I've always worked out because I like the way it makes me feel. Any physical benefits were just a bonus to me. Now as a serious runner, I understand the importance of a strong posterior. That's why I tapped Morgan Rees, an ACE-certified personal trainer who also holds a BS in Kinesiology, to help me target the one part of my lower body workout I've been lacking: the booty.
She explained that whether you're looking to build strength like me or boost the shape of your bum in general, there are some things you can do to build a stronger butt. "Genetics limit the extent to which you can increase the size of your glutes," she said. "[But] it will not limit the fact that you can build muscle mass, density, strength, and definition. If you are consuming proper nutrients — especially protein— and training consistently, then you will see results in some fashion, but these results regarding the glutes can take weeks or a few months to show."
To help me on my booty-strengthening journey, Rees shared a 10-minute workout I can try three to four days a week — or tack onto my usual workouts — to strengthen my backside. Get ready to don those training-ready shorts like the UA HeatGear® Armour Shorty ($25), and check out my new booty-blasting workout ahead.
Single leg glute bridge
- Lie on your back with your knees bent.
- With your arms at your sides, make sure your heels are 6-8 inches from your fingertips.
- Lift one leg up into the air. Keep the leg either straight or bent, but maintain a flexed foot.
- Drive the opposite heel into the ground as your hips begin to lift. Don't worry about height — this can improve over time.
- Perform 15 reps per side.
Quadruped glute extension to abduction
- Get on all fours with your knees and hands shoulder-width apart. Flex both feet.
- Pull your belly button to your chest, so your butt is not positioned outward. Keep your arms locked straight the entire time.
- Extend one leg so that the bottom of the foot faces the ceiling, making sure your hips don't dip in the process, as the extension should come strictly from your glutes and not from your back. Your leg should create a 90-degree angle during the extension portion of the exercise.
- Lower your leg to the original position, and open the same hip to the side. Your leg should be in the same bent position, just raised out to the side for the abduction portion of the exercise.
- One rep is an extension and abduction on one leg. Perform 10 reps per leg.
Sumo deadlift with dumbbell or kettlebell
- Place the weight between your feet, which are spaced widely apart with the toes slightly pointed outward.
- Move your hips back as you simultaneously bend your knees. Maintaining a straight spine, grab your weight and push through your heels in order to get back to your original standing position.
- Perform 20 reps.
Pro tip: Your hips will go back as you bend your knees to lower the weight back to the ground, but maintaining a straight spine throughout is a priority.
- Put your band right above the knees, and lay on your side with your hips flexed to a 45-degree angle and knees bent.
- While maintaining contact between your feet, open up the top leg without rotating your upper body. Drive your top foot into the bottom foot during the movement to engage the glutes further.
- Briefly hold at the top of the movement, and slowly move back down to the starting position.
- Perform 15 reps.
Want to take it a step further? Partner this workout with other lower body movements like stationary lunges with a forward lean and Romanian deadlifts that target the surrounding muscles. "This right here is the golden ticket: work surrounding muscles just as hard," she said, adding that focusing on the hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves is just as important for building a strong bum. "Muscles don't function in isolation," she added.
Of course, no matter what your goal is remember: no two booties are built the same. "Your bum is made for your body," explained Rees. "When it grows in size and shape, it will conform to what fits your physique. Instead of trying to make it look like someone else's, just remember that your bum is your bum, and it's special."