FitRVers Faves: 4 Do-Anywhere Butt & Hip Exercises

This post may contain affiliate links.

Let’s face it. We sit too much. Way too much!

In fact, I bet you are sitting right now. It’s okay, I am too, so let’s be guilty together.

Have you ever heard of “Gluteal Amnesia”? It’s also referred to as “Dead Butt Syndrome” (which is much more fun to say, don’t you think?!). Whichever name you prefer, it’s a condition that happens when your glutes forget how to activate properly. They become weak and inhibited and they wreak havoc all throughout the musculoskeletal system.

Guess what brings it on?

Yup. Too much sitting.

This little ball of cuteness certainly doesn’t help matters any.

Since everything is connected, what’s bad for your butt is bad for your whole body. Your glutes impact your hip movement and pelvic stability & rotation, so bad glutes lead to bad hips.

Follow the dominoes, and if your glutes and hips aren’t pulling their weight, it can increase impact force all the way down the line to the knees and ankles, forcing them to pitch in beyond what they should be doing. And that right there is when injuries start popping up.

Good news though! Gluteal Amnesia is totally reversible!

You just have to work your butt off.  (…Ha! See what I did there!)


Here are 4 effective and efficient bodyweight exercises you can do that target your glutes. The video gives you a quick demonstration of each, so do make sure you watch before doing them. No Dead Butt Syndrome for you, no sirree!

The exercises make a great circuit workout or can be stand-alone, mixed in with the others things in your current workout plans.  The best part, these exercises are completely travel-friendly and you need no equipment! And with that, here are the 4 exercises:


4 Glute & Hip Exercises You Need In Your Life:


Exercise 1:  Plié Pulse with One Heel Up

This exercise does an excellent job of working your hidden (but still very necessary) ‘middle butt,’  the gluteus medius. Your gluteus medius is the one of your 3 glute muscles, and it stretches from the upper pelvis to the top of your femur bone, sandwiched between the maximus and minimus. It plays a key role in movements at your hip – especially abducting and rotating your hip. It’s also an important hip stabilizer… so helping you stand on one leg, as an example.

What’s a plié, you ask? It’s simply a bending of the knees done with your feet turned outwards. And no, it’s not a girls-only exercise; boys, you need this too. Your hips drive straight down instead of back as in a squat, so a plié engages muscles differently.



To perform this exercise:

  • Stand with your feet wide and turn your feet slightly out.
  • Lift your right heel to start, and keep your left foot flat on the ground.
  • Engage your inner thighs and your glutes by squeezing and tightening them as much as you can.
  • Tuck your tailbone under to avoid allowing your butt to stick out.
  • Lower your hips toward the ground while keeping your chest up and spine straight.
  • Continue slowly pulsing up and down.
  • Go for 15 seconds to start, and then repeat with other heel lifted. Work your way to doing these for 30 seconds per side, or whenever the “burn” sets in. Do 3 sets.
  • ADVANCED: Hold a weight braced against your chest (as you do in Goblet Squats).

Exercise 2:  Frog Bridge

The frog bridge is especially unique because it removes much of the quads and hamstrings from the exercise simply by touching the bottoms of your feet together and turning your hips out.  Out of all 4 of these exercises, the frog bridge isolates the glutes the most.



To perform this exercise:

  • Place the bottoms of your feet together with your knees turned out.
  • Place your arms firmly on the ground along the sides of your torso.
  • Slowly press the hips up into the air while powerfully squeezing the glutes together.
  • Add even more squeeze at the top and then slowly lower back down, continue to keep your glutes squeezed as you lower.
  • Repeat, focusing on keeping glutes engaged and giving an extra big squeeze at the top.
  • Do 12-15 reps slowly and with focus. Do 3 sets.
  • ADVANCED: Place a weight plate on your pelvis (keep hands on it to spot).

