A beautifully lifted and curvy behind is what most of us strive for, but there are so many bottom-busting drills out there, so it’s hard to know which are the most effective and entail the least hassle. We’ve done the hard work for you, as these derrière-targeting exercises don’t require any equipment and are some of the most targeted body-weight exercises you can do. If you want to challenge yourself even more, throw on an ankle weight or two! Repeat each exercise below for one minute and feel the burn to a better, more beautiful bottom.
Single-Leg Glute Bridge
Regular glute bridges are done with both feet firmly on the ground, which is a great starting point if you feel shaky doing the exercise with one leg raised. This alteration is a little more intense, making it perfect for a quick blast before work!
Start with one foot on the ground and one leg lifted in a table top position, where the leg forms a 90-degree angle. Engage your core and pelvic floor muscles by trying to focus on pulling down your ribcage. Place one hand on each hip and use them as a marker point to ensure your hips are lifting equally. One hip shouldn’t raise higher than the other as this is bad for the lower back, and doesn’t work the glutes nor the core effectively. Press into your heel that’s on the ground and squeeze your glutes, raising your hips up. Only go as far up as what feels comfortable on your lower back – it should not arch. Once at the highest point, slowly lower yourself back down and repeat.
Side Leg Raises
Lie on your side with your bottom knee bent and shifted forward for support whilst your top leg lies straight, in line with the body. Before you start the exercise, place one hand on your top hip and engage your core, ensuring your ribs are not rolling towards the ground. Everything should be in a strong, linear position.
Engage your glutes and begin to raise your straight, top leg upwards. Use the hand on your hip as a guideline as to how high you should go; your hips should not roll backward or forward during the movement, so only take your leg to the height that is right for you. When you reach your highest point, give your glutes an extra squeeze to maximize their work, and then slowly lower the leg back down. Repeat for 30 seconds on each leg, and then swap.
Lie on your side with a hand comfortably supporting your neck (you can also lay your head on the ground if this feels better). Stack both knees on top of each other and bend them at a 45-degree angle.
Squeeze your glutes, helping the top knee to open so that your toe points downward. Only go as far as your hips can stay stable for; they should not roll backward with the knee. Then, close your knee so that your toe is pointing upward, again being aware of your hips. Not only is this a great exercise for the different glute muscles, but it also challenges the core and works on stability. To maximize the exercise, focus on keeping your upper body stable throughout.
Start with a neutral spine, knees underneath your hips, and neck in line with your spine. Your core should be engaged and your hips should remain as even as possible throughout the exercise.
Contract the glute of your raising leg and lift that leg up behind your body. It should stay at the same 90-degree angle as it started, toes pointing up toward the sky. Keep lifting your leg and squeezing into the glute muscle. The movement should reach its highest point before the back begins to arch and your hips become very uneven. Lower the leg back down, trying to keep the same middle-section position, and then repeat.
This is a similar movement to the knee-toe taps, but it allows you to focus more on the glute muscle without concentrating on other movements and contractions. Begin with your knees stacked on top of each other, at a 45-degree angle, with a hand on your hip as a control measure before carrying out the exercise.
Carly Neave is the blogger behind LeanLivingGirl, a health and fitness website based in Dubai.
Photographer Renjith Krishnakripa