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13 Tough But Effective Butt Exercises

13 Tough But Effective Butt Exercises

I sit most of my work day. And, while I can’t find any research to prove it, I swear my butt expands and gets flatter from all of that sitting. Most people don’t look at their own butts, but the people behind them do. Whether you think your butt is spreading, getting flabby, is too small or flat, or not, don’t take any chances. Get on board with these butt exercises and keep that view from the rear a nice one!

1. The Hip-Lift Progression

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    via Pinterest.com

    All you need is a cushioned mat and yourself, so this exercise can literally be done wherever you have a large enough space to fit your mat.

    How To Do It

    1. Lie flat on your back with arms at your sides.
    2. Knees should be bent with feet flat on the floor; your feet should be about the same width apart as your shoulders.
    3. Using your legs for leverage, lift your entire torso up off the mat.
    4. Hold that position. You will feel your glutes tightening.
    5. Now lift one leg up off the mat and extend it out straight.
    6. Move the outstretched leg up, keeping it straight. You will feel even more pull on your glutes — this is a good thing.
    7. Hold the leg up for a slow count of five, then slowly return it to its original position.
    8. Alternate these leg lifts. Note: When you first begin this exercise, you may not be able to hold the raised torso position for long. This is fine. Slowly lower your body to the mat, rest, and start again.
    9. As you continue to do this exercise, you will be able to hold the raised position longer and will be able to do more of the leg lifts. Be patient.

    Benefits

    • This exercise has the added benefit of relieving the tension in your back that accumulates during the day.
    • It also makes the muscles more flexible, which should reduce back pain in the future.

    Another variation of this one is to lie with both legs outstretched and your feet against a wall. Keeping those feet on that wall, lift your entire torso up to your shoulders. Hold that position for as long as you can and then slowly lower your body down to a flat position. You will not be raising your legs during this one, but both legs will be raise as you place those feet against the wall. You’ll feel this one in your glutes, even into the next day.

    2. The Step-Up Butt Exercise

    b51dabfe_Chair-Step-Ups.xxxlarge

      via Popsugar.com

      Step-ups absolutely work your butt, especially if it is “droopy” (thanks, gravity). These can be done anywhere you find a sturdy chair, coffee table, or bench.

      How To Do It

      1. Stand directly in front of the chair, table, or bench.
      2. Step up onto the object with one foot.
      3. Bring the other foot up, but do not set it down on the object. Instead, bend your knee and hold that leg up.
      4. Step back down slowly — this pulls on those glutes just as much as the step up does.
      5. Alternate the leg you use for the first step-up movement.
      6. Once this becomes easy for you, raise the level of tension by holding small weights in your hands — begin with 5 lbs. and gradually increase.

      Benefits

      • The stepping up and stepping down backwards will improve your balance.
      • You can also do this exercise a bit faster and increase that heart rate for a cardio workout.
      • If you climb or bike, step-ups help your body prepare for hills.

      3. Basic Squat

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      Mastering-Basic-Squat

        via Popsugar.com

        There are so many different types of squats! For your posterior, any of the myriad variations will work. You can start with simple, less rigorous types and progress as you toughen up.

        How To Do It

        Begin with the basic squat:

        1. Stand straight and put your hands behind your head.
        2. Your feet should be apart, about the distance of your shoulders.
        3. Keeping your back straight, lean forward as you bend your knees and thighs.
        4. Don’t arch your back, but push your butt out, as if you were going to sit down in a chair.
        5. Keep your weight on the heels of your feet as you bend.
        6. Slowly raise up and repeat.
        7. Both the down and the up movements should be slow. That movement is what pulls and strengthens those glute muscles.

        Benefits

        There are some amazing overall health benefits to squats.

        • They will increase the release of hormones.
        • You will have improved flexibility, and that will help reduce future injuries.
        • You will improve your balance.

        There are 30 or so variations of squats, all of which will help shape and tone your butt.

        4. Squats with Weights

        Basic-Dumbbell-Squat

          via Popsugar.com

          The steps of this exercise are the same as those for the basic squat, but you will want to add weights incrementally.

