If you want a toned butt that is poppin’ and firm like a grape, then the grapevine exercise is a fantastic anytime and anywhere workout that will get you results! One of the best things about this easy, at home workout for the butt, in which you criss-cross your legs as you lunge, is that it also strengthens and tightens the inner thighs and the back of the legs–the hamstrings (aka the hammies).
We first learned how to do the grapevine…
back in grade school, doing it as a fun dance. The only difference was that we were standing a bit more upright and making a longer grapevine, and in this version, you squat a little lower. We weren’t genetically blessed with a round booty or a tight tushy (or whatever you call it that we’re working hard for now), so we definitely find the best exercises and do them, and this is one!
There are many variations and different ways to do the grapevine. The version we demonstrate in the video is one of the best ways to strengthen and tone the back of the legs and butt, and we’ve been doing it for years. We also find that it really loosens us up and stretches our legs and we can understand why some celebrities use a similar variation to loosen them up before a major performance.
Celebs are doing it:
Yes, celebs are doing it! We were pretty psyched to learn that Halle Barry does the grapevine as part of her workout and that Lady Gaga did it as part of her warm-up for her Monster’s Ball Tour! We think this exercise is one of the more fun leg exercises to do, and our guess is they may too, …who doesn’t like to feel like they’re dancing while getting stronger and more toned? 🤷♀️
How to perform the grapevine (more difficult variation):
For the variation seen in the video:
- Squeeze your abs, contracting them tightly since good form starts in your core.
- Standing with your feet a tad bit wider than shoulder’s width apart, slowly squat down.
- From a squatted position, cross your left leg behind you in a controlled movement.
- Still squatting, bring your left leg back to the original squatting position and cross your right leg behind you, just as you would like you were doing the grapevine dance.
- Continue to keep your abs tight and engaged as you take turns crossing each leg behind you as you are lunging down.
- Aim to do 20 on each side and work your way up to 2-3 sets!
How to perform grapevine with criss-cross in front and behind (easier variation)
- With your abs contracted and tight, get in a squatting position and step out with your right foot to your right side.
- Criss-cross your left foot over in front of your right leg, so it is in front of you.
- Take your right leg, which is criss-cross behind your left leg, and step to the right so it is leading you again.
- Bring your left leg together with the right leg, so that you are back to the basic squatting position.
- Now, squat and repeat the same move now with your left foot stepping out to your left side.
- Criss-cross your right foot in front of your left leg. Your right leg will be in front of you.
- Take your left leg which is criss-cross behind your right leg and step it to the left so that it is leading you again.
- Practice this a number of times with bent legs and when you master the basic motion, you will 1) start to feel the muscles working and 2) can switch things up and see if you’re ready for the variation in the video above. 🙂
- To make the grapevine into more of a cardio/ fat-burning workout (meaning you burn more calories), speed up your grapevine by moving your feet more quickly. (Note: If you do cardio, like we do, then you want to use this move for tightening and strengthening. If you’re looking to get a cardio workout and focus less on firming, then this variation is for you.)
- To work your abs more, you can cross your grapevine in-front, in-front and then behind, behind. We’re all about the abs, so we find this to be a great variation.
Want to make the grapevine more challenging? Here are a few things to try:
- Make the exercise last longer. If you are only doing 1 minute of the exercise, work your way up and see if you can complete the exercise for 2 or 3 minutes.
- Speed the exercise up. It’s a great variation. When we do it, we often do intervals of a set of a slower grapevine switched up with intervals of a faster grapevine set. We always find it interesting that it actually feels like different parts of the legs and butt are being worked, simply from the change in speed.
- Squat even lower! When you bend your knees more, you’ll work your glutes more effectively as more muscles are recruited to perform the exercise. You’ll also be able to take a longer lunge out to each side.
- Try it on a hill outside! Of course, be super careful not to roll over on your ankle (so only try this if you know that you can handle it!) but sometimes we do it up a slight hill, and it helps to engage the outer thigh. We switch directions to make sure we work each leg equally.
- Swing your arms as you go to involve more movement and burn more calories.
- To add even more variations, add extra squats in, or extra kicks and lunges.
Avoid these grapevine mistakes:
- You may find yourself coming out of the squatting position, which means that you won’t be working your butt and legs. Remember to BEND YOUR KNEES.
- Don’t look down. It’s natural to want to look at your feet, but keep your head up so that you can keep proper form and keep your spine in a straight line.
- Relax your shoulders. If you’re like us, when you try a new exercise, you may find your shoulders raising up towards your ears. This just causes extra tension and tightness in your neck and distracts you from where you want to be doing the work—in your legs and butt.
Looking for more exercises that you can do at home that don’t require equipment?
Try this exercise to tone up your obliques! Tight abs go perfectly with a firm booty! 🙂
What’s your favorite exercise to strengthen the back of the legs and butt?