Exercises to Strengthen Glutes – Get Your Ass in Gear with the Right Ankle Weights Workouts

Let’s start with a plain truth: a lot of people are very much concerned with the state of their asses right now. It’s not just a Kardashian-era phenomenon either. A shapely set of buttocks is one of the foundations of attractiveness, but it’s also a fair indicator of good health.

Most people try to avoid the NSFW tag by referring to the ass as the glutes, and it does sound more official that way. But in the end, most of us want to look good by having a nice ass—and a shapely ass can really make you feel healthier too.

What Makes for a Shapely Ass?

Most people regard buttocks as nice and shapely if they’re pert, tight, and in proportion to the rest of the body. A flat ass isn’t good to look at, nor is it considered nice if the ass wiggles too much or if it’s sagging.

You wouldn’t like a saggy booty, would you?

Unfortunately, to maintain a pert set of buttocks isn’t all that easy. Many of us just sit down on our asses at a desk when we work. Also, most adults are overweight, and the buttocks and hips are very common places for the excess fat to appear. It’s for this reason that we need to rethink the amount of calories we consume, and we need to get off our butt and work out.

exercises for glutes

(By Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

Why Do Exercises for the Buttocks?

Despite what some snake oil charmers may say, there’s no truth to the rumor that you can direct your body to burn off fat from specific places. Your body can use the excess fat in your belly instead when it needs energy, before it burns off the fat from the hips and butt.

On the other hand, you can perform specific exercises, let’s call them bootylycious workouts, that focus on the muscles that make up the buttocks. These are the glutes, and collectively they make up the biggest and strongest muscle group in the human body. So it’s not just a matter of looking good.

These glutes may have a funny name, but they’re seriously important. They’re what you use when you move forward and back, side to side, and up and down. Healthy glutes lead to improved athletic and workout performance and they help prevent back and knee pain. Working the largest muscle group in your body also boosts your metabolic rate, which in turn can lead to more effective weight loss.

Thus, the obvious conclusion is that you should include exercises that target your glutes. To make them more effective, you’re going to need to use ankle weights, just as you use barbells to stress your arm muscles.

Here are some booty exercises you can do at home.

Exercises to strengthen your glutes – Best done with ankle weights

exercises to strengthen glutes

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Lateral Leg Raises – A side butt exercise

This targets the hip flexor, core muscles, and abductor muscles. It can be done while you’re lying down on your side on the floor or on a bench. Your body from hip to ankle should be in contact with the ground if you’re lying down, and your body should be aligned with your legs and not leaning forward. Squeeze on your core muscles and then lift and lower your upper leg by 45 degrees in a smooth and controlled motion.

You can also do this standing up, with your steady leg slightly bent at the knee while you raise your other leg by 45 degrees. With the ankle weight, you can really stress your glutes more effectively.

Plank Leg Raises workout

This exercise focuses on your butt, obliques, and lower back, and it also works on your core. Even your shoulders benefit a bit from it.

This time, when you’re on your side you have your elbow supporting your torso, while the bottom leg is bent at the knee. The elbow should be right under the shoulder, while you keep your hips raised from the floor. Now you can just raise your upper leg as high up as you can while you keep it straight and you pull your toes in a little. Again, you have to make sure that your motions are controlled.

To be fully equipped for these exercises for glutes choose an exercise mat here and a pair of ankle weights here

Donkey Kicks work out 

Yes, it’s a funny name, which is why some people refer to it as a bent-leg kickback or quadruped hip extensions. However, your form and motion do resemble a donkey kick when you do it. This exercise works the 3 main muscles in your buttocks (making it one of the best exercises for glutes): the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus. It also works your leg, lower back, and core.

You start by getting on to your hands and knees so you’re like a tabletop, while you draw in your abs muscles to your spine. Now lift up one leg, while the other one remains bent at the knee. Raise the leg until it’s aligned with your torso in a controlled motion then lower it the same way. You can then do a dozen reps for each leg.

If getting on your hands and knees is uncomfortable for you, then you can use a stability ball on your stomach to take the weight off.

Here’s a video by LivestrongWoman demonstrating this exercise:

Pop Squats

This is another of glutes exercise that doesn’t really need any other equipment, though of course it’s more effective and challenging with ankle weights. It’s a version of regular squats that focus not just on your glutes but also your core, quads, and hamstrings.

You begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart, and then you go into a squat position by sitting your hips down and back. You then pop (jump) up about ¼ or ½ of the way into the air, and when you land you get back into the squat position again.

You just do a number of reps for this set. Some people just keep their hands clasps in a “prayer” position in front of them when they do pop squats.

