Knee-Friendly Ways To Strengthen Your Glutes

I’m in my mid-forties, and so are my knees. And lately, I have really started to notice all of that information.

I have been physically active, and a runner no less, for the better part of my life. So, I know I am lucky to have healthy knees. I am 100% sure that my longstanding yoga practice has a lot to do with the fact that my knees are still in pretty good condition, but, they’re definitely in their mid-forties. And being that I am exactly the same age, the years have bestowed upon me some wisdom. One important nugget that I will share with you now: if it feels wrong, it probably is. 

I can feel my knees sometimes. Sometimes they feel a little weak, sometimes achy. Every once in a while, one knee will lock up, or give out, just for a split second. Nothing perceptible to anyone else, but I know it. And I will not deny it. My knees have worked hard for me, my whole life. I love them and appreciate them. In recent months it has become crystal clear that I need to take care with my knees, from here on out. So that’s what we’re doing now.

I walk a lot more than I run these days, and Pilates and yoga are both absolutely part of my workout plan. Pilates gives me a strong core, and yoga brings the balance in so many different ways.

If you need to look out for your knees too, you’re in good company. But that doesn’t mean we need to make sacrifices where workouts are concerned. In fact, it behooves us to build the most balanced and strong body that we can, especially throughout the legs. So the trick is to find exercises that do things like build strong glutes and hamstrings, which support knee alignment, without killing your knees in the process of trying to save them.

Build A Bettah Booty 6 Different Ways

Here are 6 moves I put together to challenge your glutes but not your knees. Check out the video for a quick preview of what’s to come, and find more comprehensive instructions below.

Do each move as many times as it feels good, and remember: if it feels wrong, it probably is.

Booty Building Bridge

If you’re familiar with bridge pose in yoga, it’s the same move with a different intention behind it. 

  • Begin on your back, knees bent, feet on the floor, hip-width apart. Arms at your sides, palms down. 
  • Push the feet straight down into the ground and lift the hips while keeping the knees stable. (A block between the thighs can be a brilliant thing here, as can a strap around the thighs for a different kind of stability)
  • As you push up through the hips, create one long line through the body from knees to armpits, and at the top, squeeze your buns for a second or two before returning to start.

Frog Mouth Bridge

This is the exact same move as above, except the feet are together and knees wide.

  • The soles of the feet do not need to be perfectly together. Press the balls of the feet together and the pinky toe sides straight down, to thrust your hips upward.
  • Squeeze at the top here too, and you’ll feel that the work has moved to the outer edges of your buns with the change in rotation of the legs.

Whole-Body Booty-Building Bridge

Say that five times fast! This too is another move adapted from yoga. It’s a modified upward plank.

  • Come to sit with knees bent and feet on the floor. Lean back and place your hands on the floor behind you, fingers facing toward your seat.
  • Press the hands and feet into the ground and lift up through the hips.
  • Press your hip bones up toward the ceiling and also your heart too. Draw the shoulder blades together behind you to allow for more push up through the chest.

Namaste And Build My Booty

This one is all about building up the hamstrings to support stronger glutes.

  • Stand tall with feet slightly apart. Place the hands gently at the small of your back.
  • Lean the body forward like you are bowing to greet someone, keeping your gaze forward and back long, front core tight.
  • Move toward a 90-degree angle through the hips, looking for the hamstrings to engage, and when that happens, return to standing. 

Standing Kickback

Hamstrings and glutes work together alongside a strong core to maintain balance.

  • Stand with feet together and a slight bend to the knees. 
  • Take the weight into one leg and lean forward slightly. 
  • Send the other leg straight out behind you and use the back of the leg to lift. Remember to give the old glutes a squeeze at the top.

Single-Leg Deadlift

This multi-tasker combines all of the above into one big booty blaster.

  • Stand with feet together and take the weight over into one leg.
  • Like a teeter-totter, keep your body and the other leg in a long line as you send the body forward and the leg out back behind.
  • Look for the hamstrings to engage as they did in Namaste, and come up when you feel that grab. 


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