Many women dream of having a backside as bootylicious as Beyonce's, but few know where to start. Walking is not enough to tone your glutes. While a proper diet of lean proteins, complex carbohydrates and plenty of fruits and vegetables will help you maintain a healthy weight, they will not shape or tone your body. The key to a pretty backside is to add exercises into your workouts that specifically target the glutes.
A squat is one of the best glute-toners. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides. Slowly bend your knees and lower your body until your legs are parallel to the floor, keeping your chest up and back straight. Rise to complete one repetition. Do three sets of 10 repetitions. Add weight to increase the glute- and leg-shaping potential. Choose a weight that is heavy enough to be difficult but not one that makes you compromise good form. You should be able to complete all of the repetitions with proper form.
Lunges require you to maintain balance through a stable core and hips. To perform a lunge, begin with your feet together. Step out with one foot, putting your body weight onto that plant foot. Lower your body until your leg is parallel to the ground, then rise up and return to the start. Switch legs and repeat on the other side. Perform three sets of 10 repetitions on each leg for a total of 20. Add resistance through weights to make the move more difficult.
A glute bridge is an excellent way to tone your glutes without putting any pressure on your spine. This move is a good place for beginners to start. Lie on your back with your hands by you sides, your feet flat on the floor and your knees at 90 degrees. Inhale, and slowly push your hips toward the ceiling. Use your heels to push your hips upward, but keep your core braced so that you do not overextend your back. You want your body to be in a line from your knees to your shoulders. Perform three sets of 10 repetitions.
The step-up trains your body in a similar way to the lunge exercise. To perform a step-up, stand in front of a step or box. Take a step onto the box with your right foot, and push off of your left to bring your left leg onto the step next to your right foot. Repeat the movement on both sides for three sets of 10 step-ups for each leg. As you become stronger, make step-ups more difficult by adding weight or making the step higher.
Deadlifts are a hip-and-core exercise that utilize the glutes to bring up the weight during the movement. Stand with your feet hip-width apart in front of a barbell. Squat and firmly grasp the bar with your hands slightly outside of your knees. Your chest should be up and your spine should be neutral. Slowly stand straight, bringing the barbell to just in front of your thighs. Reverse the movement and repeat for three sets of 10 repetitions.
A plie squat, also known as a sumo squat, is a basic squat move performed with your legs apart to put the emphasis on your inner thigh muscles as well as your outer glutes. Begin with your legs wider than shoulder-distance apart with your toes pointing outward. Slowly lower yourself until your body is parallel to the floor. Add more weights to make plie squats more difficult, or do them in short and quick pulses to fire your glutes. Do three sets of 10 repetitions.
Get on all fours on an exercise mat. Your hands should be under your shoulders and your knees and feet should be about hip-width apart. Engage your core to keep your spine neutral. Keeping your core engaged, lift your left leg. While keeping your knee bent, push the heel of your foot toward the ceiling. Do not straighten your leg. Repeat for three sets of 10 repetitions on each side.
A split lunge has the same benefits as a traditional lunge, but the emphases of the movement is on the glutes. Place your left foot on a bench or step with your right foot a step out ahead of it. Lower into a basic lunge, making sure that your knee does not go over your toes. Do three sets of 10 repetitions for each leg.
Begin with your feet hip-width apart. Lunge diagonally with your right foot crossing in front of your left leg. Both legs should be bent at 90 degrees. Reverse the movement and return to the starting position. Do three sets of 10 repetitions on each leg.
Standing Hip Extensions
A standing hip extension is one of the simplest glute exercises. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your hands on a chair in front of you. Lift your left leg behind you with your toes pointing downward until your leg reaches about hip height. Return to the starting position. Do three sets of 30 repetitions on each leg.
Kaitlin Condon is a holistic health coach and certified physical fitness/wellness specialist. She is a contributing health writer for the teen magazine "Miabella," as well as several online publications.