can without toppling over. Remember to keep your back straight, with core and glutes squeezed as you descend and slowly rise.
5 – Squat Jump
The squat jump is a fun way to add a dose of fat-burning cardio, while still engaging the butt muscles. I consider this the grown-up way to hop around, without attracting odd bystander attention.
Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width, with your feet turned outward at a slight angle. Fold your hands in front of your chest and descend into the basic squat, keeping your body tight and remembering to inhale.
Once you hit your lowest point in the squat, propel yourself upward, throwing your arms down to create momentum for the jump. Aim for a light landing so that you can use this momentum to segue into the next squat.
This move is best done only once or twice a week to give your body needed rest. Timed intervals of 15, 30, or 45 seconds (if you feel ready), are totally fine.
6 – Squat Jack
I would like you to now meet the squat jack – and get ready to feel the burn in your glutes, legs, and abs. This is another fat-burning move that seamlessly blends cardio and strength, optimizing any workout. I like to warm up my body with some basic squats in preparation for the activity.
Stand with your feet together, hands folded at your chest. Hop your feet outward into the plié squat position, pretending again that you are sitting in an imaginary chair.
Due to its high-cardio nature, this move is best done in a circuit with other cardio-intensive moves. I recommend three sets of 20 repetitions, each punctuated with a period of rest.
I promise you are going to appreciate that water break.
7 – Goblet Squat
No, the goblet squat has nothing to do with wine (I wish). This squat gets its name because builds on existing squat knowledge by incorporating a dumbbell.
I use a 25-pound dumbbell for this squat. You are certainly welcome to go up to 50 pounds if inclined – I just recommend starting lighter to get accustomed.
Get into your basic squat stance and hold your dumbbell vertically, cupping the top end firmly against your chest. Make sure your elbows are perpendicular to the ground.
Descend into the squat, keeping your body firm, and rise up in one slow, fluid movement.
I recommend scaling this move up over time, both weight-wise and repetition-wise. This prevents you from injury and still allows you to challenge yourself. Two to three sets of five to 20 repetitions is great for a start.