Last weekend my husband and I went to a local museum to hear Ernest Shackleton’s granddaughter give a talk about the life of her famous grandad.

If you’re unfamiliar with Shackleton, he was a polar explorer who led an expedition to the Antarctic in 1914 on a ship called the Endurance.  

   NOPE

I can sum up his heroic feat in a few simple words:

He sailed to Antarctica… 

  • on a wooden ship
  • without Internet access or a phone
  • not a Starbucks in sight
  • he didn’t post selfies about it on Facebook, so no one even knew he was on the ship for sure

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the ship got stuck in the ice, broke apart like a Tinkertoy, and sank.

“What’s the big deal? They could’ve just hoisted a couple of lifeboats and sailed back from whence they came,” you may be thinking.

First, “whence.” I’m not sure why I began channeling John F. Kennedy (although it’s far from the weirdest thing I’ve ever said).

Second, the lifeboats didn’t happen. Even if they had lifeboats, which I seriously doubt, we’re not talking about a Princess Cruise.

It’s freakin’ colder than the coldest day you can imagine. Yes, worse than Maine in January.

We’re talking bottom of the earth, where all the jokes about selling ice to Eskimos originated. 

Although that may be the Arctic, not the Antarctic.

Whatever. It’s cold is all I know for sure.

Here’s the kicker: With the boat doing its best Titanic imitation, Shackleton was forced to leave his men on a frozen wasteland called Elephant Island for two years, the length of time it took him to get help.

(Elephant Island was named for elephant seals, not the gentle pachyderms found in tropical climates, which would’ve been a thousand times more pleasant.)

This bears repeating: TWO years. And the entire time his men never knew when or if he’d ever return.

I don’t know about you, but my friends wouldn’t wait that long for me if I left them on a tropical island with enough coconuts and sunscreen to last the entire time.

Kicker #2: no one died. How does that happen?

There’s good reason he’s seen as one of the greatest leaders who ever lived. He did not allow pessimistic banter and gave his men constant reason to live and stay motivated.

Compare that to my ability to motivate a client to do a set of push-ups and you’ll know why I’ve admired Ernest Shackleton for many years.

I think of this torturous adventure and compare it to my current “my knee hurts!” pity party and it’s more than a little embarrassing.

But when I think I could’ve been stuck for two years on an island filled with elephant seals and without access to a hot shower, I’m alright being unable to perform lunges.

As you may have discovered yourself, with age often comes osteoarthritis and painful joints. My doctor tells me the more I push it, the sooner I’ll need a knee replacement.

Since I’d rather not set off airport alarms with my bionic parts, I prefer to go easy.

On the other hand, I don’t want gravity to drag my nether regions towards Antarctica, either.

So I came up with a few knee-friendly, glute boosting, exercises you can do at home, without special equipment, that work just as well as lunges and squats when done consistently.

They include:

1.Step-ups

You may not think these are knee friendly, but they are as long as you adjust the height of the step to one in which you can do without pain.

2. Butt blasters

These are a bit awkward until you do them a few times, but they’re worth the effort.

3. Bridges

These are great for your back as well as your glutes.

P.S. If you like these exercises and crave other mini workouts, be sure to check out my Ageless Army Monthly membership for just $15.97/month! I offer a monthly challenge, mini workouts, recipes for women over 50, expert interviews and a whole lot more. Check it out HERE. I’m running a special where you get my eBook, Break Up with Your Fat After 50 totally free when you sign up.

What’s YOUR favorite glute exercise? Let me know in the comments below… and if you enjoyed this post please share it with your friends! I’d be forever grateful.

Your Ageless Body Coach,