Get A Killer Butt With These Simple Moves You Can Do From Your Desk

Squats, deadlifts, hip thrusts, and other glute exercises do more than just tone your buttocks and thighs. These compound movements can also improve your posture, boost physical performance, and build core strength, among other benefits. But, most importantly, they may help prevent hip, knee, or low back pain and other issues associated with weak glutes.

"When your glutes are weak, they can cause decreased mobility in the hips, and the body then overcompensates for that lack of function and mobility in those two areas, which then leads to improper use of the rest of the muscles and functions in the body," explained orthopedic surgeon Saadiq El-Amin in an interview with Men's Health. Your posture may suffer, too, which can lead to an abnormal gait and back problems over time.

But while there are plenty of exercises for a rounder, firmer backside, you may not have time to hit the gym as often as you'd like. One option is to work at home or in your office. For example, the Bulgarian squat is a real booty blaster that engages your glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, and other muscle groups. Plus, it requires no equipment and can be adapted to any fitness level. Other exercises don't even require leaving your desk, so they're perfect for when you have a full plate. With that in mind, here are some simple moves you can do to shape your bum while at work. 

Start with glute kickbacks

This simple exercise activates and isolates the glutes, giving them a round, perky shape. It's normally performed on an exercise mat or from a standing position, depending on how much space you have available. The advantage is that you'll train one leg at a time, which allows you to better isolate the muscles worked. Moreover, unilateral training can facilitate injury rehab and help prevent muscle imbalances, per a Colorado State University blog post.

To get started, stand upright behind an office chair. Place your hands on it for support and brace your core. Next, take a deep breath, squeeze your glutes, and bring your right leg back. Lift your heel as high as you can without bending the leg. Keep your back straight and maintain a slight bend in your left knee. Hold the contraction for two or three seconds, bring your leg back down, and repeat with the same leg or the opposite leg. Complete three to four sets of 10 to 15 repetitions on each side.

The standing glute kickback may seem easy, but if you do it right, you'll really feel the burn. As you progress, wrap an elastic band around your thighs or ankles for added resistance. You can also do this exercise with a cable machine, which is a lot more challenging.

Squeeze your glutes while sitting on a chair

A simple yet effective way to work your glutes is to perform isometric contractions. Basically, you'll squeeze your buttocks and hold the contraction for a few seconds before moving on to the next rep. This isometric exercise can boost muscle size, strength, power, and endurance in as little as eight weeks, reports a 2019 study published in PeerJ. As the researchers note, gluteal squeezes and bilateral bridges are equally effective at increasing hip extension strength.

The best part is, you can do this exercise anytime, anywhere. If you're a novice, maintain the contraction for three seconds or so. Repeat 12 to 15 times, increasing the time under tension as you get stronger. With some practice, you'll soon be able to hold the clench for 20 to 30 seconds or longer. Use the same approach to work your calves, quads, or core muscles. For example, you can repeatedly contract and relax your abs while sitting at your desk or watching TV. 

Build stronger glutes with the seated clamshell

The clamshell targets the gluteus medius, but it may also relieve back pain and tight hips. At the same time, it stabilizes the pelvic muscles and tones your thighs. Plus, it's extremely versatile and can be performed in different ways. For example, you can do it while sitting on a chair. First, position your feet hip-width apart and wrap a resistance band around your thighs. Squeeze your glutes while pushing your knees outward to stretch the band. Maintain the contraction for a second or two, relax, and repeat.

Alternatively, wrap the band below your knees to make the exercise more challenging. Keep your back straight and your hips in place. Use your glutes to control the movement. You can also perform this exercise on the floor as part of your at-home workouts. Another option is the reverse clamshell, which requires squeezing a softball between your thighs. This clamshell variation will engage your hip adductors, or inner thighs, too.

Get a rounder butt with the Bulgarian split squat

The Bulgarian split squat might be one of the best exercises you can do at work using nothing but a chair. This compound movement hits your quads, glutes, abductors, hamstrings, and calves while building core strength. It also challenges your balance, forcing your muscles to work harder. Although it's a bit tough on the knees, you can skip the weights to avoid pain and injuries.

To perform this exercise, place a chair about two feet behind you. Bring your right foot onto the chair and brace your core. Lower yourself down, bending your left knee at a 90-degree angle. Maintain a neutral spine and look straight ahead. Hold the contraction for a second or two, stand up, and repeat. Complete three to four sets of eight to 12 reps, and then switch legs.

As a rule of thumb, use your front leg to control the movement and your back leg for support. Avoid leaning forward or wiggling your hips. For an extra challenge, wrap an elastic band above your knees or lower yourself down as slowly as possible. If you prefer to work out at home, place your back foot on a stability ball or hold a dumbbell in each hand. You can also hold an exercise ball in front of your chest or use a barbell for increased resistance. 

Shape your butt and hamstrings with the donkey kick

Some leg exercises can make a difference in under a month when used as part of a well-rounded workout. One example is the donkey kick, or quadruped hip extension. This movement is usually performed on the floor, but you can also do it from a standing position. If executed correctly, it will strengthen your hamstrings, glutes, and core muscles while improving your posture.

First, stand in front of a desk or office chair. Place your hands on it for support. Squeeze your glutes and lift your right leg behind you, with the knee bent at 90 degrees. Extend the leg as you get closer to the top of the movement. Maintain this position for a couple of seconds, and then slowly lower your leg. Complete up to four sets of 12 to 15 reps on each side.

If you're up for a challenge, wrap an elastic band around your mid-thighs and perform the movement as described above. Another option is to place an exercise ball between your hamstring and calf, and then lift the leg behind you without dropping the ball. This donkey kick variation will make your glutes work harder and can improve your balance over time.