If you practice a few of these exercises together, you can round your glutes from every angle while keeping your legs lean!

While it may seem like every “perfect butt” on social media comes with the tag line “the squat booty,” in reality, this is not the case. No matter how many squat reps you do, you’re only working your glutes from one angle.

Plus, the main muscles at work when you squat are your quads, so if making your thighs thicker isn’t your goal, this exercise is probably not where you should be placing all your energy and focus.

Don’t worry, though. There are several glute isolation exercises you can do to get the booty of your dreams. If you practice a few of these exercises together, you can round your glutes from every angle while keeping your legs lean! Here are some of my favorite moves.

Hip Thrust

Hip Thrust

Hip thrusts are one of the best exercises to isolate your glutes. They can be slightly awkward to perform in public at first, but just remember that they are leading you to a firm and toned backside.

Sit on the floor and rest your upper back against a bench with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Rest a weight (either a barbell or dumbbell) across your pelvis and brace your abs. Lower your hips down and then thrust them upward toward the ceiling, pushing your feet into the floor and your upper back into the bench. At the top of the movement, squeeze your glutes as hard as you can and repeat.

To grow your glutes the fastest, lift the heaviest weight that you can for the following sequence: Start with two sets of 10 reps, increase the weight and do two sets of eight reps, and then increase the weight one last time and do one set of six reps. You can use a dumbbell or barbell for weight.

Cable Pull-Through

Cable Pull-Through

Bridges are wonderful for building your glute muscles while toning your hamstrings. This single-leg variation adds extra intensity to a regular bridge.

Lie down with your knees bent and both feet resting on the floor. Straighten your left leg and flex your foot toward the ceiling. Raise your hips up off the ground as high as you can and squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement. Lower your hips down for a second and then push them back up to repeat.

Perform 15 reps on each side. For best results, do four sets of 15.

Romanian Deadlift

Romanian Deadlift

Romanian deadlifts are another exercise that specifically rounds your glutes while leaning out your hamstrings. In order to effectively grow your glutes while simultaneously trimming your legs, it’s important to use a variety of exercises that tackle these regions. If you use the same exercise every time, your body will get used to it and hit a plateau.

Stand with a medium-weight dumbbell in each hand. Your feet should be hip-width apart and your knees should be slightly bent. Bend forward at your hip joint, keeping your arms straight and your hands close to your legs. Lower the weights as far down your leg as you can without rounding your back or bending your knees any more than they were at your starting position. To return to the starting position, push your hips forward and squeeze your glutes to pull yourself up.

Banded Fire Hydrant

Banded Fire Hydrant

Fire hydrants have one of the most obnoxious names in my opinion, considering they’re named after the position a male dog assumes when going to the bathroom. But they’re so great for your glutes! They build the outside of the glutes and tighten that little trouble spot on the outer thigh so many of us have!

Begin on all fours. Place a loop band above your knees. Using your outer thigh and glute, lift one knee out to the side. Keep your knee bent at a 90-degree angle. Lower your leg and repeat for a total of 20 reps. Then repeat on the other side.

For best results, do four sets of 20 reps on each leg.

Rainbow

Rainbow

Rainbows are another glute exercise that tone the outside of your glutes and thighs. They are known for lifting up the bottom of your butt and toning your inner thighs, as well. Rainbows are super efficient because they tackle the hardest areas all at once.

Begin on all fours. Point your toes and extend your right leg behind you. Raise your right leg toward the ceiling and then lower it to the floor. Raise the same leg toward the ceiling again, squeezing your glutes, and then lower it about 1 foot to the left of your kneeling leg. Bring your right leg back up to the ceiling to complete one rep.

Repeat 20 times. For best results, do four sets of 20 on each leg. To make this exercise more challenging, you can add ankle weights.

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Strengthen the muscles surrounding your knee and hip joints to train harder, run better and lift more efficiently.

No matter where you land on the fitness spectrum, there is always risk of a knee injury that will derail your progress. Unfortunately, knee injuries can plague just about anyone — from beginners to seasoned gym-goers and elite runners.

Physically active people are at risk for knee injuries mainly resulting from overuse and improper running or lifting techniques, as well as direct trauma to the joint.

Overuse injuries are often seen in runners who fail to cross-train or who have biomechanical problems. Improper lifting techniques can put uneven forces on your knees, making you susceptible to injuries. And direct trauma to the joint is most likely the result of a work-related incident, a vehicular collision or an accident while playing a sport that requires quick and sudden changes in direction, like basketball, football or hockey.

Although sporting accidents causing trauma to the knee joint can be unavoidable, overuse injuries are preventable. At the very least, there are exercises you can do that will mitigate your risk. The longer you can remain injury-free, the better results you will achieve.

Strengthening your glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps will help prevent knee injuries. The gluteus medius plays a very important role in stabilizing your hips and preventing unnecessary internal rotation of the knee, especially during weight-bearing activities. And if your hamstrings are too weak relative to your quads, you are also more likely to get injured because this causes imbalanced forces to act upon your knee.

The good news: There are five simple moves that will help strengthen the muscles surrounding your knee and hip joints, allowing you to train harder, run better and lift more efficiently.

Clamshell.

1. Clamshell

The clamshell helps strengthen your gluteus medius.

