One of the best low-impact ways to fire up your glutes for a tight, toned booty is barre, which not only targets your butt muscles with smaller movements so you really feel the burn but also improves balance, range of motion, posture, strength and endurance without straining your joints.
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"Because barre focuses on small, isometric movements, we're able to target and fatigue small deep muscle groups more intensely," says barre instructor Briana Milton.
And incorporating compound movements that target multiple muscle groups at once allows you to target all muscles in and around your seat, rather than just doing one at a time through isolation work. That makes each move — and the workout in general — more efficient, too.
Try this barre workout designed by Milton, which hits your gluteus medius, maximus, minimus, hamstrings and adductors (inner thigh muscles) for a major booty burn. And the best part? It's just 20 minutes long and can be done anywhere.
Check out more of our 20-minute workouts here — we’ve got something for everyone.
To loosen up your muscles, try a few glute activation exercises — like glute bridges or single-leg toe touches — and cardio drills — like jumping jacks or air squats — to get your muscles prepped for the workout.
Move 1: Tabletop
- Get down on all fours with your knees under your hips and hands under shoulders.
- Squeeze your glutes and draw your navel to your spine to engage your abdominals.
- Lift your left leg up to hip height. This is the starting position.
- Flex your foot and draw your heel in toward your butt, creating a 90-degree angle with your left leg.
- Extend your left leg long and back to the starting position.
- Repeat for 3 minutes on each leg.
This move works to strengthen the hamstrings and gluteus maximus and medius — "perfect for keeping the core engaged while firing up the glutes," Milton says.
Keep your chest and back engaged to avoid over-arching or hunching your shoulders. And if you need a modification, come down to forearms to relieve tension in the lower back (shown above).
Move 2: Single-Leg Deadlift
- Stand and lift your left leg onto a chair so the toes connect to the seat of the chair.
- Keep your front (right) knee stacked over your ankle to protect the knees.
- Hinge at your hips and reach your fingertips to the ground, squeezing your glutes as you lower from the hips.
- As you lower, keep your back flat with your chin off your chest in a neutral spine.
- Draw the navel in, engaging abdominals and lift back up.
- Do for 2 minutes on each leg.
The deadlift on one leg strengthens the hamstrings, gluteus maximus and medius, lower and upper back, and it builds stability and balance.
"This is a fantastic move to help with stability," Milton says. "The focus is really on keeping your body in control and grounded, gaining ultimate hip strength and mobility as well," she says.
Need a modification? Keep both feet on the ground.
Move 3: Standing Leg Extension in Turnout
- Stand with a chair at your side, left hip in toward the chair, feet open to first position — heels together and toes apart.
- Soften the left knee (leg closest to chair).
- Extend the right leg out and around, ending with the leg slightly behind hip.
- Lift your right foot off the ground by squeezing and engaging glutes, while keeping your hips square to the front.
- Lift your right leg up and down an inch for 90 seconds, then trace a dime size circle with the big toe for 90 seconds.
- Repeat on the other leg.
Move 4: Open Tabletop Leg Extension
- Come down to the ground, lowering to your right forearm and placing the left palm on the ground in front of the chest for support.
- Turning your hips out and open to the left, extend the left leg long.
- Squeeze the glutes and engage the core as you lift the left leg to hip height.
- Keeping your hips externally rotated, squeeze the outer glutes and lift the leg in a pulsing motion up and down an inch for 90 seconds.
- Now lift and lower the leg all the way, tapping your toes on the ground lightly, for 90 seconds.
- Repeat on the opposite leg.
Move 5: Glute Bridges
- Lie on your back with knees bent and pointing up and arms at your side.
- Bringing your heels toward your but, dig your heels into the ground so you're able to lift your toes off the ground.
- Draw your navel to spine and tuck your hips as you lift your butt and back off the floor, coming onto your shoulder blades.
- Gaze up toward the ceiling.
- Lift and extend one leg up, keeping your butt off the ground.
- Pulse hips up and down an inch, squeezing the glutes.
- Do this for 2 minutes on each side.
The glute bridge is great for working your booty. "It strengthens gluteus maximus, hamstrings, lower back and core, and it's great because it puts almost no pressure on the lower back and targets glutes without pain and/or discomfort," Milton says.
To modify, cross the extended leg over the working side in figure four shape or keep both feet on the floor.
Move 6: Downward Dog Leg Extension
- Starting in high plank with palms directly under shoulders, walk your feet in toward your hands, lifting your hips into Downward-Facing Dog. Squeeze your glutes and engage your core.
- Lift one leg up toward the ceiling, keeping the leg straight, and avoid bending in the knee.
- Then draw knee into chest as you inhale and transfer your weight into a high plank.
- As you exhale, squeeze glutes and extend the leg back out and up toward the ceiling.
- Do this for 2 minutes on each leg.
"Not only does this move fire up and work the glutes and core, it also serves as a relieving stretch for the shoulders, wrists, hamstrings and calves," Milton says.
If you need a modification, come down to tabletop on your hands and knees.
Move 7: Standing Donkey Kick With Chair
- Stand with a chair at your side, toes facing forward and shoulders squared to the front. Your standing (outside) leg should be directly underneath the hip.
- Squeeze gluteus minimus (the outer glute), lift your leg and balance on the base of the chair.
- With a soft bend in the standing leg, shift your weight slightly back toward the heel, engaging the quadriceps on the standing leg.
- Lift and lower the leg off of the base of the chair.
- Repeat this movement for 90 seconds.
- Hold your leg at its highest point and pulse toward the ceiling (up and down an inch).
- Repeat this movement for 90 seconds.
- Repeat the movement on the opposite leg.
"This move is perfect for stability practice and balance," Milton says. To modify, come down to tabletop on the knees and lift and lower your foot to the floor.
Spend a few minute doing a couple of stretches to relax your muscles and encourage adequate recovery. These will help you keep your hips open and get a nice stretch in to repair those tired, well-worked muscles.
Move 1: Figure 4 Stretch
- Sit with both knees bent and feet close to your butt.
- Cross your left foot over your right knee.
- Lean forward to feel the stretch in your left glute.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
Move 2: Seated Spinal Stretch
- Sit with your legs extended out in front of you.
- Bend your right knee up toward the ceiling and cross your right foot over so that it rests outside your left knee.
- Cross your left arm over and use it as leverage to twist to the right. Your left forearm should press into your right thigh.
- Hold for 30 seconds before untwisting and repeating on the other side.
Move 3: Knees to Chest
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat.
- Grab both knees and pull them into your chest.
- Hold them there for for 30 seconds.
Move 4: Happy Baby
- Lie on your back and bend your knees up toward your armpits.
- Grab your feet with your hands and pull your knees closer to your armpits, keeping your shins perpendicular to the floor.
- Hold for 30 seconds.