The Butt Workout: Six Exercises for Glutes continued...
Olson likes the one-legged bridge: Hold the knees tightly together and extend one leg at knee level while in the bridge position. Do all repetitions on one side, then switch.
To take it to the next level, try the bridge on a stability ball. With the head and tops of shoulders balanced on the ball, lift the hips into a tabletop position, level with the shoulders, then lower slightly and repeat.
Advancing from there, lift into the bridge position on the ball, then take two baby steps to your left, changing the line of gravity so you're off-center, then drop and lift the hips. "The left glute should work a bit harder than the right," Ross says. This move, he emphasizes, requires good core balance and takes only a very small shift (2-4 inches) in lower body position. Do all the repetitions on one side, then switch.
4. Step-ups. Using a weights bench (a step would work, too), step one foot on top, then push through the top leg and glute to lift the bottom leg up and tap the bench. Lower and repeat using the same leg. Add hand weights or a knee lift with the tapping leg for a greater challenge, suggests Olson.
5. Leg/hip extensions. Reaching a leg behind your body is a great way to work the glutes. In Pilates, it's done while lying on your side, but you can also do it while lying over a stability ball or standing. Using a slow, controlled motion, extend the leg behind the body while squeezing the glutes and keeping the torso stable. Do three sets of 15 repetitions, then switch legs.
Up the ante with a single-leg dead lift, a Durkin favorite. While standing, extend one leg back and hinge from the hip. At the same time, lower the torso to parallel with the floor. Keep the abs tight and return to standing, lowering the back leg.
6. Skater plyos. Feeling like Drew Brees? Try this plyometric side step, a Durkin staple. Standing with feet under hips, take a lateral (sideways) hop to the left on your left foot while coming down to touch your right hand to the floor. Alternate sides and try to complete three sets of 20. Ouch! "This is great for strength, power, agility and toning up," says Durkin.