It’s become very popular lately to work on getting a “booty pop” from your workouts, but honestly… do you know why you should work on your butt? Because it’s not just about looking good in a pair of jeans (though that is a really nice benefit, too).
Your gluteal (butt) muscles are the driving force behind almost every movement we make in our daily lives. Standing, sitting, walking, running, skipping, climbing stairs, kneeling down, bending over and many other motions all involve the gluteal muscles. Weak or underdeveloped glutes will make normal activities difficult, and possibly lead to lower back or knee pain.
The glutes are also the biggest muscles in our body, which is terrific news if you’re looking to lose or maintain your weight. Muscle tissue is more metabolically active than fat; it burns more calories every single minute of every single day. Big muscles equal big fat burn, so building your glutes is a fast and easy way to burn more calories.
You won’t lose fat specifically from your butt by doing these gluteal exercises, but you will help your body burn fat overall and get stronger in the process. Toning your butt with targeted exercises can help you stay injury-free, maintain the weight, stay active and look and feel the best.
Top 10 Butt Exercises For Women
These exercises are listed in order of difficulty. If you are new to exercising, start with the first five to build butt strength and work your way up to other exercises. If you are more advanced, you can complete one or two rounds of all ten, or make up a “mini circuit” of three or four of your favorites to repeat three times. If you have an interval timer, you can make a challenging lower body HIIT workout with four or five of these exercises (suggested interval length is 30-50 seconds with at least 10 seconds of rest between intervals).
1. Resistance Band Side Steps
Place a looped resistance band around your thighs and stand in a semi-squatted position with core engaged and your feet about hip width apart. Take a large lateral (out to the side) step with one leg, then a step with the other leg to return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times in each direction.
2. Single Leg Bridges
Lying on your back with core engaged, knees bent and feet flat on the floor, extend one knee to raise your leg straight into the air. Pushing through the heel of the foot on the ground, raise your hips into a bridge position. Return almost to the starting position, but don’t rest your hips on the ground until you’ve completed all reps. Repeat 10 times on each leg.
3. Mule Pushes
In a tabletop position with core engaged and hands and knees on the ground, raise one leg (with knee still bent) so that your thigh is parallel to the ground. From this starting position, squeeze the gluteal muscles to raise your leg higher, being careful not to arch the lower back. This is a small motion that packs a big punch!
4. Single Leg Squats
Stand on one leg with core engaged. Push your hips back while bending the knee into a squatting position (this is harder than regular squats, so you might not get as low). Be careful to keep your knee behind the toe to keep stress off the knee joint. Return to standing and complete 10 times on each leg.
5. Side-Lying Leg Lifts
Lying on your side with core engaged, hips stacked, and the toe of your top leg pointed slightly downward, squeeze your glutes to raise the top leg. Return to start and repeat 10 times on each side.
6. Single Leg Deadlifts
Stand on one leg with your core engaged. Squeeze your glutes to raise the other leg straight back behind you as your torso tips forward. Your legs and torso should form the letter T. Be sure that you are not locking the knee of your standing leg. Return carefully to the starting position and repeat 10 times on each leg.
7. Curtsy Lunges
Stand with feet hip width apart and core engaged. Lunge to the rear and opposite side (like a curtsy – that’s where this exercise gets its name!) as far and wide as you can go. Press through the heel of the balancing leg to return to the start and repeat 10 times on each side.
8. Balance Ball Flutter Kicks
Lying over the top of a balance ball (also known as a stability ball, swiss ball or physio ball) in a tabletop position, straighten your legs, engage the glutes and lift one leg at a time as high into the air as you can without arching your lower back. Return to start and repeat 10 times on both sides.
9. Kettlebell Swings
With a heavy kettlebell, stand with feet slightly wider than hip width apart. Engage your core to maintain a straight-backed posture throughout this exercise. Soften your knees and lean forward slightly so the kettlebell hangs between your thighs. Squeeze your glutes and stand upright powerfully to provide the momentum needed to propel the kettlebell up into a swing. Return with gravity to the starting position. This is a fast-paced exercise that requires good control of your hip and butt muscles.
With a heavy weight such as a barbell or dumbbells in your hand, stand with core engaged and feet hip width apart. Maintain a straight-backed posture throughout this exercise. Soften your knees and push your hips directly back while your torso leans forward. Keep the weight close to your legs and shins and focus on using the gluteal muscles to return to a standing position.
This exercise is performed exactly like Deadlifts above, but with the barbell placed on your upper back and shoulders (making it even more difficult).
See examples of each of these exercises in this video