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This high-intensity circuit is designed to whip your bottom into top shape. “All of the exercises are great for sculpting a tight, lifted butt. They work all parts of the glutes plus the surrounding muscles, like the hamstrings and low back,” says Cari Shoemate, a trainer in Houston. Each round builds in intensity, so you’ll also challenge endurance along with strength.
Finish with some glute-focused cardio to blast fat while boosting your afterburn. Then get ready to rock that two-piece feeling fabulous.
Do these exercises as a circuit three times through, increasing your intensity with each round (add on weight, do plyometrics where appropriate, etc.).
Do 12–15 reps of each exercise (or per side). If time permits, add 10 minutes of glute-focused cardio at the end of each circuit.
Works: Glutes, outer thighs
Begin on all fours, palms directly under shoulders and knees under hips with back flat and core engaged. Keeping right knee on floor, extend left leg out to side, toes pointed to floor.
Swing left leg up and over, touching toes to ground to the right side of body.
Return in the same pattern back to start and repeat. Do 12–15 reps per side.
Make it harder: Begin on a weight bench or other elevated surface for a greater range of motion and/or increase rep range to 18–20.
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Prone Glute Extension
Lie facedown, legs extended with toes pointing slightly outward, head on hands. Squeezing glutes, lift legs as high as you can without overarching your back. Hold for a count of three, then return to start. Do 12–15 reps.
Make it harder: Squeeze for an extra 30 seconds at the end of the set.
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Works: Glutes, quads, outer thighs, calves
Stand toward the back of a bench or box. Bending left knee, step off to the right side, tapping right toes on ground and keeping weight mostly over left leg. Stand up on bench or box, then step right leg behind bench to the left side, touching down with your toes.
Straighten left leg and return to start. Continue for 12–15 reps; switch sides.
Make it harder: Hold dumbbells or move to a higher step or bench.
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Works: Core, glutes, quads, outer and inner thighs.
Stand tall with feet wider than shoulder-distance apart. Squat down, bending knees 90° or more, and lowering hands toward floor.
Pushing through heels, explode off the floor; as you jump up, cross legs. Return to start and repeat, this time crossing opposite leg on top. Do 12–15 reps.
Make it harder: Hold one dumbbell horizontally in both hands as you squat and jump.
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Low Squat Walk
Works: Glutes, quads
Stand with feet hip-distance apart, arms in front of chest. Squat down, keeping bodyweight over heels. Step left foot slightly out to the left, staying in low squat. Bring right foot to meet left. Step to right side, bringing left foot to meet right; stay in squat.
Reverse the movements and repeat for 12–14 steps, remaining in a low squat throughout the exercise.
Make it harder: Hold a weight in front of you as shown, and place a mini-band around ankles.
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Side Jump Lunge
Works: Glutes, qads
Stand with feet about hip-distance apart. Lunge to right side, bending right knee 90° while keeping left leg straight; keep left knee aligned with toes, and push glutes behind you. Jump up, shifting weight to left; land with left knee bent and right leg out to side, bending left knee 90°. Repeat for 12–15 reps per side.
Make it harder: Hold dumbbells at sides.
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Step Hop With Reverse Lunge
Works: Glutes, quads
Stand behind a bench or low box, placing left foot flat on surface. Step up onto bench, bringing right knee to hip height. Step back to start, then bring left foot behind you into a reverse lunge, bending both knees 90°.
Step back to start and repeat.
Do 12–15 reps per side.
Make it harder: Hop up onto bench; hold weights.
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Figure 4 Squat
Works: Glutes, quads, outer thighs.
Stand tall with feet hip-distance apart. Balancing on right leg, cross left ankle over bottom of right thigh, just above the knee. Bend right knee, squat as low as you can (ideally about 90°). Straighten leg back to standing. Repeat for 12–15 reps, trying to stay balanced throughout. Switch sides and repeat.
Make it harder: Hold a weight in front of you.