Ass or Abs? Where to Focus Your Training to Maximize Fat Burn

February 5, 2020

02 / 05 / 2020


  • A toned and sculpted butt is a major indicator of fitness and commitment to a healthy lifestyle, often more impactful than abs.
  • Training your glutes goes beyond aesthetics; it enhances posture, boosts athletic performance, prevents injuries, and more.
  • Effective glute exercises include glute bridges, squats, deadlifts, and kettlebell swings.
  • Focusing on glute training can significantly enhance your body’s metabolism, leading to a leaner, more powerful physique.

You might raise an eyebrow at the mention of the word ‘ass’—but let’s face it, it’s a subject that needs addressing. How’s your butt doing? Is it a source of pride, or something you’d rather not think about?

Whether it’s a work of art or a work-in-progress, your butt tells a story about your fitness journey. I’m Tosca Reno, founder of The Eat Clean Diet, and I’ve been there—from shapeless to sculpted. Let me show you why focusing on your glutes can be a game-changer for your fitness regimen, and how you can unlock the transformative power of a well-trained butt.

Smiling woman working out glutes on mat with resistance band

Toned Glutes: The Ultimate Fitness Indicator for Women

In the realm of fitness, nothing speaks louder than a toned, sculpted butt. It’s the ultimate testament to your dedication to fitness and nutrition. Sure, abs are great—and they come in quicker—but glutes? They’re the real deal.

Achieving those perfectly defined glutes is no walk in the park. It’s a journey of consistent effort and precise training. While abs may show up after rigorous exercise and cardio, sculpting your butt is an entirely different ball game. It’s about commitment and targeted workouts. So, if you’re ready to take your fitness to the next level, let’s put the spotlight on those glutes!

The Benefits of Strong Glutes

Training your glutes isn’t just about aesthetics—it’s a crucial part of maintaining a lean, strong body. Here’s what paying extra attention to your glutes can do for you:

  • Posture Perfection: Strong glutes are the foundation of a poised stance, especially if you’re glued to a chair most of the day.
  • Athletic Supercharge: Whether you’re sprinting, leaping, or cycling, powerhouse glutes take your athletic game to a whole new level.
  • Injury Shield: By fortifying your glutes, you’re also safeguarding your knees, back, and hamstrings from injuries.
  • Back Pain Begone: Suffering from back woes? Strong glutes support your lower back like a trusty friend, offering relief and protection.
  • Balance Like a Pro: Whether you’re navigating a tricky trail or just reaching for the top shelf, strong glutes keep you steady and sure-footed.
  • Metabolic Boost: Want to turn up your body’s fat-burning furnace? Sculpt those glutes! They’re calorie-torching machines, helping you manage weight and stay lean.
  • Curve Crafting: Let’s be real—a shapely butt is a head-turner.
  • Easy Movement: From climbing stairs to dancing, strong glutes power your every step with grace, stability, and strength.
  • Lifting Power: Whether it’s groceries or barbells, robust glutes are essential for lifting safely and effectively, keeping your spine happy and healthy.
  • Core’s Best Friend: Your glutes and core are a dynamic duo. Together, they stabilize your body, making every twist, turn, and bend smooth and secure.

See Also: Boost Your Butt, Boost Your Mood

My Personal Journey: From Pancake to Peach

I’ve had my fair share of battles with my own butt. Believe it or not, there was a time when my behind was more pancake than peach. Being obese, I carried most of my weight around my middle, leaving my butt disappointingly flat.

But my foray into the world of bodybuilding opened my eyes to an astonishing truth—I could build my butt. It wasn’t just about losing weight; it was about creating shape and definition. I remember stepping into the gym for the first time, feeling overwhelmed yet inspired by the sight of women with stunning, well-shaped butts. This was the moment I realized the power of proper training—the beginning of my journey from a nondescript behind to a butt that turned heads.

See Also: The Beginner’s Exercise Guide

Training Your Glutes to Achieve a Lean Physique

Through my experience, I’ve seen the incredible impact that targeted glute training can have. It’s not just about building muscle; it’s about stimulating your metabolism in a way that reshapes your entire body.

So, if you’re aiming for that coveted lean look, let’s put those glutes to work and pave the way to a physique that’s as healthy as it is stunning. Here’s a guide to the glute exercises I swear by.

Woman doing glute bridge exercise to wake up muscles

Glute Activation: Waking Up Your Muscles

Before diving into these workouts, it’s crucial to wake up your glutes, especially if they’ve been taking it easy for a while. Glute activation exercises are your first step towards a sculpted butt.

Glute Bridges

  • Lie on your back with your feet flat on the ground, placed on a step, bench, or ball. Your knees should be bent and your arms resting by your sides.
  • Tighten your glutes and lift your hips towards the ceiling. Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to knees.
  • Hold the position for a few seconds, then slowly lower your hips back to the starting position. Perform 10-15 repetitions for 3 sets.
  • For added intensity, lift one leg off the ground (single-leg bridge) or place a weight on your abdomen.

