Plié squat 

* Grasp a single 10–20-pound dumbbell with both hands as shown.
* Take a very wide stance with your feet 3–4 feet apart and toes pointing outward. Allow both arms to hang straight down in front of you.

* Keeping your torso upright, bend at the knees until your thighs are nearly parallel to the floor.
* Pause briefly, then return to the starting position without locking your knees, and repeat.
training tip — If your knees pass over your toes, your stance isn’t wide enough; step out a few more inches. Focus on lifting with and squeezing your glutes throughout the movement.
 



Reverse lunge

* Stand erect with your feet about hip-width apart and take a long step backward with one leg. 
* Drop your hips straight down by bending at both knees.

* Once your front thigh is parallel to the floor, push up through your forward leg to return to a standing position. 
* Repeat with the same leg or alternate legs for reps. 
training tip — Don’t let your front knee bend more than 90 degrees or move past the front of your toes, which increases knee strain. To add intensity, hold a pair of 5–10-pound dumbbells. 
 



Single-leg squat

* Stand 3–4 feet in front of either an exercise ball (more challenging) or a flat bench placed behind you.
* Extend one leg back and place that foot on top of the bench/ball while keeping your other foot firmly planted on the floor.

* With your hands on your hips and your torso erect, lower your body into a deep knee bend by bending both knees until your front thigh is parallel to the  floor.
* Focusing on your glutes, press back up to the starting position and repeat for reps, then switch legs. 
training tip — Don’t allow your front knee to move over your toes, which places unwanted stress on the knee. Hold a pair of dumbbells to increase intensity.
 



Step up

* Facing an 8–10-inch-high step or box, place your right foot on the box.
* Lifting your body with your right leg, step up and kick your left knee upward until your left thigh is parallel to the floor.

* Return your left foot back to the floor, leaving your right foot on the step.
* Repeat for reps, then switch legs.
training tip — Be sure not to bounce off the ground when you step down. Add 5–10-pound hand weights to increase intensity. 
 



Leg press

* Sitting in a leg-press machine, place your feet high and slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on the platform. 
* Keeping your back flat against the pad, lower the weight until your knees reach about 90-degree angles.

* Pause briefly, then press the weight back to the starting position until your legs are straight, but not locked, and repeat.
training tip — Keep your feet flat on the platform, but focus on pressing with your heels for more glute emphasis. Don’t lower the weight too far down, forcing your lower back to lift up off the back pad.
 



Romanian deadlift (see “Perfect Form” for barbell version) 

* Hold a pair of dumbbells in front of your thighs with your palms facing your body.
* Keeping your chest high and your back straight, begin lowering the dumbbells by bending at your hips.
* Try to keep the dumbbells as close to your legs as possible all the way down.

* Lower the weights until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings.
* Squeeze your glutes and contract your hamstrings while lifting the weights back to the starting position.
training tip — Don’t allow your back to round while lowering the weights; try to maintain its natural curve throughout the exercise. This movement also targets the hamstrings.
 



Glute lift (off exercise ball)

* Lie facedown on an exercise ball positioned at your abdominal region, feet together and toes touching the floor behind you. Grasp a machine or bench frame for stability.
* Keeping your legs straight, lift your feet off the floor until they’re in line with your body.

* Hold briefly and squeeze your glutes, then return to the starting position.
training tip — Don’t allow your lower body to pass above your upper body (hyperextending your lower back). Turn your toes outward for slightly more glute emphasis.
 



Exercise-ball bridge

* Lie faceup on the floor with your calves on top of a large exercise ball.
* Place your arms out to your sides on the floor.

* Raise your hips by contracting your glutes until your body forms a straight line.
* Hold this position briefly, then slowly lower yourself back to the starting position.
training tip — Place the ball in a corner for more stability at first.
 



Walking lunge

* Standing with your hands on your hips, begin by taking a long step forward with one leg and lift up onto the ball of your back foot.

* Keeping your chest high and shoulders back, drop your hips straight down and lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Don’t let your forward knee move over your toes.
* Press your body up with your front leg and bring your trailing foot forward, continuing by taking another large step forward with that leg.
 


* Keep the movement smooth and continuous. 
training tip — Avoid touching your trailing kneecap to the floor. Hold a pair of 5–10-pound dumbbells to increase intensity. 
 



Squat

* Position the bar high on your back so that it rests across your traps and shoulders, and stand erect with your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider.
* Inhale and begin descending slowly as if you’re about to sit in a chair, keeping your head up.
* Be sure to keep your chest high and shoulders back throughout the movement. Don’t allow your back to round forward.

* As you approach a 90-degree angle at your knees, focus on contracting your glutes and begin pushing upward, pressing your hips forward, to a full standing position as you exhale.
* Keep your weight over your heels and don’t let your knees pass the front of your toes in the bottom position. 
training tip — For more glute involvement, try the Smith-machine variation with your feet out in front. From the starting position, take a small step forward so that your feet are about 6–12 inches in front of your shoulders. Lean back slightly on the bar and perform the exercise from this position.