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Build your glutes (without weights) with these four easy moves

A photo of a woman doing a fire hydrant exercise
(Image credit: Getty/ Maridav)

If building your glutes is one of your workout goals for 2022 I’ve got news for you — no, you won’t build the booty of your dreams by doing a squat challenge. While squats are great for strengthening your glutes and lower leg muscles, only doing squats for 30 days isn’t going to help you reach your glute-shaping goals. 

Instead, you need to focus on all the different muscles in the glutes — the gluteus medius, which is the highest of the glute muscles and is responsible for hip movement, the gluteus minimus, which sits below the gluteus medius and also supports the hip, and the gluteus maximus. The gluteus maximus is the largest of the three glute muscles and is responsible for the rotation of the hip and the lateral rotation of the thigh. The gluteus maximus is also responsible for the shape of the butt, so is often one to target if you have a more aesthetic goal. 

While we’ve found some of the best glute exercises here, if you struggle with high-impact or high-intensity exercises (we’re talking about jump squats and burpees), Kelsey Wells has developed the perfect low-impact glutes blast. Using just your bodyweight, this 15-minute circuit is a great way to torch your glutes from home or fire them up before a longer lower-body workout. Kelsey Wells is a trainer on the Sweat app, which is one of the best workout apps to download right now. 

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Kelsey Wells' low-impact glutes workout

All you’ll need for this workout is an exercise mat to lie on, and a phone or stopwatch to record your sets. If you’re in the market for a new mat, we’ve found the best yoga mats that double as exercise mats here. 

For the workout, you’ll spend 45 seconds on each exercise, and repeat the circuit for four rounds. Each of the exercises is designed to target the glutes, without putting any impact on your joints. 

Here are the four exercises you’ll be focusing on during the workout: 

Glute kickback: Start on all fours, with your knees stacked under your hips and your arms underneath your shoulders. Engaging your abs and glutes, extend and raise one leg out behind you, pause at the top, then lower the knee back to the starting position. Don’t let your knee drop back to the ground. Do 45 seconds of kickbacks on one side and alternate between sides on each circuit. 

Glute bridge and opening: To do a glute bridge with correct form, you’ll need to start by lying on your back on an exercise mat, with your feet pressed into the floor about hip-width apart. Engage your core (think about sucking your belly button into your spine) and squeeze your glutes together as you raise your hips and pelvis to the sky. Squeeze your glutes at the top, before slowly lowering your hips back to their starting position. That’s one rep. To make bodyweight glute bridges harder, raise your arms up to the sky. Read more on how to do a glute bridge here. 

Fire hydrant and kick out: Starting on your hands and knees, tighten your core and squeeze your glutes as you lift one leg out to the side of your body at a 45-degree angle. Keep your knee bent at 90 degrees. At the top of the movement, extend your leg out, straightening your knee, before bending it again and lowering it back to your starting position, without letting it drop to the floor. 

Hamstring walkout: This one is tricky! From a glute bridge position, step your legs out away from your body, keeping your hips raises and your glutes squeezed. Pause, before stepping your legs back to their starting position. Don’t let your hips drop for the entire movement. 

Looking for more workout inspiration? Here are the best ab workouts to try for free, one of the best exercises for working your back muscles, and a Jo Wicks dumbbell workout perfect for beginners

Jane McGuire
Fitness editor

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.