          How To Do It

          1. Assume the basic squat position.
          2. Hold the weights in your hands with your elbows bent so that the weights are at about chin level.
          3. Keep your arms in the same position throughout the exercise.

          An additional benefit to this type of squat is that you will feel more of a pull in your butt and in your stomach as well. Using weight with your squats will strengthen those stomach muscles.

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          5. Sumo Squat

          Sumo-Squat

            via Popsugar.com

            So-named because it is the starting position of a sumo wrestler.

            How To Do It

            1. Space your legs much farther apart than with a basic squat.
            2. Point your feet outward.
            3. Bend your elbows and clasp your hands in front of your chest.
            4. Slowly bend down, keeping feet firmly planted. You will feel a stronger pull on your butt in this position.

            Benefits

            • There will be greater pull on your stomach muscles.
            • This exercise is also great for tightening up those inner thighs — you’ll certainly feel it.

            6. Deep Squat

            Deep-Squat-Weights

              via Popsugar.com

              Once you have the basic squat mastered, you can make it harder by adding more weight.

              How To Do It

              1. Stand in the basic starting pose for a squat.
              2. Hold a single weight (8-10 lbs. or more) with both hands.
              3. Squat as deeply as you can, but do not rest the weight on the floor at any time.
              4. Again, lower yourself and raise yourself back up very slowly to get the most benefit.

              Benefits

              • You will find that your outer thighs, your abdomen, and your butt will all benefit.

              7. Single Leg Squat

              single

                via MuscleandFitness.com

                Here’s one you can do at the office all day long, every time you get up and down from your chair.

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                How To Do It

                1. From a sitting position, extend your arms out in front of you.
                2. Straighten your back.
                3. With both feet on the floor, raise one foot.
                4. Rise to a standing position, slowly.
                5. Squeeze your butt cheeks as you rise.
                6. Try not to lean forward — the more you do, the less pull on those glutes.
                7. Sit back down in the same way you stood up — back straight and still holding one foot up.

                Benefits

                • This exercise requires good balance. If you don’t have great balance, you will when you master this squat.
                • Posture is improved if these are carried out several times a day.

                And while you are sitting in that chair all day? You can continue to work those glutes if you take just a few seconds to squeeze them every hour or so. You can do the same thing while driving your car or watching TV at home. All of those squeezes will really tighten things up over time.

                8. Barbell Squats

                Barbell-Squat-Press-1024x700

                  via OxygenMag.com

                  Adding weight to squats increases friction, and increasing friction tightens and tones faster.

                  How To Do It

                  1. Perform a basic squat.
                  2. While in the squatting position, pick up your bar with your hands about shoulder width apart.
                  3. Slowly rise to a standing position with your bar held at your shoulders.
                  4. Raise the bar above your head until your arms are fully extended.
                  5. Bring the bar back down to your shoulders and slowly squat again.
                  6. Repeat this until you are feeling some pain. Over time, the number you can do will increase, as will the amount of weight you can lift.

                  Benefits

                  • You will tone and strengthen your abs, as well as your upper arms and shoulders.

                  9. Single Wall Leg Lunge

                  03-iso-wall-squat

                    via WomensHealthMag.com

                    While this exercise works many muscles, it is especially good for the butt. It can be done with or without handheld weights, and the only other thing you need is a wall.

                    How To Do It

                    1. Stand with your back to a wall.
                    2. Raise one leg behind you and place the ball of that foot on the wall. Place it as high as is comfortable for now. As you gain flexibility, you will be able to raise that leg higher.
                    3. Push off the wall and lunge forward, keeping hands on your hips and the ball of your foot still firmly planted on that wall.
                    4. Alternate legs.
                    5. Do 2-3 sets a day and you’ll see great results in just a few short weeks.

                    Benefits

                    • If you are looking for a way to tighten those upper thighs, this is it.
                    • Your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and core will all get a great stretching workout, and that stretching increases their flexibility.
                    • Your balance will be improved.

