3 exercises to firm your glutes

Do you want to boost your caboose, but don’t know where to start?  The key to a royal-sized rump is to use the king of all exercises: the sacred squat.  Squats carve curves, crush calories and add speed to your sprint. 

But let's face it, standard squats are boring.  Sit down, stand up, repeat. 

Luckily, as your friend and fitness fairy, I spruced up this squat set by sprinkling it with some fun variations that will keep your can guessing and ward off the booty boredom associated with doing the same routine day in and day out. 

This bum-building routine focuses on three moves that will not only amplify your assets, but improve leg strength and joint stability.     

Fit Tip:  Wear proper footwear to increase stability.  Start with your body weight before graduating to free weights.  Remember, these are lower body exercises.  If you feel discomfort in your lower back or knees, stop immediately.

Main Muscles Molded:  Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Gluteus Maximus, Rectus Abdominus

Do 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions per side.

Single Leg Dead Lift. 

If the majority of your sweat sessions are solely spent trotting on the treadmill, or building bicep boulders, it is time to give those neglected stilts some love. Standing with your right foot slightly elevated and the left leg bent, activate your core muscles as you slowly hinge at the hip and lower the upper body to the ground until both hands are close to the ground.

Return to the starting position and do one standard squat. Your body is mimicking a seesaw, with your hip being the axis upon which the body tilts. Focus on using the leg muscles to stabilize your body, rather than pulling through the upper body. You should feel tension in the posterior part of you planted leg.

Heel-Lifted Squat. 

This exercise will elevate the heel of each foot in order to stimulate the quadriceps further and allow for a deeper bend in your squat, with a greater range of motion. Place a set of free weights hip width apart.

Carefully plant each heel on the hand bar of the weights. In a controlled motion, hinge back at the hips and lower the body until the back of the legs are parallel to the ground with the arms raised overhead for balance. Hold for one count, and then return to the starting position.

Squat Kickback. 

Standing with feet hip-width apart, lower the body into a standard squat. Check your form. Are your hamstrings parallel to the floor? Are your knees behind your toes? If not, regroup and really focus on your form before executing the exercise. From this squatting position, push through the heels and squeeze your tush firmly.

We want to achieve a deep stretch on the gluteus muscles on the downward phase of the squat, and a strong contraction on the upward phase of this movement. Once you return to the starting position, keep your leg straight and kick back your right leg, followed by your left. That is one repetition.

Rev up your rearview. Earn it.

This article was featured in the Health section of Philly.com