Exercise 3:  Dynamic Elbow Plank Clamshell

This exercise is another excellent way to hit the gluteus medius, and it gets assist from the minimus, too. The clamshell movement calls for externally rotating the hip, and combined with the plank you’ll be working both pelvic mobility and stability simultaneously, which is awesome. It’s also a great exercise for core stability AND we’re working some upper body too as we put our bodyweight on that elbow. Nice.



To perform this exercise:

  • Lie on your left side with your left forearm on the floor, and your elbow directly under your shoulder with your palm flat.
  • Stack your right leg on top of your left leg with bent knees.
  • Brace your core strongly and raise your hips to create a straight line from shoulder to knees, right hand on hip.
  • As you raise up, simultaneously rotate your right knee toward the ceiling, keeping your feet together (like a clamshell).
  • Lower your knee while simultaneously lowering hips back down to the mat.
  • That’s one rep. Do 10-12, and then repeat on the other side. Do 3 sets.
  • ADVANCED: Keep hips up and aligned in a half-plank the entire time. No hip-lowering phase.

Exercise 4: Straight Leg Side Tap into Toe-To-Sky

I’ll admit it, this is certainly a play on old-school Richard Simmons type moves, but hey. We’re still doing them because they’re so danged effective. You want to isolate and really target the glutes and hips without any equipment? These will do the trick! No leotards required.



To perform this exercise:

  • Get on all fours and keep core strongly engaged.
  • Straighten your right leg out to the side with toe pointed and touching the floor, keeping leg muscles tightened.
  • With control, use your right toes to guide the way as you lift the leg aiming your pointed toes to the sky.
  • It’s okay to have a slight bend in the knee since you’re shooting for aiming your toes at the sky directly above you.
  • With control, lower the leg back down and out to the side, keeping the toe pointed and the leg squeezed tightly the entire time.
  • That’s one rep. Do 10-20, and then repeat ont he other side. Do 3 sets.
  • ADVANCED: Add an ankle weight.

And so there you have it! Four glute-focused exercises to keep your glutes happy and healthy and amnesia-free. Comments and questions below are always welcomed!


xoxo, Trainer Stef

After 15 years as an educator in both the public K-12 setting and the University level in Special Physical Education, Stef made the leap to her true passion… the fitness world. She’s currently a personal trainer and wellness coach specializing in seniors, medical conditions, and injuries. Stef loves running, cycling, and being “Mugga” to her two favorite mini-humans — Punky and Marshmallow. ❤️

    6 thoughts on “FitRVers Faves: 4 Do-Anywhere Butt & Hip Exercises

      1. Stefany - Post author

        Hey there, absolutely! While gender doesn’t matter, whether these moves are ‘enough’ for you does come down to your current fitness levels… so if you’re a gym rat squatting 200lbs, then these aren’t going to cut it to kick in the training response (overloading muscles to break them down so they build stronger). But! For the general population, these moves will build your strength, range of motion, and your stability/mobility whether you’re male or female. Give them a try!

    1. Eileen Brown

      Thanks so much for this! I often have pain in my right glute and down my leg when we have long travel days (5 of those coming up this week, NH to Florida). This will help! (So will doing some ‘thread the needle’ stretches, I think. Also going to use the Passenger Seat Workout to stave off boredom. Thanks Stefany.

      1. Stefany - Post author

        Oh fantastic! Happy it was useful. And so glad you’re using the Passenger Seat Workout; it’s a great way to keep your circulation up on those long drives. Have a blast on your road trip and keep the workouts coming! xo

    2. (KoCo) Colette

      Hi Stef, just yesterday I noticed that I was a bit wobbly when I was walking, and I was wondering why. Today I see this article. Thank you so much! I intend to try this. Thank you!

      1. Stefany - Post author

        Oh I love hearing when my suggestions hit someone at just the right time! Glad you’re on it… rooting for you!


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Comment moderation is in use. Please do not submit your comment twice -- it will appear once we have had the chance to review it.