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How to tone: Your glutes

Exercise tips for great glutes

The glutes: That area most women want to tone, lift and shape. Beyond looking great in your jeans or snug-fitting dress, your glutes play a large role in your daily activities, such as walking, climbing, hiking, jumping and even getting out of your chair. We've compiled a list of the easiest ways to tone your gluteus area, both in the gym and at home, with help from Nancy J. Krank, a ACE-certified personal trainer in Los Angeles.

Step ups

Step ups at gymStep ups at gym

Use a step about 12 to 15 inches high. Make sure that, when you put your foot on the step (your knee is at a 90-degree angle), your thigh is parallel to the ground or lower. A step that is too high can put too much strain on the knee.

Start position: With your head and chest up, and with good posture, stand a few inches behind the step, holding dumbbells at your sides.

Movement: Place right foot on top of the step and transfer your weight to your right leg. Push down with your right foot, straightening your right leg as you come up on the step while your left leg comes off the ground. Let your right leg do the work; your left leg won't help with the upward movement. Lower back down and return to start position. Repeat with your left leg leading.

Perform 12 repetitions with each leg.

Step ups at home

Use a stationary step around 12 to 15 inches high or the bottom step on your staircase. Make sure that, when you put your foot on the step (your knee is at a 90-degree angle), your thigh is parallel to the ground or lower. A step that is too high can put too much strain on the knee.

Start position: With your head and chest up, and with good posture, stand a few inches behind the step, holding canned items or detergent bottles at your sides.

Movement: Place your right foot on top of the step and transfer your weight to your right leg. Push down with your right foot, straightening your right leg as you come up on the step while your left leg comes off the ground. Let your right leg do the work; your left leg won't help with the upward movement. Lower back down and return to start position. Repeat with your left leg leading.

Perform 12 repetitions with each leg.

Quadruped

Whether you do this exercise at the gym or at home, be sure to use a mat or padded surface to protect your knees.

Start position: Start on your hands and knees with your hands directly underneath your shoulders. Squeeze your stomach in to help stabilize your core.

Movement: Lift your right leg up, keeping your right knee bent at 90 degrees and the bottom of your foot facing the ceiling, until your thigh is lined up with your body, squeezing your right glute. While you are lifting your leg, extend your left arm forward until it is lined up with your body. Hold for one to two seconds, then return to start position.

Lower-body exercises can be tough on your knees and joints; be sure to talk to your physician before beginning a new exercise routine.

More tips for toned legs:

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