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5 exercises to tone and strengthen your glutes

These simple moves will tighten and tone your butt using just your bodyweight.
The goblet squat targets the quads and glutes.
The goblet squat targets the quads and glutes.TODAY Illustration / Stephanie Mansour

Strong glutes not only look toned in bathing suits and shorts, but they also help us walk, move and sit with better posture. Activating the glutes helps train the legs and back to work together — so when reaching for something up high or squatting down to pick something up, you’ll learn to engage your glutes rather than strain your back or legs.

As a personal trainer for almost 15 years, I’ve found that when it comes to working the glutes, my clients love basic exercises that get the job done. I prefer to keep it basic when it comes to training my glutes, too. These are some of my favorite exercises because they feel great and burn just enough in the moment to make me feel like I’m working hard, but they aren’t too strenuous that I feel like I'm overworking the muscle.

I also love that these moves require no equipment. Perform these five easy moves wherever you may be — at home in front of your television or on your lunch break! After consistently performing this short routine for a few weeks, you will start to see and feel your glutes activate, getting firming and stronger.

Perform 10 reps of each exercise for 3 sets total.

wall squat exercise

Wall squat 

Lean against a wall with your back straight and your feet hip-width apart. Keep your arms at your sides as you slide down the wall, bending at the knees. Bend until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Your feet should be far enough from the wall that you form a 90-degree angle at the knee joint. Squeeze your abs and glutes and hold for a few seconds before sliding your back up the wall to the starting position.

goblet squat exercise

Goblet squat

Stand with your feet wider than the hips with your toes facing slightly outward. Bring your palms together at your chest with your elbows bent. Squeeze your abs and look forward as you push your hips backward and bend your knees. Remember to keep your back straight as you continue to lower your butt until your hips are below your knees. Position your elbows so that they are inside your knees before pushing down through the heels to stand back up.

Squat leg lift exercise

Squat into side leg lift

This progression from a basic squat will fire up your hamstrings, quads and gluteus maximus, while also targeting the gluteus medius (the side hip) during the leg lift. To perform this, first do a squat. Then, as you stand up extend the right leg out to the right and lift it up as high as the hip to work the outer right hip and thigh. Place the foot back down and lower into a squat. Repeat 10 times, then switch to the other side.

reverse lunge exercise

Reverse lunge

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and youe hands in prayer position or at your sides. Step the right foot back into a lunge position. Brace your core and lower down until your knee almost touches the floor. Both knees should be at about a 90-degree angle. Step forward and return to standing. Repeat 10 times before switching sides.

glute bridge exercise

Glute bridge 

Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Your knees should be hip-distance apart. Raise your hips by squeezing your glutes to create a straight line from your neck to your knees, being careful not to hyperextend your hips. Clasp your hands underneath your back for a deeper stretch or keep the arms extended on the floor, fingers pointing toward your feet. Hold the pose for 5 seconds. Don’t let your knees splay out to the side or collapse inward. Slowly lower down.