Not all of us are blessed with good genes. This goes for your butt. It’s the reason why some people have a better looking, shapely tush, and others don’t.
However, this doesn’t mean that you’re stuck with a flat rear end.
Knowing which exercises to include into your regular workouts will help you develop a firmer, stronger, rounder rear end.
Not only does this make you look better, but it also helps prevent and relieve lower back pain. You’ll also find that sitting down, standing up and going up stairs much easier.
If you’re an athlete, you know that strong glutes let you sprint, jump and move better.
Below we’ve listed the different exercises that target your glutes.
To make sure that you’re able to build a shapely and firm booty, they use different angles to target specific sections of your glute muscles.
Best Exercises to Lift Your Butt
The mother of all exercises that will work your butt is the squat.
It not only works your glutes but gets a lot of different groups to join in as well. Squats engage your entire lower body from your quads to your hamstrings and glutes.
We also love that it increases your heart rate giving you cardio. This gives you the added benefit of fat loss to strength.
Now there are many variations of the squat (barbell squat, back squat, goblet squat, etc.) but a good one to start with is the traditional bodyweight squat.
The bodyweight squat requires just your body (of course) and good form. The best thing about it is you don’t need any weights or specialized equipment. Thus, you can do it anywhere.
For those of you who are visual learners, here’s a quick video that explains proper squat form and technique.
How to Perform the Bodyweight Squat
- Standing with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, you bend at the knees and stick your butt out until your hips are in line with your knees.
- Then, making sure your feet are still flat on the floor, you squeeze your glutes while pushing through to stand up straight again.
Most people know that the basic mechanics of a squat, but to reiterate good form here are a few guidelines.
- back straight (spine not curved in any direction, with your neck in line with spine)
- heels flat on the ground
- hips below the knees
- feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart
- glutes squeezed
To change things up, you can also try other variations.
- Goblet Squat
- Front Squat
- Back Squat
- Dumbbell Squat
- Dumbbell Sumo Squat
The lunge is an excellent butt-toning exercise because it gives you the opportunity to work the glutes individually. So, it negates muscle imbalances.
Muscle imbalances happen when your stronger muscles compensate for the weaker muscles.
This is often the case with most of us because we’re more dominant in one side than the other.
Lunges, being single leg exercises, help eliminate these imbalances.
Here are a few good lunge variations that help tone and build a better butt.
- You start by standing up straight with your feet together,
- Then step forward with one leg.
- Keeping your back straight and in line with your hip (not bending at the waist), you drop your hip until your thigh is parallel to the floor.
- Finally, push yourself back up with your heel to return to the beginning position.
- Make sure to do the same with the other leg.
The Reverse Lunge
If you have knee issues, the front lunge may not be the ideal exercise for you.
It can place quite a bit of pressure on your knee joints. This is especially true if you find yourself not extending forward enough.
As a result, your knee goes way past your foot when you’re on the bottom part of the exercise. Doing so can be painful for some. For others, it causes knee issues later on.
The solution: Reverse Lunges!
This kind of lunge works the same muscles as the forward lunge. But because you’re taking a step back instead of forward, you don’t put the same amount of stress on your front knee.
Reverse lunges do take a bit more coordination compared to front lunges. That’s because we are used to going forward, not so much backward.
Here’s a step by step video tutorial of the reverse lunge exercise to help tone your butt.
3. Step Ups
Step-ups are just a variation of the lunge with an upward element. If you’ve ever skipped steps while walking up the stairs, then you’ve done step-ups.
Like the others on our list, this is another functional exercise that not only improves your butt but is also very useful in day-to-day life.
How to Perform Step Ups
- First, find a stable platform that is high enough off the ground that you can feel your legs putting in the extra work to get there.
- Make sure that it’s low enough that you can step up with one leg comfortably. Ideally, you don’t want to use a box that goes above knee high.
- To do a step up, put one foot on the platform (like the first half of a lunge) and drive your heel down on it to lift yourself up to a standing position on top of the platform.
- Lastly, get back down and do it with the other foot.
Note that the video uses dumbbells. This is optional and not necessary. You can add dumbbells as you get stronger and become used to the exercise. But, using your body weight will be good enough when starting out.
Another thing to remember is the height of the box. Don’t choose a box that’s too high. When you step on the platform, your thigh should be at most parallel to the ground. Don’t go any higher than that. This way you don’t put unnecessary stress on your joints.
If you have knee or hip issues, you can start with a very low box to step on. The lower the step, the less pressure on your knees.
4. Hip Thrust
The hip thrust is great for isolating your glutes. This way you work them without working other big muscle groups.
For this article, we’re going to be focusing on just one variation of it.
How to Do the Hip Thrust
- First, find something low and sturdy to lean on. A bench or the front of a couch works well.
- While sitting on the floor and leaning against the bench, bend your legs so that your knees are pointing up. Keep your feet a little further in front of you. This is the starting position.
- For the exercise, you thrust your hips forward and up while squeezing your glutes so that your body ends up flat from your head to your knees. Your legs should form a right angle.
- Slowly lower yourself.
We advocate this variation over the .glute bridge. Both do an excellent job in lifting your butt. But, we do feel that the hip thrust allows more people to use proper form.
That’s because it is easier to execute. The reason is that you keep your neck in line with your spine.
With the glute bridge, you lie flat on your back. This forces your upper back and neck to bend throughout the exercise. Doing so can potentially lead to neck and upper shoulder pain for some people.
5. Glute Kickbacks
Glute kickbacks are easy. And, they can be done virtually anywhere. They focus on your butt allowing it to contract.
How to Do Glute Kickbacks
- You start by getting down on your hands and knees. Keep your palms flat on the floor under your shoulders.
- Your knees should be directly below your hips while keeping a neutral spine.
- Tighten your core. Then, take one leg and slowly kick it back and up until you feel your glutes contract. Then, bring your leg back down.
- Repeat with both legs.
With these exercises, you’ll be on your way to a sculpted butt!