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 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.
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 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
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.
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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You’re only 60 days away from finally making exercise and clean eating part of your lifestyle.
New Year’s is approaching fast, and if you’re like 99 percent of the world, part of your resolution is to get fit/lose weight/eat healthy. Unfortunately, the majority of resolutioners will abandon their healthy goals by March, and so continues the cycle of gym memberships that go unused. So also continues the cycle of quick-fix programs and yo-yo diets, which not only do a number on your metabolism but which also undermine your confidence.
“I have been there,” says Katie Corio, NPC bikini competitor and creator of Oxygen’s Healthy New You online education program. “I have felt the guilt and the low self-esteem that comes with being out of shape. I understand what it is to want to be fit and healthy, but to have it seem so out of reach.”
Stats: Katie Corio
Birth date: August 29, 1993
Weight: 127 lb
Current residence: Del Mar, California
Sponsor: 1 Up Nutrition
Instagram: @cutekatiebug @cutekatiebug_workouts @fitforlift_ig
YouTube & Facebook: KATIECORIOCUTEKATIEBUG
Corio went from being super active to sedentary after she tore her meniscus in a volleyball tournament. Though she did the work to rehab her knee, Corio gave in to the typical college lifestyle — late-night drinking, poor food choices and zero exercise — and quickly lost her physique. “I remember trying on bikinis in the dressing room and noticed how different I looked,” she says. “That’s when I decided I needed to make some real changes.”
Corio hired a trainer who competed in figure competitions and was immediately inspired to do so herself. She did three NPC bikini contests and a powerlifting event and excelled at them all. However, after her last bikini competition, Corio felt horrible. She had stiff, swollen joints and would lie in bed at night in tears wondering why she could not move. The doctors diagnosed her with rheumatoid arthritis and told her to stay away from the gym. “That was like a death sentence to me,” Corio says. “I thought my fitness days were over.”
The lab coats also wanted to dose her with medication, but Corio was reluctant. She researched alternative treatments and decided to try homeopathic remedies and an anti-inflammatory diet to control her symptoms. She continued doing physical therapy exercises to loosen and warm up her joints, and after several months, she was living and training almost completely pain-free.
“This filled me with hope that I could manage my symptoms naturally,” she says. “So I decided to train for a USPA powerlifting meet to prove to myself — and the doctors — that I could lift heavy and be strong with rheumatoid arthritis and that I didn’t need their harsh medications to cope.” Needless to say, she crushed her competition, squatting almost 300 pounds with perfect form and optimal mobility.
Even if you don’t have rheumatoid arthritis or the desire to squat the equivalent of a baby water buffalo, you likely can relate to Corio’s dressing-room drama. “That terrible day of trying on bikinis helped me move forward,” she says. “I was determined to improve my self-confidence and be happy with my body again. My intuition was telling me there were bigger and better things in store, and I fully committed to seeking those out. I didn’t realize at the time that much more than my body was going to change.”
Corio found that the healthier she got, the more her mindset and desires changed. “I started sitting a little taller, looking people in the eye and speaking with more deliberation,” she says. “I transformed from the inside out rather than the outside in. That, I think, is the secret beauty in living a healthy lifestyle: It isn’t just a physical improvement but a total-life transformation.”
Happy New You
This is the transformation Corio wants for you, as well, as the coach of our new 60-day Healthy New You online video program. “I know what it takes to break out of that cycle and can teach people how to maintain their health and fitness long term,” Corio says. “Together, we can turn any resolution into a daily, sustainable lifestyle.”
Corio’s program of consistent exercise and clean eating enables anyone at any level of fitness to succeed. “It’s about finding exercise options that you love and look forward to, and finding recipes and heathy foods you enjoy eating,” she says.
Her workouts are a progressive mixture of total-body training and bodypart splits using simple equipment (e.g., no gym membership required!) so you can do them anywhere, anytime — in 60 minutes or less! Corio also curated her best collection of recipes to share with program participants, and moreover, she will show you how to create your own healthy meal plan. “My step-by-step guide centers around macronutrients and teaches you how to put your meals together in a well-balanced and nutritious way,” she says.
“My hope is that you will use the Healthy New You program as a springboard to living a fit and healthy lifestyle,” she continues. “At the end of 60 days, you will have all the tools you need to make your new, healthy habits a permanent part of your life. Ladies, I got you! No more starting over. We will do this together, once and for all!”
Slow-Cooker Turkey and Sweet Potato Stew
Makes 6 servings
“’Tis the season to get cozy! Warm up with this easy, healthy recipe!” Corio says.
- 1 lb extra-lean ground turkey breast
- 16 oz sweet potatoes, cubed
- 2 zucchini, cubed
- 1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
- 2/3 cup marinara sauce
- ½ onion, chopped
- 1 tsp garlic, minced
- 1 tsp salt
- cracked black pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 3 bay leaves
In a skillet, brown ground turkey, breaking it up as it cooks. Remove and put into a slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. The liquid level should fill the pot a little more than halfway with ingredients inside; add more chicken broth, if needed, to level out. Cover and cook 4 hours on high, or until potatoes are tender. Remove bay leaves and serve.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 212, fat 1 g, carbs 30 g, protein 21 g, fiber 8 g, cholesterol 30 mg, sodium 468 mg
Ho-Ho Holiday Survival
Here are five tips from Katie Corio for avoiding collateral celebratory damage.
