Stephanie Thielen by Stephanie Thielen

Nothing says well-defined glutes than the now infamous “Buns of Steel” videos from the ‘80s. This ultimate video collection of grueling, yet effective exercises led a generation on the road to a tighter, sleeker lower half. Strengthening, tightening and toning the glutes is still prevalent today, but with more emphasis on how good it is for the body, not just how shapely our glutes should look.

Your glutes are the largest and strongest muscles in the body. They consist of three different muscles that work together to abduct, rotate, and extend the hip.

-Gluteus maximus—the largest of the three main muscles
-Gluteus medius—a pork chop-shaped muscle that sits near the top and outside of your hips
-Gluteus minimus—a fan shaped muscle that is located underneath the gluteus medius

To achieve a firm, strong backside, exercises for the glutes should consist of a variety of movement patterns that hit each one of the glute muscles. Squats, side lunges and step-ups are some of the best glute exercises and should be a part of everyone’s workout routine. But when you need a break from the traditional exercises, try this booty-lifting workout inspired by fitness, Pilates and “Buns of Steel” to start on your own road to a strong and sculpted rear end.

Perform the following exercises for the suggested reps. Move through all five exercises, take a small break and repeat the exercises one more time. Focus on keeping your core and glutes active and engaged throughout all the exercises.

Quadruped Series

Quadruped Series

Quadruped Series

Position the body onto the forearms and knees. Lift the right leg up with the knee bent and the bottom of the foot facing the ceiling. (1) Perform small pulsing lifts for 30 seconds. (2) Straighten out the leg and perform small pulsing lifts for 30 seconds. (3) Finish this series with a set of 20 rainbow taps, swinging the leg up and over from right to left. Repeat with the left leg.

Side-lying Checkmark

Side-lying checkmark

Begin lying on your left side, left arm extended overhead and knees bent to 90 degrees. (1) Take your right leg and internally rotate so the knee is moving toward the floor. (2) Next, squeeze your glutes and press the leg out to a high diagonal. Perform 15 reps on the right leg, and then switch sides.

3 Steps Hip Bridge

Hip bridge

Hip bridge

Lie on your back, feet hip-width apart and arms by your sides. Place your heels close to your glutes and lift your toes up. (1) Squeeze your glutes as you lift your hips up, creating a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Perform 10 reps. (2) Walk your feet out one step and perform another 10 reps. (3) Walk your feet out one more step and perform another 10 reps.

Curtsy Lunge + Side Leg Lift

Curtsy lunge

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, keeping your weight in your right foot. With your left foot, take a step back, crossing it behind your right leg, as if you about to do a “curtsy” bow. (1) Lower the body straight down until your front thigh is parallel to the floor. (2) Rise up from the lunge, step back to center and lift your right leg out to the side, with the right toes facing forward. Perform 15 reps on the right and then switch sides.

Stationary Lunge + Rear Leg Swing

Stationary lunge

Rear leg swing

Begin in a split-stance position, with the right foot in the front and the left foot in the back. (1) Lower the body straight down until your front thigh is parallel to the floor. (2) Rise up onto the right leg and lift your left leg up behind you. (3) Swing the left leg forward into a knee lift, (4) and then swing the leg back. Perform 15 reps on the right leg and then switch sides.


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