Bodyweight Lunges

  • Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. The front knee should be directly above your ankle, and the other knee shouldn’t touch the floor.
  • Push back to the starting position and repeat with the other leg. Perform 10-15 repetitions on each leg for 3 sets.


  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out.
  • Lower your body as if you are sitting back into a chair, keeping your chest up and knees behind your toes. Go down until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  • Push through your heels to return to the starting position. Perform 10-15 repetitions for 3 sets.

Donkey Kicks

  • Get on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
  • Keeping your knee bent, lift one leg up towards the ceiling, pressing your foot up as if you’re trying to push the ceiling away. Keep your back flat and core engaged.
  • Slowly lower the leg to the starting position. Perform 20 repetitions on each leg for 3 sets.
Woman doing kettlebell swings to work glutes

Classic Lift Exercises

Multi-joint exercises like deadlifts, squats, and lunges recruit the largest number of muscle fibers all at once, requiring them to do a greater amount of work and also placing a high level of metabolic stress on these fibers.  Translation: higher fat-burning activity.

Deadlifts (Sumo Variation)

  • Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointing slightly outwards. Bend at the hips and knees to grip the barbell with both hands.
  • Keeping your back straight, lift the barbell by straightening your hips and knees. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement.
  • Lower the barbell back to the ground in a controlled motion. Perform 8-10 repetitions for 3 sets.


  • Stand upright with your feet together.
  • Take a big step forward with one leg and lower your body until both knees form 90-degree angles. The front knee should be above your ankle, not pushed out too far.
  • Push through your heel to return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side. Perform 10-12 repetitions on each leg for 3 sets.

Kettlebell Swings

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a kettlebell with both hands in front of you.
  • Hinge at your hips, slightly bending your knees, and swing the kettlebell between your legs. Then, thrust your hips forward to swing the kettlebell up to shoulder height.
  • Let the kettlebell swing back between your legs and repeat. Perform 15-20 swings for 3 sets.

Want more? Join my Live Kettlebell Workout here.

Woman doing step up exercises for glutes in park

Single Leg Movements

Single-Leg Deadlifts

  • Stand on one leg with a slight bend in the knee.
  • Lean forward, extending your free leg behind you for balance. Lower your torso until it’s parallel to the ground, then return to the starting position.
  • Perform 8-10 repetitions on each leg for 3 sets.


  • Stand in front of a bench or step.
  • Place one foot on the step and push through your heel to lift your body up. Bring the other leg up to meet the first.
  • Step back down and repeat, alternating legs. Perform 10-12 repetitions on each leg for 3 sets.

Advanced Glute Building Techniques

Glute/Hamstring Raises

  • Kneel on the ground with your feet anchored under a heavy object or bar.
  • Lower your torso towards the ground, keeping your body straight, then use your hamstrings and glutes to pull yourself back up.
  • Perform 8-10 repetitions for 3 sets.
Woman performing barbell glute bridge to build muscle

Barbell Glute Bridges

  • Lie on your back against a bench with a barbell placed over your hips. Bend your knees with your feet flat on the ground.
  • Lift your hips towards the ceiling, squeezing your glutes. Keep your shoulders and head on the ground.
  • Lower back down and repeat. Perform 10-15 repetitions for 3 sets.

Good Mornings

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, a barbell resting on your shoulders.
  • Hinge at your hips, leaning forward while keeping your back straight, then return to the starting position.
  • Perform 8-10 repetitions for 3 sets.

Reverse Hyperextensions

  • Lie face down on a bench, torso on the bench and legs extended, hands holding the bench for support.
  • Lift your legs up and back, squeezing your glutes at the top.
  • Lower your legs and repeat. Perform 10-12 repetitions for 3 sets.

Building a Better Body Starts with Building a Better Butt

When it comes to reshaping your body, the butt takes center stage. While abs are often highlighted in fitness circles, it’s the glutes that truly hold the power to transform your physique. Training your glutes doesn’t just build muscle; it enhances your entire metabolic process, leading to a leaner, stronger body.

When you build your next workout routine, remember: it’s all about the butt. Prioritize those glutes, and you’ll be on your way to not just a better-looking behind but a healthier, more powerful body. Try my Booty Burner butt-shaping program to learn more of my secrets to harnessing your body’s full fat-burning potential—together, we’ll get your butt in gear for good.

Tosca Reno

Author, columnist, motivational speaker, reality TV star, radio personality, consultant, mother and wife, Tosca Reno has been inspiring millions with the Eat Clean™️ Diet series and sharing the success she's had with weight loss and Clean Eating.


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