Trainer Emily Skye shares her go-to glute strengthening moves.
When you’re looking for a fitness tool that totally ups the ante on your strength workouts, particularly those that target your butt, look no further than a resistance band. Those looped mini bands work wonders for firing up your glutes and working your backside from all angles—a smart strategy for those who sit most of the day, who want to run faster, or for anyone aiming to feel stronger all over.
“One of my favorite body parts to train is my glutes—I used to be quite imbalanced, where I was really strong in my quads and my glutes were quite weak,” Emily Skye, Australian trainer and founder of Emily Skye FIT, tells Health. She credits a strong butt for helping to ease her back pain. Skye loves the bands for getting blood flow to the backside, the main goal when you want to warm-up for, say, a heavy lifting routine featuring squats or deadlifts. But she also turns to them for a glute-strengthening workout all on their own.
The best part about using a resistance band to work your butt: it’s the prefect travel partner, taking up no space in your bag and requiring only a small square footage to do a full workout. Plus, they’re super inexpensive.
Skye suggests getting a few bands of varying resistances, so you can learn each move with a lighter band, and as you get stronger, move up to a heavier resistance. You’ll know you’re using something with enough resistance if by rep 12, the move feels nearly impossible to complete with perfect form, she says.
Ready to feel that fire in your glutes? Skye offers five resistance band exercises below that you can do anytime and anywhere to strengthen your butt. One key form tip to keep in mind: Do each exercise with good posture. “You do that by standing nice and tall with your belly button drawn in toward your spine. And then, slightly squeeze your glutes before you start,” Skye explains.
When you’re standing tall and strong, step right into this butt workout.
Do each exercise below for 10-12 reps and 2-3 rounds. If you’re new to these moves, start with the band above the knees for all of them. If you’re intermediate or advanced, you can move the band around your ankles for the first three exercises. You want to feel the burn, so keep working for it!
1. Start standing with feet hip-width apart and band around ankles, hands clasped in front of you.
2. Push hips down and back, bending knees and lowering into a squat. Make sure chest stays tall, back flat, and core tight. Resist knees collapsing in toward each other by driving them outward.
3. Then, drive heels and toes into the ground to stand back up. Repeat.
(Also read: Best Butt Building Exercises That Aren’t Squats)
1. Start standing with feet hip-width apart and band around ankles.
2. Lower into a shallow squat position, sending hips down and back and bending knees. Hold this position as you take three steps to the left.
3. Next, take three steps to the right. That’s one rep. Make sure your chest stays tall, back flat, and core tight. Resist knees collapsing in toward each other by driving them outward and aim to keep feet parallel the entire time. Repeat.
(Also read: How to Do Lunges Without Hurting Your Knees)
High Plank Leg Lifts
1. Start in a push-up or high plank position, with band around ankles, forming a straight line from shoulders to heel. Line shoulders directly over wrists.
2. Without arching back, squeeze right glute and lift right leg up toward the ceiling. Then place it back down.
3. Then, squeeze left glute and lift left leg up toward the ceiling. Then place it back down. That’s one rep. Don’t let your hips drop or pike up; pull belly button up toward spine and push the floor away from you with hands. Continue alternating.
Banded Glute Bridge Abductions
1. Start lying on back, with band above knees. Bend knees, place feet flat on the floor about shoulder-width apart. Make sure heels are close to butt and back is flat against the floor.
2. Drive through the feet and squeeze glutes to lift hips toward ceiling. Make sure to maintain a slight posterior pelvic tilt, so you’re not arching low back.
3. When you reach the top with hips forming a diagonal line from knees to shoulders, drive knees out against the band, going wider than shoulders.
4. Then bring knees back to shoulder-width, and slowly lower back down to floor. Repeat.
1. Start lying on right side, with the band above knees. Place right forearm on the ground and stack right shoulder over right elbow, pushing the floor away to create space in right side. Bend knees and hips about 45 degrees and stack knees and hips on top of each other. This is your starting position.
2. Then, squeeze left glute and rotate left hip outward, lifting left knee toward ceiling.
3. Slowly lower back down. Repeat for reps, then switch sides.
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