If your exercise of choice is cardio, long strength training sessions on top of them can feel like a slog. But adding in just a 5-minute butt workout—which you can do right after your run or other kind of cardio—can add some serious strength training benefits to your routine.
When you’re doing cardio, you might think you’re challenging all your lower-body muscles, but to really hit your glutes, your workout needs a bit more targeting. Your glutes are actually made up of three different muscles—your gluteus maximus (the largest of the three muscles), gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus—and different movements fire up different areas, NASM-certified personal trainer Lauren Leavell, owner of Lauren Leavell Fitness in Philadelphia, tells SELF.
Your gluteus maximus fires with movements like hip hinging (like in the good morning exercise) while side-to-side moves (like lateral band walks) work your gluteus minimus and medius, Leavell says.
Building strength in all of these areas can not only boost your performance in your cardio, but also help prevent injury. Your glutes are part of your core system, Leavell says, and a stronger core can build lower back strength and fight low back pain.
What’s more, adding in this kind of specific glute work to your routine can help you better engage those muscles while you’re running, which can help train a safer gait, she says.
Another benefit of this 5-minute butt workout is its focus on single-leg work: Many people have imbalances in their glute muscles, and working each side separately can help you identify—and remedy—that.
If you notice more weakness on one side, or if you’re struggling more on one side than the other, make sure you slow down the moves on that side, says Leavell. “Think about your muscles and where you should be feeling these moves,” she says. “This can help you connect your mind to your glutes.”
Ready to get started? Here’s what you need for a 5-minute butt workout that will finish off your cardio strong—and if you have a little more time to devote to glute strength training, you can try the straight-set option listed at the end, too. (When you’re done, just make sure to fit in some post-workout stretching. The figure-four stretch is a good option, says Leavell.)
How to do it: Perform each of the first three moves for 30 seconds each. You’ll perform the fourth move, the clamshell, for 60 seconds total—30 seconds per side. Try not to rest between moves. Complete for two rounds total.
Lateral band walk
Demoing the moves are Jeanette Eng (GIF 1), a NASM certified personal trainer, Ironman finisher, and SAG actress; April Nicole Henry (GIF 2), a strength athlete based in New York City; Nikki Pebbles (GIF 3), a New York City–based fitness instructor and an AFAA- and NCCPT-certified personal trainer and group fitness trainer; and Salma Nakhlawi (GIF 4), the founder of StrongHer Girls and a strength coach.
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