Hip thrusts, squats and deadlifts often steal the spotlight as the best glute-strengthening exercises. And while their elite status is totally justified, incline walking is another (highly underrated) booty-building tool that deserves a little more hype.
Any type of walking helps improve many aspects of your mental and physical health, boosting your mood, sleep quality and heart health. But adding incline to your daily steps really zeroes in on building your booty, turning your walk into a strength-plus-cardio workout, says Meg Takacs, Performix House trainer and creator of the #RunWithMeg app.
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Walking uphill targets your hamstrings, glutes and quads without lifting weights, Takacs says. It can also help with balance because you're walking in a different position. Plus, walking uphill engages your core, which allows you to stand up straight, as well as increases your lung capacity, which improves your endurance and cardiovascular health, she says.
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Try This 40-Minute Treadmill Walking Glute Workout
Switch on your favorite TV show (or fiery playlist), ramp up the incline and get to work with this 40-minute treadmill workout.
As your incline walk gets tougher, incorporate some deep breathing, inhaling for two strides and exhaling for two strides. You can also increase your step pace as you increase your speed, leaning into your steps.
Part 1: 10-Minute Warm-Up
- Begin walking at an incline of 3.0 and speed of 3.2 for 3 minutes.
- Increase your incline to 5.0 for 3 minutes.
- Increase treadmill incline to 8.0 for 3 minutes.
- Recover at an incline of 5.0 and speed of 2.5 mph for 1 minute.
Part 2: 15 Minutes of Speed Intervals
- Set your incline to 10.0 for the entire 15 minute interval.
- Begin walking one minute at 2.5 mph.
- Increase your speed to 3.0 mph for 2 minutes, followed by a 1-minute recovery at 2.5 mph.
- Increase speed to 3.2 mph for 2 minutes, followed by a 1-minute recovery at 2.5 mph.
- Bring the speed back up to 3.4 mph for the next 2 minutes, followed by 1 minute at 2.5 mph.
- Again, bring the speed up to 3.4 mph for 2 minutes, then recover for 1 minute at 2.5 mph.
- For the last speed interval, increase to 3.6 mph for 2 minutes, finish with 1 minute at 2.5 mph.
As the workout gets more difficult, avoid the temptation to hold onto the hand rails of the machine, says Takacs. This can take away from the calorie burn and benefits of the workout. Also, avoid crossing your arms over your chest. Instead, keep your elbows in and hands relaxed. Also, avoid the tendency to hunch over. Use your abs and back to keep your body erect!--Mara Glover
Read more: How to Tell if Your Walking Speed Counts as Cardio
Part 3: 10 Minutes of Increasing Incline
- Walk at an incline of 0, speed of 3.2 mph for 1 minute.
- Ramp up your incline to 8.0, speed at 3.5 for 5 minutes.
- Then, for 3 minutes, increase your incline to 12.0, speed at 3.2 mph.
- Recover for 1 minute at an incline of 0, speed of 3.0 mph.
Part 4: 5-Minute Cooldown
- For your cooldown, walk at an incline of 5.0 at 3.0 mph for 5 minutes. If your heart rate is still high or if your breathing is faster than usual, extend the cooldown.
Read more: Why Hip Thrusts Are Better for Your Butt Than Squats