                    10. Plie

                    Lower-Body-Wide-Squat-Calf-Raise

                      via Popsugar.com

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                      Remember those ballet lessons as a child? Well you probably didn’t know then that those plies were one of the best ways to keep your butt tight and toned. As you can see from this image, this is similar to the sumo squat because the legs are far apart. However, from there, things are different.

                      How To Do It

                      1. Stand next to a barre and grab it with your nearest hand. If you have great balance, you can try this without the barre.
                      2. Put your free hand on your hip.
                      3. Keep your back fully straight — looking straight ahead will help.
                      4. Spread your feet as wide apart as you are able.
                      5. Point your feet outward so your knees follow in that direction.
                      6. Raise up on your toes and squat slowly, hold, and then slowly rise back up. It is the slow movement up and down that really tightens and tones the glutes.

                      Benefits

                      • You will be strengthening your calves, hamstrings, and inner and outer thighs, giving them more flexibility.
                      • This is a great exercise for posture.

                      11. Floor Jacks

                      8126b102_pilates_swimming.xxxlarge

                        via Popsugar.com

                        Remember the jumping jacks you used to do in PE class? Maybe you still do them for their aerobic benefits. Here is a great variation of a jumping jack on your tummy that will tighten up that butt in no time.

                        How To Do It

                        1. Lie flat on your tummy — a mat is a good idea.
                        2. Raise your arms straight out above your head.
                        3. Spread your legs to about the width of your shoulders.
                        4. Raise your arms and head up at the same time that you raise your legs up.
                        5. Keep your toes pointed.
                        6. Now, do the jumping jack movement with your arms and legs. They should remain stiff and straight at all times.

                        Benefits

                        • This exercise strengthens and tones the inner and outer thighs.
                        • Your upper arms and shoulders will be stretched and your flexibility will increase.

                        12. Quadruped Hip Extensions

                        de33d9fe-77b8-11e3-_501786b

                          via OperationShape.com

                          This exercise has been shown by research to give you the most “bang for your buck” on that butt. In terms of tightening and toning those muscles, nothing could be better.

                          How To Do It

                          1. Get on all fours.
                          2. Palms should be flat on the floor and arms straight.
                          3. Keep your head straight and in line with your spine.
                          4. Raise one leg as high as you can, keeping the knee bent. Hold it. Bring it back down.
                          5. Repeat with the same leg several times before moving to the other.
                          6. Variations include adding weight to the inside of the knee, or using a band around the ankles to create more friction.
                          7. Another variation is to raise the leg to the side, like a male dog who is peeing, and raise that bent leg up and down slowly.

                          Benefits

                          • As you raise each leg up, you will also be pulling on the hamstring.
                          • If you raise the leg to the side, you will strengthen and tone your inner thighs.

                          13. Rear Raisers

                          bbf050

                            via Prevention.com

                            This exercise is specifically for that saggy butt.

                            How To Do It

                            1. Assume the same position as for the quadruped hip extension.
                            2. While in that position, move one leg across the underside of your body so that the foot is pointing in the opposite direction of the side it came from.
                            3. Extend the other leg straight back, keeping it off the floor. Hold.
                            4. Raise that outstretched leg up and down slowly, tapping your toes on the floor and then raising back up.
                            5. Squeeze your butt cheeks each time you bring your leg up.
                            6. Remember not to arch your back.

                            Benefits

                            • The leg that is outstretched and moving will have its hamstring stretched.
                            • The lower back muscles are also stretched, giving them great flexibility. With flexibility comes fewer episodes of back pain.

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                            Published on August 16, 2019

                            15 Strength Training Exercises Specifically for Runners

                            15 Strength Training Exercises Specifically for Runners

                            When you choose the right exercises, and make strength training a priority, it will have a great payoff to improve your running. Studies have shown incorporating a strength training program to your running routine improves running economy.[1]

                            Here are 15 strength training exercises specifically for runners.

