Have you ever had one of those days where you planned on going to the gym, but then decided to skip out because you’re too tired? Sometimes rest is exactly what you need, but it can become all too easy to keep skipping workouts, thinking that you’ll hit the gym the next day. With that in mind, here are three exercises to tone your butt that you can do without even getting off of the floor! I promise that after I post this, I’ll get off the couch and do these exercises, too!
1. Lie on your back on an exercise mat or solid surface. Bend your knees and place your feet hip-width apart, with both feet flat on the floor. Flatten your low back against the mat by gently contracting your abdominal muscles, and try to maintain this contraction throughout the exercise.
2. Exhale and lift your hips up off the mat, pressing your heels into the ground as your squeeze your butt and pull your belly button back toward your spine, making a straight line from your knees to shoulders.
3. Inhale as you slowly lower your hips back to the mat. In addition to helping tone the glutes, this exercise is often used in physical therapy for core training. 🙂
Side Lying Hip Abduction
- Lie on your side on an exercise mat with your legs straight and your feet stacked together and your hips, shoulders, and arm in a straight line. You can lay completely flat with your head resting on your arm, or have your head slightly up but supported by your arm (flat will help ensure your body is in a parallel line). You can rest your other arm on top of your hip or in front of your body (on top of your hip will again help keep a parallel line). As in the bridge, engage your abdominal muscles for the duration of this exercise.
- Exhale and raise the top leg up in a slow and controlled manner, away from the bottom leg, while keeping the knee straight and the foot neutral. Avoid lifting too high, as this will shift the focus from working on the targeted hip muscles. If you feel any tension in your low back or feel your hips/pelvis begin to shift, move in a smaller range of motion.
- Inhale and return the top leg to the original position in a slow and controlled manner. Do reps on one leg, and then switch to the other. This exercise is very effective if done properly, but if you simply swing your leg through, you won’t get the benefits of it. As they say, put your mind in your muscle (or something like that). This exercise works the muscles on the side of your hip, including the gluteus medius, which is a small but important muscle.
1. Come down to the mat on all fours, with your hands shoulder width apart and your knees directly below your hips.
2. Contract your abdominals and exhale as you raise one bent leg up towards the ceiling, keeping the foot parallel to the ceiling.
3. Inhale as you bring your leg back to the starting position and complete reps before switching to the other. This exercise works all of your glute muscles and is one of my favorites! I like to sink back into child’s pose after doing reps on one leg before switching to the other.
There are multiple variations of these exercises. Do 2-3 sets of each exercise, 12-15 reps and rest 30-60 seconds in between sets before switching to the next exercise. If you are up for a bigger challenge , do the exercises in a circuit–each exercise back to back, resting 45-60 seconds in between each circuit through. You can also add resistance bands for an extra burn.
*Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. If you experience any pain or difficulty with these exercises, stop and consult your healthcare provider.*
Photos by Jeff Tse
Sports bra: Kenneth Cole
Pants: Athletic Collection
Do you prefer to exercise outside, at a gym, or at home?