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Sculpt Your Abs & Glutes With These Low-Impact Exercises

Tone your butt and tighten your tummy with these trainer-recommended movements.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

Name the muscle groups people want to rock most at the beach, and we bet abs and glutes top the list. But, unfortunately, your glutes and abs also rank among the most difficult body parts to sculpt and grow. That's because the thighs, butt, and tummy accumulate more fat than other areas, according to the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC). However, whether you want to develop six-pack abs or a round butt, adding the following exercises for your abs and glutes to your routine can help you achieve your fitness goals.

The best part about these exercises is that they're low-impact, meaning they'll boost your cardiorespiratory fitness, decrease your risk of injury, enhance your balance and mobility, and present a mild impact on your joints, WebMD explains. Other forms of low-impact exercise include light walking, swimming, yoga, bicycling, and tai-chi. These workouts are much easier on your joints than high-intensity physical activities like running, jumping, and heavy weightlifting.

Fortunately, we asked Kate Meier, CPT, a certified personal trainer with Garage Gym Reviews, to share her best low-impact exercises for your abs and glutes in time for beach season. "Strong abdominal muscles and glutes are key to overall strength and injury prevention. The following four exercises are low-impact ways to build them effectively," says Meier.

Keep reading to learn more. And when you're done, check out Simple Yet Effective Exercises for Instant Abs That Trainers Love.

1. Plank with Leg Raise

plank with leg raise

First up is the plank with leg raise, an ultra-effective low-impact exercise for simultaneously working your abdominal muscles and glutes.

To begin, assume a plank position on your forearms, ensuring your elbows and shoulders are stacked, and your feet are straight behind you. Engage your core by imagining you're bringing your navel toward your spine. Raise one leg in a pulsing motion while keeping your hips low and aligned with your shoulders. Experiment with the angle of your leg raises until you feel it in the glute on the side of the leg you're raising. Aim to hold the plank for one minute, and alternate legs after 30 seconds.

2. Toe Touches

illustration of woman doing toe touches exercise

Toe touches are another fantastic core exercise that's easy on the joints.

To begin, lie on your back with your legs straight out in front of you and your arms pointed straight up. Raise your legs slowly until your hips form a right angle. Keep your knees from bending. Reach up toward your toes as far as possible without straining your back, keeping your legs straight as you can. Aim for 15 to 20 reps. Again, focus on quality over quantity, and make sure you move with control.

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3. Clamshell Bridge

Next up is the clamshell bridge, a low-impact lower-body exercise that will engage your obliques while helping sculpt your glutes.

To set up, lie on your back with your arms at your side and the soles of your feet pressed together. Lower your knees toward the floor and out to the sides, keeping your feet together. Raise your hips until you reach your maximum comfortable range of motion. You should feel the movement in your glutes, hips, and inner thighs. Lower down slowly to the starting position and repeat. Aim for 12 to 15 reps.

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4. Dead Bugs

dead bug exercise demonstration, part of five-minute mat workout

This unique movement sees all your limbs moving at the same time to get a solid burn in the abs and glutes.

To begin, you'll lie on your back with your legs bent in a tabletop position. Your hips and knees should form 90-degree angles. Reach both arms straight toward the ceiling. Lower your right arm as you straighten and lower your left leg simultaneously down toward the mat. Stop when your arm and leg hover just above the floor. Return to the starting position, then switch your arm and leg to do the movement on the opposite side. Keep your core engaged the entire time. Aim for 16 to 20 reps (eight to 10 per side, alternating your leg each rep).

Adam Meyer
Adam is a health writer, certified holistic nutritionist, and 100% plant-based athlete. Read more about Adam
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