We're big proponents of getting the absolute most out of every workout. If there's an extra bit of burn or a muscle that can be working a little harder, we want to find it and bring it in on the fun. We already know that walking is a good beginner cardio workout that can be great for burning fat and dropping pounds, but can it also be a good exercise for working your glutes?
Well, not exactly, said exercise physiologist and Bowflex fitness adviser Tom Holland, MS, CSCS. The muscles involved in walking are primarily your quads and the ones around your shins and calves, he explained. "While walking is a great form of exercise to burn calories and strengthen your heart, it does not overload the glute muscles enough to cause hypertrophy," aka muscle growth, Tom told POPSUGAR.
And yes, that applies to the go-to strategy of squeezing your glutes on every step. That might help to strengthen your glutes (never a bad thing!), but it doesn't provide enough stimulus "to add size or significantly change the shape," Tom explained. (Doing weighted or jumping glute exercises is a great way to accomplish that.)
Still, if walking is your go-to workout and you want to add some glute work while you're at it, a good strategy is to incorporate a few bodyweight strength moves, such as walking lunges or squats. That can "target and tone your glute muscles," Tom explained. He suggested trying the following 30-minute walk and bodyweight glute circuit.
30-Minute Walking and Bodyweight Glute Workout
- Walk for 10 minutes.
- Do 20 forward lunges followed by 15 squats.
- Repeat the 10-minute walk and the lunge and squat sets for a total of three circuits.
If you really want to mix cardio and glute work, Tom said running is a great choice. Research shows that although your glutes don't get much work when walking on level ground or even uphill, upping your cadence to a run causes a spike in activity. Try this inclined treadmill workout or this outdoor hill running workout to feel it for yourself.