- Pace yourself. Your eyes are usually bigger than your stomach. Eat a small portion and then wait before diving in for seconds.
- Hydrate. A lot of times we mistake thirst for hunger. Drink a full glass of water between each helping of a meal for hydration and appetite control.
- Exercise early. That way, you ensure it doesn’t get pushed back by family plans or lack of energy. Plus, you’re more likely to make healthier choices after a nice sweaty workout!
- One is enough. Don’t deprive yourself of the joy of the holidays. Indulge in dessert but remember that one is enough: Have one piece of pie — not three!
- Plan ahead. If you know you’ll be enjoying a high-calorie, home-cooked meal later in the day, eat light and healthy leading up to that meal.
Resolve to Evolve
Preregister now for the Healthy New You program! You’re only 60 days away from living your fittest life — ever. Go to oxygenmag.com/healthy-new-you and get ready to face down your resolutions!
The One-Plate Glute Workout
Believe it or not, Katie Corio’s glutes were flatter than a flap- jack before she started lifting. After years of trial and error, she found a winning formula that gave her a brag-worthy booty. Here are some of her favorite go-to moves to build gravity-defying glutes.
Do all the exercises in order one after the other. Rest one minute and then repeat for a total of two rounds. Choose whatever weight plate is appropriate for your fitness level.
Pulse Sumo Squat; 15
Plate Swing; 15
Walking Long Step Lunge and Twist; 15 (each leg)
Single-Leg Hip Thrust; 10 (each leg)
Single-Legged Romanian Deadlift; 10 (each leg)
Pulse Sumo Squat
Hold a plate with both hands and stand with your feet outside shoulder-width apart, toes turned out comfortably. Bend your knees and drop your glutes straight toward the floor, stopping when your thighs reach parallel. Rise back up a couple of inches, lower back to parallel and then stand all the way up to complete one rep.
Katie’s Tip: Focus on squeezing your glutes at the top of each rep — exaggerate it even — and go nice and slow for each rep.
Hold a plate with both hands and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees soft. Break at the hips and push your glutes back to swing the plate underneath you and between your legs. As it comes back through to the front, quickly extend your knees and snap your hips forward, creating enough momentum to lift the plate to shoulder height. Guide it down carefully and go right into the next rep.
Katie’s Tip: Don’t round your back as you swing the plate between your legs. Keep it flat throughout.
Walking Long step Lunge and Twist
Hold a plate with both hands at your chest. Take a large step forward, bending your front knee while keeping your back leg straight. Lunge until your front thigh is parallel to the floor, then twist your torso toward the forward leg. Return to center, push off your back foot and bring your feet together. Continue, alternating sides.
Katie’s Tip: Long step lunges target the glutes and hamstrings more than a traditional lunge. Exhale and blow out all your air as you twist.
Single-Leg Hip Thrust
Lie faceup, knees bent, and position a plate across your hips. Extend one leg straight up over your hip and then press down through your grounded foot to lift your hips toward the ceiling, keeping your hips square and the plate centered. Slowly lower to the start and repeat. Do all reps on one leg, then switch.
Katie’s Tip: Changing your foot position changes the emphasis of the move: The closer it is to your glutes, the more you engage your hamstrings; the farther away it is, the more you engage your quads.
Single-Legged Romanian Deadlift
Hold a plate with both hands and shift your weight onto one leg. Extend your opposite leg behind you, then hinge at the hips and lower your torso toward the floor as you simultaneously lift your leg behind you, hips square. When your torso and leg come parallel to the ground and/or you feel a stretch in your standing hamstring, return slowly to the start. Do all reps on one leg and then switch.
Katie’s Tip: Lower the plate over the arch of your standing foot and pull your shoulders back for optimal position and balance.
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Strengthen and tone your legs and glutes with this ballin’ circuit routine.
If you’re like me, you mean business when it comes to getting the most out of a lower-body workout. Hello, thighs and glutes! The stability ball is a staple tool for this type of work that never seems to get old. You know that large-looking bouncing ball at the gym that some of us love … and others give the side eye and keep on walking. Well, if you desire to build strength, balance and stability — and a stellar-looking lower body — this workout will not disappoint. Let’s get started and generate some serious strength!
Perform the following exercises in a circuit to challenge yourself and feel the burn.
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Bikini pro and Olympia and Arnold champion Ashley Kaltwasser offers up key advice for strengthening your backside.
Warmer weather is just around the corner, which means we’ll be trading our jeans and sweatpants for bikinis and shorts. Check out my top tips for training your glutes for a rounder, fuller bottom!
Here’s an example of an energizing glute workout you can try:
*Pre-exhaust your glutes with 20 cable kickbacks on each leg.
4×10 leg press (shoulder-width stance, feet high on the sled)
4×10 prone hamstring curl (each leg)
3×10 pistol squat (each let)
3×10 straight-leg deadlift (wide-leg stance)
3×10 sumo squat with dumbbell (wide stance)
3×10 plyo box jump
3×10 one-leg deadlift with dumbbell
3×10 curtsy lunge (each leg)
3×10 vertical leg press
3×10 glute bridge on stability ball
Ready to get glutes like Ashley? The Ashley Kaltwaser Challenge will guide you through a fitness and nutrition program that has helped her secure three Bikini Olympia and two Arnold Bikini International championship titles! For more details, click here.
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