You may have spent a lot of time working on your biceps and your abs, but what about your butt? A toned rear can complete your good physique and give you that picture-perfect body you always wanted. Sure, some people are graced with a great booty at birth, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get one with the proper exercises. By strengthening your glutes, you can help shape your rear to perfection.
Now, this won’t be easy. It takes dedication and real perseverance to get the butt of your dreams. Don’t let the burn of the exercises or the number of reps for each exercise slow you down or stop you completely. This collection of the five best exercises for enhancing your butt can get you started.
You’ll notice that some call for weights and others don’t. When using weights, it’s best to stick to heavier weights (that you can still handle) and do anywhere from five to 12 reps in a single set (unless otherwise noted). Try adding one of these exercises into your normal workout about two times a week (your glutes need time to rest and grow so don’t increase this!) and increase your weights whenever you feel like you can.
This shouldn’t really come as a surprise to you. Squats are one of the best exercises you can do for your lower body, especially your butt. They engage the muscles in your legs while also building strength in your hips, lower back, and core. You probably know how to do the basic squat, but it’s important to know that stopping your squat at parallel or even slightly below parallel won’t engage your glutes and enhance your butt. Instead, squat until you’re well below parallel and widen your stance—the narrower your stance, the more the emphasis goes to your quads instead of your glutes. A barbell squat is a normal squat, but instead of using just your body weight, you’ll have a barbell with the appropriate weight for yourself in your hands, behind your head, on your shoulders.
Pick a heavier weight that you can still handle without getting hurt and aim for at least five hard reps or as many as 12 reps. Remember to keep proper form by keeping your toes pointed slightly out and maintaining a stance with your legs shoulder-width apart.
Barbell Hip Thrust
Another great exercise for your butt is the barbell hip thrust. This exercise will help your upper glutes in a way that squats can’t. It’s best done at the gym or with a home gym that has the proper equipment.
Start by sitting on the ground resting your back against a bench. Plant your feet firmly in front of you with a padded barbell sitting in your lap. Raise the barbell up by extending your hips while keeping your spine and knees stable. Push your hips up using your glutes until your body is a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Make sure to squeeze your glutes when in position to actively engage them during the exercise. Lower your body back down. Remember, use a heavier weight and aim for five to 12 reps. Beware! This exercise is a tough one, but the rewards are substantial.
Quadruped Hip Extensions
This doesn’t require any additional weights as your body weight will be enough. While it may seem simple to do, it’s actually one of the exercises that engage the most muscles for your butt according to experts. Since there are no weights needed for it, it can be done anywhere making it more convenient than weighted exercises. However, since you’re only using your body weight and no extra weights, you will have to do more reps to get any effect (about 12 reps on each side is recommended).
To do this, position yourself on your hands and knees, keeping your knees under your hips and your wrists under your shoulders. Spread your fingers and keep them pointing forward. Engage your core and slowly lift one leg making sure to keep your knee bent while pushing your foot up toward the sky. Don’t sag your body, arch your back, or rotate your hips as you can hurt yourself by doing so. Keep your shoulders and hips squared to the floor. Again, aim for 12 reps on each side.
This is the prone version of a classic jumping jack. It engages your upper and side glutes while also activating your cheeks as you bring your legs back together. Like the previous exercise, there are no additional weights needed so this can be done at home, while on vacation, or anywhere else you happen to be.
Floor jacks are pretty simple to do. Lie on your mat or the floor face down with your arms and legs extended so you’re in an “X” position (like a jumping jack position). You’ll then close your arms and legs in the same way you do standing jumping jacks. It’s best to do three, 30-second sets to see results. If you have lower back pain during this exercise, experts recommend that you lower your arms and chest back to the floor and do only the leg movement until you get stronger and more comfortable to add the upper body motion.
If you’re a runner, you’re probably familiar with the lunge jump—a signature exercise that helps sprinters improve their power. What you might not know is that lunge jumps are actually really good for your glute muscles. It requires no weights and can be done easily at home. If you are a runner, it’ll also help you in that respect, too.
To do a lunge jump, start by standing tall keeping your feet shoulder-width apart. Next, step back on your right leg into a reverse lunge position and bend down as low as possible. Be sure to maintain a straight back while also making sure your left knee never goes past your toes. When in the lunge, hold it for a count of three. Then, force your right knee up and forward with a jump. If you’re more coordinated, use your opposite arm and drive it toward the knee. You’re looking to get height here, not distance. Again, since there are no weights other than your own body weight, do more reps. Experts recommend eight to 12 reps on each side.
Each of these exercises can be a great addition to your normal workout if you’re looking to enhance your butt. Remember, keep your proper form when doing any exercise to avoid injuries and never take on more weight than you can handle. If any of these exercises don’t agree with you and cause you pain in any way, stop doing them and try another one on the list.