(NaturalNews) Although everyone likes to walk out of a room knowing anyone watching them will see a tight derriere, strong buttock muscles are actually important to your health. Toning exercises for the glutes give you a nice butt, but they also help to improve your balance, ease of movement, and endurance. The glutes work together with the core muscles to support your spine; strong glutes may even help prevent or reduce back pain.
You may perform the following butt exercises in a gym or at home, making it easy to get a toned rear end regardless of your schedule or workout preferences. Also, you can modify the exercises to your fitness level so that you don't risk injury.
Stiff-leg deadlifts are a classic glute exercise. Typically, you perform this exercise with a barbell, but you can hold a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells instead. This exercise also strengthens your lower back as you use your muscles to stabilize your spine during the lifting.
To begin this exercise, stand in front of a barbell and step your feet hip-width apart. Hinge forward from the waist. Do not stick your butt out or round your back. Grasp the barbell with your hands shoulder-width apart. Generally, people position their hands with their palms facing their feet, but you could also use an alternating hand grip with one palm facing your feet and the other facing away from you.
Next, tighten your abdominal muscles and stand up with a flat back. Keep your arms straight and relaxed. Your arms only hold the barbell; do not lift with your arms. Bend forward and lower the barbell toward the floor again, at least as low as your knees. This completes one stiff-leg deadlift.
Use a weight that allows you to perform 10 to 15 reps with perfect exercise form. As you get stronger, you can increase the weight limit.
Single-leg bridges are a bodyweight exercise you can do anywhere. It is a simple but challenging exercise that comes with a significant benefit: it targets one glute at a time. It is possible for one glute to work harder than the other during regular glute exercises, but with a single-leg exercise you eliminate that option.
Lie on your back with your knees bent to prepare for the exercise. Slide your right foot on the floor until it is directly beneath your knee. Lift your left foot an inch off the floor and relax your arms, palms down, at your sides.
Squeeze your right glute and press through your heel as you lift your body toward the ceiling. Keep lifting until only your arms, shoulders, and head are on the floor. Slowly lower back to the floor to complete one bridge. Do up to 10 reps, and then switch sides. Do not attempt to do more bridges than you can correctly.
If you want to make the exercise harder, extend your leg parallel to the ground instead of holding the foot inches off the floor. If the single-leg exercise is too difficult with your non-lifting leg in either position, place both feet next to each other on the floor and do regular glute bridges.
Weighted lying hip abductions
The glutes include not only the large gluteus maximus muscle that defines the shape of the butt, this muscle group also includes the abductor muscles on the top and side portion of the buttocks. You can target the abductors with the side-lying hip abductions exercise. The weighted lying hip abductions exercise allows you to adjust the difficulty of the exercise by changing the amount of weight.
To do this exercise, lie on your right side with your legs straight. Hold a dumbbell in your left hand and rest your left arm on your side. Raise your left leg toward the ceiling, using your glutes to lift the weight and not your left arm. Bring your leg back down to complete one lying hip abduction. Perform eight to 12 reps and then switch sides.
These three butt exercises work the muscles in a different way to give you a complete glute program. However, it is important that you continue to challenge yourself by increasing the exercise difficulty and incorporating other exercises into your overall routine. Try walking stairs, running or walking hills, and squats to give your glutes variety, and to burn calories.
About the author: Sarka-Jonae Miller is a former personal trainer and massage therapist. She has a journalism degree from Syracuse University. Sarka-Jonae currently writes romantic comedy novels and romantic erotica under the same SJ Miller. Get more health and wellness tips from SJ's natural health Twitter feed or from SJ's Facebook page. SJ's books can be found on Amazon.