Each of your butt cheeks—or in proper terms, your glutes—are made up of three different muscles: The gluteus maximus, which is the largest muscle that makes up the meaty part of your booty; the gluteus medius, which is slightly smaller and located just underneath the back side of your hip; and the gluteus minimus, which is the smallest muscle of all and sits between the two, slightly off to the side. In order to maximize your strength back there, you need a workout that targets all three... and then some.
"It's so important to work your glutes from a number of different angles," says Obé fitness trainer Madelaine O'Connell. "By changing up the glute exercises and targeting not only the three major muscles in the glutes—the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus—but also incorporating exercises that focus on the side glutes, hamstrings, and outer and inner thighs, you will see more toning and definition than if you only focus on one muscle."
Instead of thinking about your butt as a single entity, think of it as a system. And to make it stronger, you'll want to hit every single part of that system in your workouts. Below, a four-move glute workout at home with no equipment—straight from O'Connell—that will get it done in five minutes flat.
Four-way glute workout at home with no equipment
Complete each move 16 times on each side, and repeat the series twice.
1. Fire hydrant to leg lift
To work your side glute and outer thighs during your glute workout at home with no equipment, start on your hands and knees. Lift your knee up to the side so that it's perpendicular to your body (as if you were, um, a dog peeing on a fire hydrant), keeping your core engaged and your weight evenly distributed in both hands. Return your working leg underneath you without letting it touch the ground, then kick your foot back behind you in a 90-degree angle as if you were trying to stomp on the ceiling.
2. Fire hydrant kick back
Hit your side glute even harder with this fire hydrant variation, which kicks things up to a whole other level. From your hands and knees, kick your working leg back behind you, then bend it 90 degrees into a fire hydrant position, as if you were creating large circles with your back foot. When you return to start, be sure not to let your working leg touch the ground.
3. Kneeling leg cross-over
From your hands and knees, extend your working leg back behind you, creating a straight line from the tip of your toe to the top of your head (be sure not to let your leg lift any higher than your butt, and fire up your core to keep everything aligned). Cross your leg back behind you, and tap your toes to the floor on the outside of grounded leg, squeezing your thighs as you move. Slowly return to start, engaging your glutes the whole time.
4. Bent knee glute kickback
Fire up the back of your glutes and your hamstrings by starting on your hands and knees and lifting your working leg to a 90-degree angle with the bottom of your foot toward the ceiling. Engage your core so that your hips are facing the floor, and bend your heel into your butt, then extend your leg straight back behind you.
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