A strong set of glutes does more than just give you a perky butt. Strong glutes support better posture, prevent back and knee pain and contribute to a stronger, more stable pelvis. Unfortunately, sedentary lifestyles create weak, short glutes. And weak, short glute muscles create flat, feeble booties.
Barre workouts, designed to give participants the toned body of a dancer, are also a great way to build glute-muscle strength. Even better, you don’t actually need a barre to do most barre exercises. All these butt-boosting moves can be done at a kitchen counter, desk or a windowsill.
Here are the moves you need to know:
- Start about two or three feet from the counter with your feet hip-width apart and slightly bent.
- Keeping your arms shoulder-distance apart, reach them out to the counter in front of you so that your entire upper body is parallel to the floor (lifted slightly is also fine depending on flexibility).
- Lift your right leg up, point your toe and pulse your leg up and down, up one inch, down one inch for 30 seconds.
- Take a short break, repeat two more times and then switch to the other leg.
Tips: Make sure you are pulsing your leg through the pelvis and not through the back; your back should not be moving during this exercise. Keep your upper body engaged but relaxed.
- Stand about a foot away from your counter, and place your hands on the counter for balance. Check that your feet are hip-width apart.
- Rise onto your toes and balance on the balls of your feet. Then lower your butt about six to 10 inches down, so the angle created by your calves and thighs is a bit over 90 degrees.
- Pulse up and down in this position for 30 seconds.
- Take a short break and repeat two more times.
Tips: Use the counter for balance during this exercise. Don’t try to use your upper body to help you pulse; the power should be coming from your glutes and thighs.
- Turn so that your right side is next to your kitchen counter.
- Stand about a foot away from the counter.
- Place your right hand on the counter for balance and your left hand on your hip.
- Keeping your right leg straight and firmly planted on the floor, lean forward slightly and lift your back leg about six inches off the floor, so that from the tip of your left toe to the top of your head forms one long, straight line.
- Pulse the left leg up and down for 30 seconds.
- Take a break, repeat two more times, and then switch to the other side.
Tips: Use a mirror to make sure your body is in one long line as you do this exercise. You can also keep a micro-bend in the knee of the standing leg if this is more comfortable for you.
- Start with your right side next to the counter.
- Stand with your feet parallel and hip-width apart.
- Hold onto the counter with your right hand for balance, and place your left hand on your hip.
- Stand up tall, keeping your core engaged and your pelvis in a neutral position.
- Take your left leg back and behind you at about a 45-degree angle from your hips.
- Pulse up and down for one minute.
Tips: You should not be raising your leg directly behind you or out to the side. Instead, you should be lifting it behind you at a 45-degree angle, diagonal from your hips.
Remember to stretch after doing these moves, focusing on the muscles you’ve just worked: the glutes, thighs, calves and hamstrings. Barre teachers say that students see changes in body composition and muscle tone in as few as five sessions. That means that if you do these moves every other day, you may be looking at a stronger, rounder tush in only 10 days.
Let us know how it goes!
Teresa is a freelance writer and yoga teacher currently living in Sri Lanka. She loves to write about policies, ideas, and practices that promote a healthy planet and create healthy people.