This Efficient Workout Will Sculpt Your Abs and Glutes in Time for Summer
Boost your confidence and gear up for the beach with these abs and glutes exercises.
In the weeks leading up to summer, you’re likely focusing your workouts on body parts that haven’t seen the sun for a while—namely, your abs and glutes. Besides boosting your confidence at the beach, a solid abs and glutes workout will improve how you move in any activities you do once you hit the sand, from playing volleyball to digging sandcastles with your kids.
“Your glutes and abs are technically both part of your core,” says Jenna Moore, a certified strength and conditioning coach and Programming Specialist at Tonal. Because your abs and glutes are both proximal to your lumbar spine, strengthening these two muscle groups will improve your functional movement patterns, prevent back injuries, and support a strong posture, she explains.
Since your abs and glutes support each other in many movements, Moore says it makes sense to pair them together in one workout. “Supersetting these two muscle groups together can make for an efficient workout, especially if you’re strapped for time,” she says. By alternating between glutes and abs exercises, you can let one muscle group rest as the other works. Here’s her advice for structuring an effective abs and glutes workout, and how to fit it into your weekly routine.
Can You Work Abs and Glutes Every Day?
As much as you might want to dedicate all your training to these muscles, Moore stresses the importance of maintaining balance in your workouts. You can’t neglect the rest of your body, and you’ll want to make sure that your weekly routine also includes days focused on training the chest, back, and arms.
To decide how often you should do an abs and glutes workout, consider your current training schedule. “If you’re showing up seven days a week, you can probably do this [workout] at least twice a week and still have room for plenty of other workouts that are going to give you a full, total-body routine,” says Moore. On the other hand, if you’re only lifting two or three times per week, do this workout once and save your other days for other muscle groups.
What Exercises Work Your Glutes and Abs?
In putting together this abs and glutes workout, Moore selected a mix of moves that work these muscles in a variety of movement patterns. Try doing 2-3 sets of 6-10 reps of the following exercises.
Barbell Hip Thrust
Why it Works: Moore says the barbell hip thrust is one of her favorite exercises for both hypertrophy and strength. This move is excellent for isolating the glutes, forcing you to activate all parts of the muscle group.
How to Do it: Place your shoulders and upper back on the bench as you position the bar on your hips. Bring your ankles under your knees hip-width apart with hips just above the floor. Press the floor away from you, squeezing the glutes to lift the hips toward the ceiling. Lower your hips back down toward the floor, bringing your torso with you.
Pillar Bridge With Row
Why it Works: This challenging move targets the transversus abdominis, the deepest of the core muscles. Because these are slow-twitch muscles, Moore says they’re very resistant to fatigue and can be trained for long durations. Go lighter with the weights on this exercise for a higher number of reps, and use it as active recovery between glute work.
How to Do it: Get into a pillar bridge a few feet away from the Tonal arm with both elbows on the mat under the shoulders and feet hip distance apart, toes tucked. Grab the handle with one arm and pull toward your shoulder aiming the elbow toward the ceiling, rotating your palm to face your body. Slowly control the weight back to starting position and repeat on the same side.
Why it Works: “Any variation of squats is phenomenal for glute strength,” says Moore. The classic goblet squat is a great option but feel free to substitute a barbell front squat or even a bodyweight squat depending on your preferences.
How to Do it: Hold the handle strap with your thumbs wrapped around the top and position it in front of your chest. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and toes slightly turned out. Reach your hips down and back like you’re sitting into a chair behind you. Push the floor away from you and stand tall powering the hips toward Tonal and repeat.
Why it Works: The pullover crunch strengthens the rectus abdominis, the top layer of your core. Moore explains that these muscles contain more fast-twitch fibers than the transversus abdominis, so you can add additional resistance. For more core activation and less work in the back and shoulders, Moore recommends performing this move with Tonal’s arms straight out, instead of rotated out one click. (Both arm positions will be highlighted in Tonal’s on-screen guidance–select the narrower one.)
How to Do it: Take a handle in each hand and lie face up on the mat with your head a few feet from Tonal’s arms. Start with arms extended overhead and legs extended on the floor. Tuck your knees as you bring the handles toward your chest while bringing the arms straight toward the knees and slightly rounding the back. Extend your arms and legs toward the floor and repeat.
Bulgarian Split Squat
Why it Works: A unilateral (single-sided) squat variation, the Bulgarian split squat tests your balance as it gets your glutes firing.
How to Do it: Place one foot between Tonal’s arms and reach your opposite leg back, placing the top of the foot on the bench. Hold the handles and stand tall. Keeping your front heel down like it’s glued to the floor, bend both knees to drop your hips down until your front thigh is parallel with the floor. Press the floor away from you to stand and repeat on the same side.
Resisted Dead Bug
Why it Works: The resisted dead bug is another one of Moore’s top moves for getting deep into the abdominals. Use the same Tonal arm position as in the pullover crunch to keep this movement focused on our core.
How to Do it: Lie face up on your mat with your head a few feet away from Tonal’s arms. Take the handles and extend your arms up over your chest with knees bent over your hips in a tabletop position. Pretend there is a gummy bear under your lower back that you want to touch but not smash as you extend one arm and the opposite leg toward the floor. Once your limbs are just above the floor, return to start without letting your back lift off the gummy bear and switch sides.
Resisted Lateral Lunge
Why it Works: The side-to-side motion of the resisted lateral lunge hits the gluteus medius, the muscle on the outside of the hip. “We tend to overtrain the gluteus maximus [the largest muscle of the glutes] and undertrain the gluteus medius,” says Moore. While the gluteus maximus is important for sprinting and other explosive movements, she explains that the gluteus medius is essential for hip stability.
How to Do it: Take the handle in one hand and take a few large steps away from Tonal. Stand sideways so the handle is on the far side of your body with the cable crossing in front of you. Take a wide step toward Tonal and sit back into your inside leg like you’re sitting into a chair while keeping the other leg straight. Press the floor away from you with the inside leg and return to standing. Repeat on the same side.
Why it Works: This rotational movement targets the obliques while improving coordination and power transfer between the upper and lower body. For an added challenge, Moore suggests activating Chains mode.
How to Do it: With your inside leg, press the floor away from you and rotate the pelvis to shift your body into the outside leg. Rotate at the torso and bring the rope across your body and down toward your inside hip like you’re buckling a seatbelt. Bring the rope back to start, sit into the inside hip and repeat.
Abs and Glutes Workouts on Tonal
For an abs and glutes workout led by an expert coach, try one of these sessions on Tonal. The first three workouts are all under 15 minutes, so you can easily squeeze them into a busy day.
Quick Fit: Fast and Focused – Coach Tim Landicho
Improve your core stability and posterior chain strength in this quick and effective workout. A descending rep scheme means the intensity builds with each set so you’ll finish feeling pumped and powerful.
Quick Fit: Everyday Core – Coach Joe Rodonis
This short workout is all about building functional core strength by hitting your abs from different angles, with movements that mirror the ones you do in daily life.
Quick Fit: Glutes and Abs – Coach Brendon Ayanbadejo
Develop balance and stability as you work your glutes and abs in this advanced-level workout featuring all unilateral moves. Unilateral exercises target and correct imbalances between your two sides, making your body stronger and more resilient.
Strength with Tanysha – Coach Tanysha Renee
In this fast-paced abs and glutes workout, you’ll burn fat and boost muscular endurance by working at a high-rep scheme with short rest periods. You’ll challenge your glutes with deadlifts and lunges, work your core in crunches and rotational lifts, and fire up your metabolism with a plyometric burst.