                            1. Planks

                            The plank is a very important core exercise that will help give you more control and balance while running. Having a strong core will also keep you more stable and in control if you have to navigate uneven surfaces.

                            The plank is a simple exercise and involved balancing on your forearms and the tips of your toes, so that your back is “straight as a plank”. You want to focus on keeping your abs tight and imagine sucking your belly button up into your spine to have them properly engaged.

                            Aim for 30 to 45 seconds for a few rounds. Ultimately, you want to hold them as long as you can with proper form – so every time you perform a plank you want to go a little longer than previous ones.

                            2. Side Planks

                            The same concept is applied but you are now engaging your core in a different manner and engaging your oblique muscles too. This time, you are going to lie on your side with your legs stacked on top of each other.

                            You will lean on your right forearm and lift your hips off the ground keeping your head lined up with your torso and ankles. Keep your other hand on your hip to help ,and control balance, and focus on not moving or swaying. Keep your abs tight to engage them and hold for 30-45 seconds, or longer if you can.

                            3. Clamshells

                            For this exercise, you are going to need a simple resistance band. Start with the band wrapped around both legs just below the knee. Your starting position will be on the ground lying on your side with your top hip and shoulder pointing towards the ceiling. Your hips will be on the ground, keep your back straight and your feet together, and lift up with your top knee as far as you can with the resistance.

                            Pause for a second at the top and lower back down under control. You can do 10 reps on this side before switching over and doing another 10 reps and aim for 2 to 3 sets.

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                            Clamshells are going to help strengthen your abductor muscles giving you stronger hips and more stability while running.

                            4. Single-Leg Bridge

                            You will start lying on your back with your feet on the ground, shoulder-width apart with knees bent. You will straighten out one leg so it’s out in front of you in the air and lift your body up by pushing with the leg on the ground.

                            You want to flex your abs and glutes while pushing upward and try to keep your hips level throughout the motion before returning to the ground. You can also hold your body in the upright position for 5-10 seconds before returning to the ground to get more engagement before switching over to the other leg.

                            The single-leg bridge will help strengthen your glutes which are crucial for running power and stride strength.

                            5. Standing Calf Raises

                            This is a simple exercise but one that is very important for strengthening the calves. The stronger they are, the less fatigue you will experience during running. You will need to find an elevated step or platform for this exercise.

                            Stand on the platform with your heels hanging off the edge. Find something stable to hold on to for balance and start by lower your heels down until you feel a stretch in the back of your calves. Then, stand upwards like you are trying to see over a fence. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

                            6. Arch Lifting

                            You will start out standing with your feet directly under your hips, and this is best done without shoes. You will rotate the arch of your foot upward while keeping your toes and heels in contact with the ground.

                            Don’t let your toes tighten and you want to hold for a few seconds at the top before returning to the ground. You can do 3 sets of 10 repetitions and this is going to help strengthen the arches of your feet.

                            The stronger your arches are the better it is to keep your running stride strong and prevent less fatigue in the feet.

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                            7. Half-Kneel Hip Flexor Stretch

                            Strong hips are paramount for running and the hip flexors can easily become strained and overused. This exercise will help to strengthen them and provide more power and stability while running. You will start kneeling with one foot forward and the other knee bent underneath the hip.

                            Keep your abs tight, your back straight, and shift your body weight forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your hips. Hold this for 20 to 30 seconds before switching over to the other leg.

                            8. Alternating Lunges

                            These are going to develop power and strength in your quads and glutes to help give you a more powerful stride. You will start standing with your hands on your hips looking straight out in front of you.

                            Step forward with your right leg and lower down just before your opposite knee touches the ground. Then, push through your heel to return to the standing position before performing the lunge with your left leg. Alternate between the right and left leg so that each one has done 10 reps and you can perform 3 sets of this.

                            9. Jump Squats

                            These can be done just with your bodyweight and help to develop explosive power in the lower body. The jump squat is handy for when you have to run hills and need more power for harder stretches of your run.

                            The best way is to start in a squat position with your feet shoulder-width apart. You will drive through the heels of your feet and explode upwards. As your bodyweight brings you back to the ground, control your weight as you go back into the squat position to fully engage the muscles.