Jump Squats exercises to build your butt

Jump squats are similar to pop squats, except that you jump into a straight position in the air before you get back to your initial squatting position. This means you unclasp your hands and get them to your sides as you straighten up, and you should squeeze your glutes when you’re at the peak of your jump.

Just remember that you shouldn’t land on a straight leg. There should be a slight bend to your knees when you land, and then you should sit back into your heels instead of leaning forwards on the balls of your feet.

This will work your glutes, lower back, abs, quads, and hamstrings.

Side Step Squat buttocks workout

This time you start by standing with your feet together, and then you squat down as you bend your knees and hips. While still in this squatting position, you then take a step to your right, so that you end up with your feet apart by a shoulder width (or even a bit farther). Then you follow by placing your left foot back right near your right foot before you stand up. Then next time, you do the same thing but you step to your left instead.

This focuses on the quads of your front thigh, though it also works your glute muscles and your hip abductors. You can do a dozen for each side (24 squats overall). This video by Howcast demonstrates how to do these squats:

Reverse Lunge

It’s best if you do this in front of a mirror, so that you can focus on your knee position. When you perform this exercise, you can concentrate on the front knee so that it doesn’t move at all.

You start with one foot braced forward (let’s say the left) and the other leg set behind you. Then as you put the right foot back by the left, you set the right leg behind you so that you’re almost kneeling. You pause for a second, before you put the right leg back by your left leg.

When you’ve done your number of reps, you can do the other leg. You just have to make sure that you again keep your front knee steady.

Ladies, looking at the mirror and seeing this will definitely boost your self esteem, not to mention your man will definitely love you more every time he sees this in you.exercises to build glutes

Side Lunge – A side butt exercise

It’s what the name says: you do the lunge by stepping to the side instead of forward. You start by standing straight up with your feet near each other. Now as you keep your torso upright while your hands are on your hips, you take a long step to your right. You continue the motion into a lunge by bending your right knee, while your left leg remains straight and angled at about 45 degrees to the floor. You then drive off your heel to get your right leg back to the center position by your left foot.

Then when you’re back into the center position, you can do the same thing on your left side. This works your quads, glutes, and hip adductors. The wider you step to the side, the more work you put on your gluteus maximus.

Side Lunges with Reach

We’ve already covered side lunges earlier, so you’re doing the same thing. This time though, as you do your lunge to your right you also reach to the right with your left hand. The aim is to get that arm stretching so that it’s straight with the line formed by your left leg that’s 45 degrees to the floor. You can then get back to the center, and you can go to your left next time (and reach with your right arm). Just keep your non-reaching arm at your hips.

This will work your glutes as well as your thigh muscles. To make it more interesting and to work your arms as well, you can even lift a light barbell on your reaching hand. You can do 15 reps on each side for one set.

Single Leg Raise

Here, you target your butt, along with your leg and ab muscles. This leg lift workout for glutes seems simple, but it’s actually harder than it looks.

First you lie down on your back on the floor, with your hands palms down on your sides. You can then bend your knee towards your stomach so that you can raise both your legs up. Your legs should then be 90 degrees to the floor.

You can then smoothly lower your right leg down while your left leg remains raised up straight. However, you just let your right leg hover over the floor; you don’t rest it on the floor. Breathe in, and when you breathe out you can raise your right leg back up to the starting position.

As you move the right leg up, you can then move the left leg down the same way. Remember, it needs to hover above the floor before you raise the leg back up.

Ski Squats and Alternating Lifts – A fun exercise to strengthen glutes

Each rep of this exercise takes only about 4 seconds or so, but you’ll have to master it first. The first step has you doing your regular ski squat, which targets your glutes, back and thigh muscles. If you haven’t done ski squats before, you can practice with your back to the wall. You then slide your back down the wall as you bend your knees. When your knees are 90 degrees to the floor, you hold for 3 seconds before you rise back up.

Now this time, you do that ski squat without the wall. That’s because once you rise up, you’re going to need space at your back for your leg lifts. You should aim to get your leg lifted until they’re parallel to the floor.

Try it, and you’ll see that you will need to practice your balance for this exercise. But it’s an interesting variation for your workout, and it’s effective for your glutes too.

Final Words

You need to make sure that you maintain the proper form for these exercises to strengthen glutes, while you also try to squeeze your glutes when you work the motions. Keep your leg movements smooth and controlled, especially when you’re using ankle weights, which should be every time once you master the booty workouts above.

For your safety, you may want to practice the movements without the ankle weights first. Then once you’ve mastered the motions, you can do them with your ankle weights as long as you ease into the weights.