“Having strong glutes go hand in hand with a strong core,” says Melissa Kendter, U.S. Trainer for Tone & Sculpt. That’s why she put together the following abs and butt workout. “These two muscle groups are responsible for so many of the movements that we make in our day-to-day life and our posture, therefore exercises that work them both at the same time can lead to a stronger body and overall better movement patterns.”
And, in fact, being abs-focused and neglecting your glutes sets you up for injury and inefficiencies in your workouts. “If we have weak glutes, the core will try to compensate, causing increased strain on the back, which in turn can cause unnecessary force placed upon the knee and ankle,” Kendter explains. On the flip side, a weak core makes it so that your glutes don’t have enough stability from the spine above to produce efficient movement. In other words, using exercises that work the abs and butt simultaneously are beneficial for us inside and outside of the gym, per Kendter.
3 Tips For Optimizing Your Abs & Butt Workout
Play Mind Games. “It is vital that you use your mind to properly engage and contract the muscles you are working, especially your core and glutes,” Kendter says. “To successfully work a muscle group, you have to feel it working. You need to focus your mind on contracting and squeezing the muscle with every single rep.”
Think: Belly Button To Spine. Concentrate on pulling your belly button into your spine to keep your core engaged. “Once you can achieve this, watch how much of a difference it makes not only to muscle engagement, but also to your form,” Kendter notes.
Breathe Intentionally. Kendter says it’s important to focus on your breathing technique by inhaling through your nose and exhaling through pursed lips throughout each exercise. “This will help with proper core engagement.”
The Abs & Butt Workout:
Time: 30 minutes
Equipment: Mat, kettlebells, dumbbells, box or bench
Good for: Butt and abs
Instructions: Choose five exercises below for a full abs and butt workout. Complete 12 to 15 reps, per side if needed, then continue to the next exercise. One you finish the circuit, repeat it four times through.
Ideally, working a muscle group twice per week is superior for strength and hypertrophy (read: muscle growth), but if you are doing low-impact bodyweight exercises, they can be done more frequently throughout the week, per Kendter.
1. Bird Dog With Elbow-To-Knee Touch
How to: Start on all fours, with your hands directly under your shoulders and knees under hips. Draw your stomach in, then raise your left arm and right leg, until they’re both extended straight out. Keeping your spine aligned, bring your elbow to your knee, extend back out to a long line. That’s one rep. Complete four sets of 12 to 15 reps on each side.
2. Single-Leg Deadlift
How to:Start standing with feet together and arms by sides. With control, tilt torso forward while lifting left leg behind body (foot flexed) and extending left arm forward until both are parallel with floor. Return to start. That’s one rep. Complete four sets of 12 to 15 reps on each side.
3. Half Turkish Get-Up
How to: Start lying on back with right leg and arm straight on the floor and at a 45-degree angle from body, left leg bent so foot is flat on the floor, and left arm extended up toward ceiling (elbow locked out) holding a kettlebell. Keep eyes on kettlebell, press into right arm, and sit up, coming onto right forearm. Then, press through right palm and left foot to lift hips into air, keeping right leg straight. Slowly reverse the movement to return to starting position. That’s one rep. Complete four sets of 12 to 15 reps on each side.
4. Glute Bridge March
How to: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Rest your arms on the floor, palms down. Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Brace your abs and lift your right knee toward your chest, maintaining a 90 degree angle with your leg. Then. lower it back down to start. Repeat with the other leg. That’s one rep. Complete four sets of 12 to 15 reps on each side.
5. Dumbbell Deadlift
How to: Holding two dumbbells in your hands, stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Position the weights in front of your thighs, palms facing your body. Keeping your knees slightly bent, press your hips back as you hinge at the waist and lower the dumbbells toward the floor. Squeeze your glutes to return to standing. That’s one rep. Complete four sets of 12 to 15 reps.
6. Squat Press To Twist
How to: Start standing with feet under hips holding a pair of dumbbells at shoulder height with arms bent and elbows by sides. Sit hips back and lower down into a squat. Push through heels to lift up, pressing weights overhead and rotating torso to left side. Lower back into a squat, then repeat, twisting to the opposite side. That’s one rep. Complete four sets of 12 to 15 reps.
7. Kang Squat
How to: Stand up straight with your feet wider than hip-distance apart, toes pointed slightly outward. Place your hands behind your head. Hinge at your hips and lower your torso down until it is nearly parallel with the ground. Then, sit your hips back and bend at the knees until your thighs are parallel with the ground. Push through your heels and reverse the movement, returning to stand. That’s one rep. Complete four sets of 12 to 15 reps.
How to: Start lying on stomach with arms and legs extended on the floor so body forms one long line, forehead on mat. Engage abs, squeeze glutes and lift all four limbs, plus chest and head a few inches off the ground, keeping your neck neutral by gazing at top of mat. Hold for 3–5 seconds then slowly lower back to the starting position. That’s one rep. Complete four sets of 12 to 15 reps.
9. Lateral Lunge To Knee Drive
How to: Start standing. Step to side with right leg, push hips back, and lower body until leg is bent 90 degrees. Transfer weight to left leg as you drive right knee up to hip height. Return to start. That’s 1 rep. Complete four sets of 12 to 15 reps on each side.
10. Rainbow Taps
How to: Get on all fours on top of your mat. Extend your left leg back behind your body, so it’s lifted slightly higher than hip height. Flex your left foot and lower it to the left side of your body, just outside your shoulder, until your toes touch the ground. Lift your leg up in an arched motion and touch your toes to the ground on the right side of your right foot. That’s one rep. Complete for four sets of 12 to 15 reps on each side.
11. Single-Leg Box Squat
How to: Start standing facing away from a box (or chair) with weight in left foot, right foot hovering, and arms at sides. Engage core, bend left knee, and push hips back to sink down into a single-leg squat until butt touches box, simultaneously extending arms out straight in front of body and right foot out slightly for balance. Once seat taps box, press through left foot to return to standing position. That’s one rep. Complete four sets of 12 to 15 reps on each side.
12. Hip Cars
How to: Start on all fours. Hover right knee off floor. With control, circle it toward right elbow, then up and out to the side at hip height with inner thigh parallel to floor, then backward until quad is parallel to mat. Return to start. That’s 1 rep. Complete four sets of 12 to 15 reps on each side.
13. Glute Bridge
How to: Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor 12 to 16 inches from your butt. Brace your core, then press into your heels and squeeze your glutes to raise your hips toward the ceiling. Hold the position for two seconds before lowering to start. That’s one rep. Complete four sets of 12 to 15 reps on each side.
14. Half Kneeling Kettlebell Windmill
How to: Start by kneeling on your left knee, and bring your right foot to the side of your body, with foot firmly on the ground and toes pointed to the right. Hold a kettlebell in your right hand. Rack the kettlebell at your chest, then lift it overhead, keeping your eyes on the weight. Slowly lower your body down until your left hand reaches the ground. Then continue lowering until your elbow and forearm reach the ground. Reverse the movement and return to start. That’s one rep. Complete for four sets of 12 to 15 reps on each side.
15. Fire Hydrant
How to: Start on all fours with shoulders over wrists, hips over knees, and toes planted on the floor. Keeping left leg bent to 90 degrees, engage core and squeeze through outer left glutes to lift left knee out to the left, until upper leg is parallel to floor (or as close as possible). Slowly and with control, return leg to starting position. That’s one rep. Complete four sets of 12 to 15 reps on each side.