                            Make sure not to let your knees move inwards and keep your abs tight, your head up, and your chest out. Aim for 3 sets of 10 reps.

                            10. Skater Hops

                            This will help to build leg and core strength, along with improving balance. You will start standing upright but then bending the knees slight like you’re about to sit down. You will then drive off your right foot, jumping a few feet out to the left.

                            You will land on your left foot while your right foot swings behind your left leg. Then, drive off the left foot using the momentum of your right foot swinging back to land back on it. You will keep doing these side hops for ten times each leg and the motion should look like a speed skater shifting side to side.

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                            11. Bulgarian Split Squat

                            This will be similar to the lunges but, will really ramp up the resistance for the quads and is a great strength training exercise for runners. You are going to need an elevated surface or bench to stand in front of. The starting position will be standing upright with your head up and hands on your hips.

                            Start with your right foot behind you supported by the bench. You will start by lowering your hips to drops your left leg down to around a 90-degree angle, stopping just before your right knee hits the ground.

                            Next, push up through the heel until you are back at the starting position and perform ten reps, under control, before you switch over to the right leg. Perform 3 sets of this.

                            To make this even tougher, you can hold dumbbells in your hands hanging at your sides.

                            12. Arabesque

                            These will help in activating and controlling your hips. You will start off by standing on one leg, hands on your hips, and making sure your hips are level and balanced. You can then put your arms out to the side to give you more balance.

                            Start by tipping your torso forward as your non-weight-bearing leg extends out behind you. You can slightly bend your knee to help with control and you want to have your back and extended leg as level as possible. You should end up basically parallel to the floor with your shoulder, hip, and ankle should be in a straight line.

                            When you’ve gone as far forward as you can, return to the starting position and perform 8 repetitions before switching to the other leg.

                            Perform 2 to 3 sets. These are all about quality over quantity so if you can only do 4 or 5, that’s fine.

                            13. Hip Bridge

                            This is another great exercise to target the glutes which are the source of your running power. Start by lying on the ground with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent. Squeeze your glutes and then lift your hips up towards the ceiling.

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                            Your hips, knees, and shoulders should be in a straight line. Hold at the top for a second and then lower back down under control. Perform this 12 times and then, you can do 3 sets. If these get easier, you can hold a weight across your stomach for more resistance.

                            14. Push-Ups

                            A classic exercise, and for good reason. As much as you want to focus your strength training on the lower body, you can’t neglect your upper body. Your arms are helping drive and propel you while running and a strong upper body helps with your overall balance and stability.

                            You can start laying facedown on the ground with your palms facing downwards and elbows tucked into your sides. Focus on pushing through the heel of your palms upward, stopping just before your elbows lock out. Lower back down under control and stop just before your chest touches the ground.

                            Focus on keeping the elbows tucked into your side and avoid having them flail outwards. You can perform 10 reps for 3 sets of these.

                            15. Squat to Overhead Press

                            This is a full-body motion that works a majority of muscles, builds power, explosiveness, and coordination. You will need two dumbbells and you will start standing, feet shoulder-width apart, with the dumbbells, held up by your shoulders – palms facing forward.

                            Send your hips back and lower down into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor. As you stand up, press the dumbbells overhead and return them to the starting position. Go for 10 reps and three sets.

                            The Bottom Line

                            As much as you’d like to, you can’t be running all the time. It can lead to overuse, injuries and burnout. The perfect way to offset this is with strength training, making sure you perform your training with proper form and technique, avoiding mistakes which can lead to injury.

                            There are many other strength exercises such as the deadlift, which works the back and leg muscles which are vital for running economy improvement and injury prevention.[2] These exercises will make you a more efficient and resilient runner allowing you to improve your distances and times.

                            Even if you’ve been against strength training for runners, you can see now how it’s necessary in order to improve your overall running ability and performance.

                            Featured photo credit: Stage 7 Photography via unsplash.com

                            Reference

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