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Backpacking Fitness

Get Your Butt in Gear With This Glute-Focused Workout

Spending too much time in a seated position (hello, desk job) can tighten your hip flexors and lengthen your glutes, robbing them of their power. A weak butt is bad for your performance on the trail and even worse for your ankles, knees, and back. Do this ass-kicking workout from Pete McCall once a week, along with your cardio and strength routine, to train all three glute muscles.

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Warmup (3 sets) 

Banded glute bridges Photo: Peter Sucheski

1) 12 Banded Glute Bridges

With a 12-inch resistance band looped above your knees, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet planted. Lift your pelvis into a hip extension and squeeze your glutes. Hold for one second, then lower. 

2) 10 Staggered-Feet Banded Squats (per leg)

Keeping the resistance band in place, stand with your feet hip-width apart and staggered so your right toes line up with your left heel. Do 10 squats; switch your stance and repeat.

3) 10 Banded Reverse & Lateral Leg Lifts (per leg) 

Lower the band to above your ankles and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lift your right foot back until you feel resistance, then lift it to the right. Keep your legs straight and toes pointed; don’t allow your back to arch. Complete all reps on one leg before switching. 

Workout (3 sets) 

Dumbbell exercise
Dumbbell good mornings Photo: Peter Sucheski

4) 12 Dumbbell Good Mornings 

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a pair of dumbbells on your shoulders. With a flat back and slightly bent knees, hinge at the hips until you feel your hamstrings tighten. Contract the glutes to return to standing. 

5) 10 Dirty Dogs (per leg)

Starting on your hands and knees, lift your left knee up and to the left. Keeping your toes pointed, kick your leg so it’s perpendicular to your body. Bend your knee and return to the starting position. Complete all reps before switching sides. 

6) 12 Dumbbell Hip Thrusts

Sitting on the floor, rest your shoulder blades against a bench (or couch). Bend your knees, plant your feet, and hold a dumbbell over the crease of each hip. Drive through your heels and lift your hips into a full extension, squeezing your glutes at the top. Hold for one second before lowering. 

7) 10 Lateral Dumbbell Step-Ups (per leg) 

Stand to the left of a box with your arms at your sides and a dumbbell in each hand. Step up onto the box with your right foot, followed by your left. Step down with your left foot, then your right. Complete all reps, then switch sides. 

8) 10 Glute Bridge Walk-Outs 

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet planted. Lift your pelvis into a hip extension, squeezing your glutes. Holding the lift, step your right foot forward, then your left. Step your right foot back, then the left. This is one rep. 

Dumbbell hip thrusts Photo: Peter Sucheski

9) 12 Dumbbell Tempo Squat 

Holding a pair of dumbbells in a shoulder-racked position, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Push your butt back and count to three as you lower into a squat. At the bottom, pause for one second before driving through your heels to return to standing. 

10) 10 Skater Jumps (per leg) 

From standing, lift your right foot off the ground and jump off your left foot two to three feet to the right. As you land on your right foot with a slightly bent knee, cross your left leg behind your right (rest your toes on the ground or hover them above) and allow your left arm to swing in front of your torso. Immediately reverse the movement, jumping to the right. 

11) 12 Squat Jumps 

Lower into a squat. From the bottom, drive through your heels and leap as high as you can. Land softly and lower into the next squat. 

The Expert

Pete McCall, CSCS, is the host of the All About Fitness podcast.