To perform the clamshell, lie down on your side. Then bend both your legs at the knees. While keeping your legs bent and your feet together, activate your gluteus medius as you lift up your top leg. It’s important to do the same number of repetitions on each side. In order to make the move more challenging, add an elastic band around your knees.

Side leg lift.

2. Side Leg Lift

This move is performed almost like the clamshell, except your top leg is straight while your bottom leg is slightly bent. Lie down on your side and make sure that both your hips and both shoulders are directly underneath each other. While engaging your gluteus medius, lift your top leg up toward the sky. Lift it high enough to be able to engage your glutes while maintaining proper form. However, there is no need to lift it super high.

If you would like to challenge yourself, hold your top leg for three to five seconds in the “up” position before bringing it down to start your next repetition. Again, you should do the same number of repetitions on each side.

Glute bridge. 

3. Glute Bridge

The glute bridge works your glutes, hamstrings and core.

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet shoulder-width apart. Place your feet firmly on the floor. Engage your glutes and core as you lift your hips up off the floor. Hold the “up” position for a few seconds before bringing your hips back down to start another repetition. If you would like to further challenge yourself, place a barbell on top of your hips to add resistance.

Resistance-band squat

4. Resistance-Band Squat

Resistance-band squats primarily target your glutes, as well as your quads.

Place a band around both your legs, just above your knees. You should feel resistance from the elastic band as you stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Descend into a squat position while pushing your legs outward to keep your knees from going inward as you squat. As you come down, make sure that your knees don’t go too far forward over your toes.

Ball hamstring curl.

5. Ball Hamstring Curl

Ball hamstring curls target your hamstrings, core and glutes.

Lie on your back with your heels on an exercise ball. Using your arms at your sides for balance, engage your core and glutes as you lift your hips off the floor. While your hips are in the air, contract your hamstrings as you pull the ball toward you with your feet. In order to make this exercise more challenging, try doing single-legged ball hamstring curls. If you are doing single-legged repetitions, be sure to do the same number for each leg.

The number of repetitions you perform for each of the above exercises will depend on your fitness level. Beginners should attempt to do three sets of 10 repetitions. As you get more advanced, you will be able to do more repetitions as well as gradually increase the difficulty of each exercise.

When you strengthen your posterior chain, you will decrease your risk for injury, which will make you a better lifter and runner. The longer you remain injury-free, the better your results will be.

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Lunge into a stronger and more fit lower body.

Many of us are used to the traditional forward lunge. While this is a great staple exercise, there are many variations that you can choose from to surprise your muscles in your next lower-body workout. From mountain-climber lunges to reverse lunge front kicks, we’ve got you covered. For the following moves, you don’t need dumbbells or any type of resistance, just some good old-fashion bodyweight and you’re ready to go!

Perform the following exercises in a circuit to feel the burn and achieve a challenging workout!

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Surpass your #squatgoals with these tips to improve ankle and hip stability and mobility.

If you read my first article Build a Better Squat: Part 1, you know all about my obsession with not only the beauty and virtuosity of the squat but also its functionality. I discussed some of the basics for improving form and depth of the squat.

As a physical therapist and athlete, I can’t encourage my clients enough to use their entire range of motion. You were born with it for a reason. I encourage clients to move in the ways the human body was made to function. These movement patterns are vital to preserving joints and promoting tissue health. Through moving well, we optimize our ability to perform everyday activities without pain as we age.

Here, I’ll focus specifically on ankle and hip mobility and stability in the squat. I learned early on in my education and clinical work that it’s far, far better to be less flexible than hypermobile (extra flexy). You cannot have mobility without first having stability. Meaning, an extra mobile ankle poses just as much of a risk of injury as an ankle lacking adequate dorsiflexion, or the ability of the ankle to translate forward.

Here are some basic tests and exercises you can perform on your own to build a better squat and become a master in understanding the mechanics of your body.

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Look no further than this do-anywhere workout to define your outer thighs and glutes.

Let’s make this clear: There is no such bodypart or muscle called a “saddlebag.” Like “muffin top,” it’s essentially a made-up word in the fitness industry to describe a place that holds excess fat. For those of you who have never heard of the “saddlebag” many women refer to, it’s the area on the outer part of your upper thigh and glutes that is underdeveloped and holds excess fat.

These simple and effective go-to exercises will shine a spotlight on this stubborn area. It’s important to note these exercises, along with a proper nutrition plan, will really do the trick. The key to these exercises is to focus on holding and squeezing the movement at the top. So if you’re ready to say goodbye to saddlebags, then let’s get started.

Perform the following exercises in a circuit to feel the burn and achieve a challenging workout!

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Give your classic glute routine a lift with this simple yet effective piece of equipment.

In need of a lightweight elevation that helps round out your butt and you can take just about anywhere? Incorporating workout wedges to your glute program will help you achieve that and more. The elevation and non-slip surface combination allow you to not only feel safe but also to push through your heels more effectively. When you’re able to push through your heels, this allows for better glute activation in every exercise. With better glute activation, your glutes will respond and shape up in all the right places, and that’s the overall goal, right? Talk about a win-win!

So grab a hold of some workout wedges and let’s build a better butt … after all, it is the largest muscle in our body!