Squats. They are not for everyone. The up and down motion certainly tightens glutes and thighs, but if you have difficulty with aching knees and joints, squats may not be the exercise for you. Weak glutes may be a problem, or possibly anterior tightening gives you pain. Also, if you suffer from shin splints or plantar fasciitis, you do not want to place pressure on these areas, or aggravate problems. Without proper technique, squats can pose injury. Since the hip is the most powerful joint in the body, it is important to know your exercise limitations and not over-exert. Any exercise that causes excessive pain should be immediately discontinued.
There are other exercises that tone and tighten your butt just as effectively as squats! We have compiled a list of the top exercises that will tone your butt without doing a single squat. Here we go…
1. The Hydrant
- Start down on the floor on all fours.
- With your wrists stacked under your shoulders and knees hip-width apart, slowly lift your right knee up to the ceiling.
- While your knee is raised, extend your right foot out to the side.
- Hold for a few seconds. Bring your knee back to the floor in a starting position.
- Complete 12 repetitions. Repeat with the left knee to complete the circuit.
- The slower you complete this exercise, the greater the results.
- As you slowly raise your knee into the hydrant position, you are strengthening your glutes and inner thigh.
2. Vertical Rainbow
- Stand tall with hands placed gently behind your head.
- Flexing your right foot, extend your right leg off the floor in front of your body.
- Pretend you are tracing the shape of a rainbow or arc with your right leg.
- Slowly move your right leg from in front to behind your body.
- Return to starting position. Complete five repetitions with your right leg.
- Repeat with your left leg to complete the circuit.
- This maneuver requires balance and some agility.
- If you practice this though you will master the routine in no time.
3. Glute Bridge
- Begin on the floor, on your back with knees bent and feet flat.
- Pull in the lower abdominals, raising your pelvis off the floor until the chest, hips and knees are in alignment.
- Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze your glutes. Hold this position for a count of 10. Relax.
- Repeat the circuit three times. Increase the count as you progress through the exercise.
- If you are straining your back or have discomfort during this exercise, you are not doing it correctly.
- Proper form and technique is the key to your success.
- This exercise not only gives you a tight tush, it also strengths the gluteus maximus muscle that supports the back.
- Be sure to pull in your stomach when you squeeze your tush for a total workout.
4. Side Kick
This exercise, along with the Back Kick, is probably the most obvious to strengthening glutes. Side Kick circuits can be completed in almost any space. They are an easy exercise that sculpts and frames the butt muscles.
- While standing tall, back straight and body in complete alignment, with feet together and tummy tucked in, slowly move your right leg sideways.
- Squeeze your glute muscles as you move your leg to the side as far as you can go.
- You will feel your muscle groups working. Brace yourself against a wall or chair if needed.
- Do not overextend or continue if you have pain.
- The slower you complete this exercise, the better the results.
- Complete 12 side kicks on your right leg, then switch to the left leg.
- This completes the circuit.
5. Back Kick
Like the side kick, the back kick is fun and easy.
- Standing tall, back straight and body in complete alignment, begin with feet together and tummy tucked in.
- Slowly move your right leg backwards until you feel the stretch.
- Squeeze your glutes as you move your leg backwards.
- Use a chair if needed for support. Complete 12 back kicks, then switch to the other leg for one complete circuit.
- Both side kicks and back kicks can be modified for greater resistance with exercise bands.
- The greater the resistance and the slower the movement, the greater the results.
Strengthening your glute muscles will improve your balance and posture. For the best results, it is recommended to pick one of the above circuits and enjoy at least four times a week. Remember to avoid injury at all cost. Exercise should be fun and productive, not painful. If you have questions about these exercises, seek out a professional trainer who can provide you with the proper form and technique.