You know those men who park themselves in front of a mirror with a single dumbbell watching their muscles swell against their T-shirt as they pump iron. Confession: I'm like that about my bum. As anyone who has trained me knows, I am obsessed with building great glutes and can often be spotted, in a gym, near mirrors checking out my behind. I attribute it to an early obsession with Jennifer Lopez.
Her lithe dancer's body in My Love Don't Cost a Thing became the aspiration of someone who had just started her weight-loss journey. "I rather look like that than be skinny," I remember thinking when the song played on my walkman (the other songs in my playlist included Shaggy's It Wasn't Me, Madonna's Frozen, Aqua's Barbie Girl and Lou Bega's Mambo No. 5 if you really want to know). Twenty-odd years later, Jennifer Lopez still looks fabulous at 52, as good as she did back then. And I still aspire to get glutes like hers, which is why I ensure that I include the following three exercises in my workout routine very regularly.
The Glute Bridge: I discovered the glute bridge rather late in life-- only five years ago. But trust me, including glute bridges in your routine does wonders; my jeans fit way better since I've started doing them. It is a deceptively simple move where all you're basically doing is lying on the floor with your knees bent and lifting your hips off the ground until your knees, hips and shoulders are aligned. Do a few sets of this, however, preferably with a weight or band, and you'll feel the burn.
The Donkey Kick: So its scientific name is quadruped bent-knee hip extension. Most people simply call it the donkey kick because the movement resembles precisely that. They're especially great for your butt because they target the gluteus maximus, the biggest muscle there. Get on all fours. Ensure that your hands are under your shoulders, your knees are stacked beneath your hips and your back is flat. Keeping your knees bent, lift your legs up towards the ceiling, without arching your back or turning your hips. Finish 8-12 counts on one side before moving to the next. You can use an ankle weight or band to increase resistance.
The Lateral Band Walk: Ok, this looks like an awkward move. And yes, it can be. But it does a great job of improving hip stability, knee strength and targets all the glute muscles--the gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, and the gluteus maximus. You start by strapping a closed-loop resistance mini-band above your knee. Stand hip-width apart and squat slightly. Take a few small steps to the left and then right, with awareness, engaging all your muscles. Repeat 8-10 times.