4 Moves, 12 Minutes: The Perfect Beginner Glute Workout

Photo: Courtesy of Sweat.
With the approach of summer, I'm feeling how I imagine the Tin Man felt after getting a fresh shot of oil to his creaky joints: Between the vaccinations, the warm weather, and the additional hours of sunlight, my whole body seems to be waking up again after a long, dreadful pandemic winter. And one way I'm channeling that extra energy is by working out. I still haven't gone back to my local gym; instead, I've been loving the quick workouts trainer Kelsey Wells developed for the Sweat fitness app, many of which require nothing more than a yoga mat.
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This 12-minute circuit, which Wells created exclusively for Refinery29, is inspired by the trainer's "Low Impact Strength with Kelsey" program on the Sweat app. It's focused on the lower body, with moves intended build your coordination and mobility as well as core and lower back strength. It's quick, simple — you repeat four glute-activating moves three times through — and do-able for beginners without being easy. Paired with a quick warm-up, it's just the thing I needed to shake off the last of winter's cobwebs from my joints. I give it the peach-emoji stamp of approval.

Alternating lunge

Step 1
Start standing with both feet on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
Step 2
Inhale. Carefully take a big step forwards with your left foot. As you plant that foot on the floor, bend both knees to approximately 90 degrees, making sure that your weight is evenly distributed between both legs. Your front knee should be aligned with your ankle, and your back knee should be hovering just off the floor.
Step 3
Exhale. Extend both knees and transfer your weight completely onto your right foot. Step your left foot backward to return to the starting position.
Step 4
Inhale and repeat on the right side. That's one rep.
Repeat, alternating sides to do as many reps as you can for 30 seconds straight. Then rest for 30 seconds before continuing to the next move.
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Glute bridge and opening

Step 1
Start by lying flat on your back on a yoga mat. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the mat, hip-width apart, allowing your spine to be in a neutral position. Rest your arms by your sides on the mat. This is your starting position.
Step 2
Inhale. Exhale. Press your heels into the mat, activate your glutes, and raise your pelvis off the floor until your body forms one straight line from chin to knee, with your shoulders still resting on the mat.
Step 3
Inhale. While keeping your hips raised and your glutes activated, open your knees outwards.
Step 4
Draw your knees together again until they are hip-width apart. Then exhale, and lower your spine onto the mat one vertebrae at a time, followed by your pelvis. That's one rep.
Repeat, doing as many reps as you can for 30 seconds straight. Then rest for 30 seconds before continuing to the next move.

Reverse lunge and knee up

Step 1
Stand with both feet on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Inhale, and carefully take a big step backwards with your right foot. As you plant that foot on the floor, bend both knees to approximately 90 degrees, ensuring that your weight is evenly distributed between both legs. If done correctly, your front knee should be aligned with your ankle and your back knee should be hovering just off the floor.
Step 2
Exhale, and extend both knees, transferring your weight onto your left foot. At the same time, elevate your right foot to bring your right knee into your chest.
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Step 3
Inhale. Lower your right leg to return to the starting position, but without resting your foot on the mat. That's one rep.
Repeat on your right side only, completing as many reps as you can in 15 seconds. Then switch to your left side, again completing as many reps as you can for the remaining 15 seconds. Then rest for 30 seconds before continuing to the next move.

Sumo squat pulse

Step 1
Stand with both feet on the floor, wider than hip-width distance apart, with both toes pointed slightly outward. Inhale, and looking straight ahead, and squat down, ensuring that your knees remain in line with your toes, until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Hinge slightly forward from the hips, so your back remains within a 45- to 90-degree angle to your hips. This is called full squat position.
Step 2
Push through your heels and extend your legs slightly, without standing completely upright.
Step 3
Bend your knees again to return to full squat position. This is one pulse.
Repeat, doing as many pulses as you can for 30 seconds. Then rest for 30 seconds before repeating the circuit. Repeat the circuit of four moves a total of three times. Cool down with a five-minute walk.
Pro tip: To make this workout a bit more challenging, do each move for 40 seconds, and shorten your rest periods to 20 seconds.

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