5 Of My Favorite Booty Blasting Exercises (That You Can Do At Home)
In the Finding Freedom & Confidence program we have a whole day dedicated to working the booty. Sure, it's party because this is an area that most of us ladies want to tone but there are other reasons as well.
The booty muscles, aka The Glutes (maximus, minimus & medius) can tend to be under-worked along with their friend, The Hamstrings (back of the upper thigh). The reason is that the opposing muscle groups, the Quadriceps and hip flexors, are some of the largest muscle groups in the body. Because of this the quads can "take over" movements that involve both sets of muscles such as:
- Stepping Up
It's not that the glutes and hamstrings don't work at all with those movements but, if we aren't actively thinking about engaging them they tend to do less work and have less muscle fiber activation than the quads & hip flexors. Why is this a problem? Because over time this can lead to muscle imbalance in our lower body.
When the quads & hip flexors are tight and/or strong (not necessarily the same thing) and the glutes & hamstrings are weak, it can lead to muscle imbalances which can in turn cause pain in areas like the lower back, hips & knees. These only become worse when we try to do repetitive movements such as walking, running or squatting.
So, what's the solution? We want to include exercises in our routine that target the glutes and hamstrings. While I love squats and lunges it's easy to let the quadriceps take over when we do these movements. We want to include some exercises that isolated the extensor muscles (aka booty muscles) so that they get more engagement.
It also helps when we actively think about working these muscles during the exercises intended to target them. There is a fancy name for this: neuromuscular connection. It's basically just a way of saying that we are connecting the neurons (brain cells) to the muscle fibers and when we do this we can get more muscle fiber activation out of those specific muscle groups. To make this work, you want to be intentional with your movements, be aware of what muscle groups you are trying to work, and actively "squeeze" the muscle at the end of each rep.
Here are some at-home exercises that you can do instead of (or in addition to) traditional squats & lunges that will help to really target the glutes & hamstrings:
1. Pistol Squats
This is one of my all-time favorite booty exercises. If you do these right you will really feel them in the glutes!
MUSCLES TARGETEDD: Booty, Upper Thighs
- Start seated on a bench or in a chair (knee should be at a 90 degree or a bit higher).
- Lift one leg and push up through the heel of the other leg until standing.
- Sit back down slowly, allowing the muscles to lower you back down.
- Alternate legs or do one leg for 10 - 15 reps and then switch.
2. Reverse Step Ups
By putting the back leg up you force the glutes in the front leg to be the powerhouse of this movement.
MUSCLES TARGETED: Upper Thighs, Booty
- Stand in front of a chair, (or bench or ottoman). Place one foot on chair behind you.
- Make sure the other foot is out far enough so that when you lunge down the front knee does not extend past the toes.
- Drop straight down into a lunge and then push back up through the front heel.
- Do 10 - 15 reps and then repeat with other leg.
This is my all time favorite for the hamstrings. It won't feel like much in the moment but, if you do them right you will definitely feel them in the back of the legs the next day!
MUSCLES TARGETED: Hamstrings (back of upper leg), booty
- Start with feet hips width apart, slight bend in the knees and holding db’s in front (palms face body).
- Bend from the hips, keeping the back straight, and lower the db’s down, keeping them close to the body. (DO NOT HUNCH when doing this exercise!)
- Stop when db’s are between bottom of the knee and mid-shin (depending on your hamstring flexibility).
- Squeeze the booty as you press back up to starting position. Do 10 - 15 reps.
This is one of the best exercises you can do for the glutes! This exercises forces the glutes and hamstrings to work with very little involvement from the quads..
MUSCLES TARGETED: Booty & hamstrings
- Start lying on your back, knees bent, arms to the side.
- Push up through the heels until hips are extended and straight.
- Hold for 1 - 2 seconds and then slowly lower back down and repeat.
- Do 10 - 15 reps.
5. Donkey Kicks
Last, but not least, we have donkey kicks. The key is to focus the movement through the hip and kick up through the heel to really target those booty muscles.
MUSCLES TARGETED: Booty & hamstrings
- Start in a quadruped position (all fours).
- Lift one leg straight up keeping the knee bent.
- Push up through the heel and squeeze the booty.
- Do 10 - 15 reps per leg.