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Health Team

This 5-minute workout will tone and tighten your butt

Posted October 7, 2020 4:16 a.m. EDT

— If you're not comfortable heading to a gym to use the stair-climbing machine, one area of the body that you can focus on with no equipment whatsoever is your butt.

Gluteal amnesia and "dead butt syndrome" are both terms used to describe what happens when your glute muscles forget how to activate and therefore your hips, low back and legs take the brunt of your movements that require your butt for proper form.

In fact, experts say that sitting for too long can cause this tightness and weakness in the glutes. Taking frequent breaks from sitting and teaching the glutes how to activate through targeted exercises can help.

Your bum is composed of three muscles: gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimis. The gluteus maximus is the biggest muscle in the body, so traditionally in high-intensity interval training, also known as HIIT workouts, or in workouts focused on weight loss, working the butt is a key component to burn more calories and fat.

Furthermore, developing glute muscles can assist in low back pain, improved lower body strength and proper pelvic alignment. Strong glutes help prevent knee injuries during running and lifting exercises, and also support the low back during certain motions.

From an appearance standpoint, the red carpet is always buzzing with celebrities like Jennifer "J.Lo" Lopez and Kim Kardashian, who show off their developed derrieres in designer gowns. Whether your motivation to tone and tighten your butt is functional, appearance-focused, or both, this five-minute butt routine will get your backside stronger in no time.

While the gluteus maximus is the biggest butt muscle, minimis and medius have the important job of helping to stabilize and round out the butt as a whole. These smaller muscles also contribute to the round shape of the backside and strength in the lower body.

In just five minutes with only five exercises, you can tighten and tone your butt as well as the upper thighs and hamstrings. Perform each of these exercises slowly, and connect your breath to movement. Exhale through the mouth as you exert more effort, like when you press up from a position, and inhale through the nose as you move to the position, like when you step into a side lunge.

Backward lunge with lift

As a personal trainer, I teach many different exercises. This one is my favorite glute exercise because it works the standing leg's glute as you lift the other leg up into a lifted position and work that leg's glute. So the exercise is engaging each leg's glute muscles. This helps reduce the appearance of cellulite and also strengthens the entire butt.

Stand with your feet as wide as your hips. Then step the right foot backward into a lunge.

Keep both legs bent at a 90-degree angle.

Press down through the left foot and straighten the left leg for support as you lean forward. Then lift up the right leg and try to straighten it in the air. Lower the right foot down into the reverse lunge.

Repeat this 10 times, then switch sides.

READ MORE: Strengthen your core with this 5-minute routine

Side lunge with lift

This exercise works the entire glute and especially the gluteus medius in the side lift. The standing leg has to balance and stabilize throughout the movement, so the glutes and quads are engaged throughout the exercise.

Put your hands together in a prayer position as a centered and balanced pose to keep the center of gravity in between the right and left side.

Start with the feet as wide as the hips, and then step the right foot a few feet to the right. Sit back into the right hip as if you're sitting down on a chair with the right glute.

Then press down through the right foot to bring the left leg back to the starting position. Immediately lift the right leg out to the right to work the side of the glute.

Repeat this 10 times, then switch sides.

READ MORE: Reduce back pain with this 5-minute home workout

Curtsy lunge

The outer glute of the stationary leg really works during the movement of this exercise to give the glutes a well-rounded definition.

Start standing with your feet as wide as your hips. Then step the left leg back behind the right leg and over to the right about 1 foot. Bend both knees as if you're coming into a curtsy.

Press down through the right heel to come up to standing and step the left leg back to the starting position.

Repeat this 10 times, then switch sides.

READ MORE: Got a stress headache? This 5-minute routine brings relief

Wide leg squat

The inner thighs are recruited for this exercise, and the added squeeze at the top of the squat strengthens the glutes more than a traditional squat.

Stand with the feet open wider than the shoulders, and then turn the toes out. Pull the abs in and bend the knees out to the sides. Lower down into a squat, but keep the back straight and the knees pointed out.

Press down through the heels to come up to standing. Squeeze the glutes at the top as if you were squeezing a diamond in between your butt cheeks.

Repeat this 10 times.

READ MORE: Try this 5-minute yoga routine for better sleep

Standing kickbacks

Balance is required for this exercise, and the stabilizing muscles around the glutes are also engaging to make this movement seamless. If balance is challenging at first, you can place your hand on a chair or countertop to assist.

Stand with the feet as wide as the hips and bring the right knee up so that the foot is off the ground.

Slowly lean forward at your waist as you kick the right leg back behind you. Extend the leg as straight as you can to engage the right glute, and then bring it forward to the starting position.

Repeat this 10 times, then switch legs.

This five-minute butt workout can be done every other day to allow the muscles a day of recovery and time to build. If completing 10 repetitions feels easy, you can increase to 15 repetitions or do two rounds of 10 repetitions.

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