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June 18, 2015

Right now it's all about that bass, and there's certainly nothing wrong with wanting to work out an oft-neglected muscle group that happens to make up, well, your butt. If you’re serious about getting great glutes, squats will make it happen — here’s how:

1. Work squats into your daily routine.

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Squats are perfect for toning your glutes and legs, plus they give us functional strength — meaning they improve our ability to carry out everyday activities like climbing stairs, running and biking. Find a way to work them into your schedule — squat while you brush your teeth, watch TV or cook dinner.

2. Add some weight.

You don’t need heavy weights to burn fat and strengthen muscles. Squatting with just your body weight will get results, but adding extra resistance makes every squat more valuable as you teach your body to work that little bit harder. You’ll increase the benefits both for your heart and muscles by adding light weights. Researchers at Penn State University have shown that you actually burn more calories when lifting lighter weights for more repetitions compared to lifting heavier weights for a few reps.

3. Squat to the beat.

Find a great piece of musicat around 120 beats per minute and squat in time. The speed of your movement is all part of the energy-expenditure equation that you need to get right.

4. Perfect your form.

Make sure you squat until the inside of your knee forms a right angle. Imagine you are sitting down onto a chair and as you touch the seat, push yourself back up again. As you come up, think of driving from your heels, rather than leaning forward to push from your toes. If you really want to target your glutes, start with your feet outside your hips and then pivot your heel and toe to take the squat wider. If you're feeling ambitious, try a few other squat variations as well.

5. Engage your abs.

Switch on your core every time you squat so your upper back is supported and your butt is forced to do the work. This will also create a great conditioning workout for your core and back!

6. Don’t push yourself — 20 is plenty.

Until you can handle dirty thirties! Choose a weight that enables you to uncomfortably complete three to four sets of 20 repetitions with a 30-second rest in between each set. When you've got that, challenge yourself to dirty 30s and do three to four sets of 30 repetitions. Why dirty? You're going to want to shower when you're done!

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Diana Mills
Diana Mills

As Creative Director for Les Mills International, Diana Archer Mills oversees the creations of some of the world’s most successful group fitness programs of all time including BODYCOMBAT, BODYJAM, BODYPUMP, BODYBALANCE and RPM. Every week more than 5 million people in 72 countries workout to programs designed by Les Mills. Diana is the daughter of company founders Phillip and Dr. Jackie Mills and after completing her graduate studies, she joined them in the mission to create a fitter, healthier planet. A working mom, with three boys under 5, Diana is passionate about great natural food and the importance of nutrition to living a truly healthy life.