Build your behind with box jumps -- which are really just a more intense and powerful version of the squat. The explosive exercise that requires individuals to jump atop an elevated platform from a standing position requires your fast-twitch muscles to activate, says Mark Ribeiro, instructor at New York City's The Fhitting Room. "Box jumps can also offer cardio when done at a fast pace, making the exercise extremely versatile," Ribeiro says. "The fast pace and explosiveness of box jumps define, tone, and shape the legs."
To get the maximum value out of a box jump, Tamara Pridgett, coach at New York City's Tone House, notes that good form is essential: "It's important to land on your heels and stand all the way up when you reach the top to achieve a full hip extension."
Ribeiro likes to use resistance bands -- or booty bands, as he likes to call them -- with clients to incorporate a low-impact leg and glute exercise into workouts. "This exercise is a great way to fire up the glutes, while putting minimal pressure on the knee joint," Ribeiro says. "To begin the movement, place the band just above the ankle, and start in a high squat position. Kick one leg back at a 45-degree angle in a controlled motion, making sure you keep the band taut throughout the movement. Return to your original position, and alternate legs."
Sprinting uphill undoubtedly sucks, but according to Pridgett, it's one of the most efficient ways to improve speed and power. "You'll work your entire posterior chain and be forced to use proper sprinting technique -- like your arm swing and knee drive -- due to your body's position on the incline," Pridgett says. Treadmills make it easy to control the steepness of your hill, as well as the speed at which you'll climb it, making this a workout you can easily tailor to your specific needs.
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Erin Kelly is a writer, runner, and triathlete living in New York City whose favorite version of leg day involves walking to the ice cream store. Follow her on Twitter at @erinkellysays.