Instagram superstar Katie Austin shares her seven favorite moves to strengthen your glutes and abs ï¿½ and they donï¿½t even involve going to the gym.
If you've ever done a group fitness class, it's likely you've heard a few instructors and personal trainers shout, "Engage your glutes â€” squeeze that booty!" or "Engage your core and pull your belly in!" There's a darn good reason for it too. The muscles in your core (which, yes, include your glutes) are incorporated into almost every move you make.
So how exactly do you engage and strengthen these muscles? Fitness expert, model and Instagram superstar Katie Austin (find her on Instagram @KatieAustin) shares her seven favorite moves to strengthen your glutes and abs â€” and they don't even involve going to the gym. You can do these exercises anywhere and anytime, which means you have no excuses to skip your next workout.
1. Flutter Kick
"Flutter kicks are a great overall abdominal workout, and I love how they work the lower abs," says Austin. She recommends doing this move in 20-second sets because it's a more challenging abdominal exercise.
HOW TO DO IT: Lie on a mat with your arms by your sides, palms down and legs extended with a slight bend in the knees. Lift your heels off the floor and make small, rapid up-and-down movements with your legs (like scissors). Keep your bottom foot at least a few inches off the ground. The closer you keep your feet to the ground, the more you'll target your lower abs.
Read more: The 41 Hardest Ab Exercises
2. Bird Dog
"This exercise is a total-body movement," Austin says. "As you raise your back leg and really squeeze your butt, the muscles that keep you balanced are coming form your core, so it is also an ab workout."
HOW TO DO IT: Start on all fours with your knees under your hips and your hands beneath your shoulders. Extend your right leg behind you and extend your left arm in front of you. Slowly raise your arm and leg above parallel without arching your back. Squeeze your abs and glutes, and then slowly lower your arm and leg. Alternate sides, performing up to 10 reps per side.
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3. Single-Leg Hip Bridge
This exercise can be done with both feet on the floor for a traditional bridge or hip lift, but Austin says if you're looking for an added challenge, raising one leg at a time will work your glutes and strengthen your core even more.
HOW TO DO IT: Lie on a mat with your arms at your sides with palms facing down. Place your feet flat on the floor about a foot away from your butt. Raise your right foot up to the ceiling. Holding that foot up, squeeze your glutes and raise your hips. Hold this position for five to 10 seconds, and then lower back down and repeat. You can do all of the repetitions on one leg before switching or alternate legs for a total of 10 to 15 reps on each side.
4. Outer-Thigh Leg Lift
For this classic move, Austin says you really want to make sure you're actively engaging the leg you're lifting and not just swinging it up. Think about steadily and slowly lifting your leg. And as an added bonus, says Austin, this move also works your love handles (aka the oblique muscles and top of your glutes).
HOW TO DO IT: Lie on your left side with your legs extended and your feet flexed. Make sure your body is in a straight line and your hips are stacked one on top of the other. Support your upper body with your bottom elbow. Slowly raise your top leg toward the ceiling and pause at the top, squeezing your glutes. Slowly lower to the starting position and repeat. Try 10 to 15 reps on each leg.
Read more: The 20 Best Body-Weight Exercises
5. Abdominal V-In
"The V-in is a challenging abdominal exercise that really works the lower abs," says Austin. To make it a bit more difficult, Austin keeps her feet a little lower to the ground. She also recommends "cinching" or tightening your belly as much as you can. This contraction is what helps bring your knees to your lower abs.
HOW TO DO IT: Using a weight bench (or you can sit on the floor), sit with your butt close to the edge. Then, lean back like you're going to lie down, but stop yourself just before you do. Pull your knees into your chest and crunch forward. Extend back to the starting position and repeat. You can place your hands right behind you on the bench for extra balance and stability.
6. Rope Climber
A great way to vary the traditional crunch, rope climbers work your upper abs and obliques by twisting your torso to reach your opposite hand to opposite foot.
HOW TO DO IT: Lie on your back with your legs extended above you and your hands in the air like you're about to pull a rope. Begin the movement by touching the toes on your right foot with your left hand. Lower down and switch to the other side. Repeat for a total of 20 reps on each side.
Read more: The Best Exercises for Every Major Muscle
7. Plank With Leg Raise
Austin loves this move because it's a great one for working your legs, booty and abs at the same time. Make sure to really squeeze the glutes, especially at the top of the movement.
HOW TO DO IT: Start in a plank with your arms fully extended and your body in a straight line from head to toe. Engage your glutes and abs. Slowly lift one foot off the floor and toward the ceiling. Hold that position for a three seconds before returning to the starting position and changing legs. Alternate legs for the entire set of 10 to 15 per side.
What Do YOU Think?
What are some of your favorite exercises for your abs and booty? Did any of them make this list of Katie's favorite moves? Which ones were new to you? Do you think you'll add any of them into your current routine?