The Moves You Should Be Doing For a Perkier Butt
Need to shape up your backside? Look no further — we've got over 30 of the most effective exercises to perk up your backside fast. Read on to learn the moves, and stick around to the end for five celebrity-inspired butt-shaping video workouts for you to follow!
— Additional reporting by Michele Foley, Lizzie Fuhr, Susi May, Jenny Sugar, and Jaime Young
All you need is a bench or a sturdy chair to do the step-up:
- Place your right foot firmly on the bench with your left foot directly under your left hip.
- Step up, straightening your right leg, bringing both feet completely onto the bench. Slowly bend your right knee, lowering the ball of your left foot back to the ground, keeping your right thigh engaged. For a more advanced version, you can kick the left knee up as you step up. Complete three sets of 15-20 reps on each leg.
Lying Hamstring Curl
- Start by lying flat on your back with an exercise ball under your heels. Bridge your hips up, and hold that position through the entire exercise.
- Flex your feet and dig your heels into the ball. Place your arms straight out to your side for support — don't use them, though; they are just for support.
- Slowly roll the ball toward your body as you curl your heels. Keep your hips in the bridge position; don't thrust them toward the ceiling as you do the move.
- Then slowly return to the start position (straight legs, hips bridged) to complete one rep.
- Do three sets of 10-15.
Side Kick on All Fours
This side-kick exercise is great for working the deep glute muscles, which help give the butt a lifted look. It might feel like an old-school Jane Fonda move, but we're still doing this classic exercise because it's so dang effective.
- Start on all fours with hands underneath your shoulders and knees under your hips. Keeping the knee bent 90 degrees, lift the right leg until it is parallel to the floor.
- Keep the right thigh still as you straighten your right knee, kicking your leg out to the side. Don't let the leg lower as you kick it.
- Bend the right knee back to 90 degrees, then lower the leg. This completes one rep.
- Do three sets of 20 reps per side.
Doing these plank leg-lifts on an exercise ball further challenges your balance to help strengthen your core while you work your backside:
- Lie on your belly on an exercise ball, and walk your hands out so the ball is underneath your shins. Your hands should be underneath your shoulders.
- Draw your navel toward your spine to engage your abs, which will help keep your spine straight and your body stabilized.
- Lift your right leg into the air, then slowly lower it back toward the ball, but don't let it touch. This counts as one repetition. Keep your pelvis level throughout your reps.
- Complete three sets of 10-12 reps with the right leg, and then repeat with the left.
The classic squat is a great exercise for toning the derriere, and when you add a jump, the move becomes more effective. Jumping also increases your heart rate to burn even more calories — bonus!
- Begin in an athletic stance with feet shoulder-width apart and arms bent with hands at chest level. Bend knees and come into a full squat.
- Jump up as explosively as you can, reaching for the ceiling.
- When you land, lower back into the squat position to complete one rep.
- Do three sets of 12 reps.
Pulsing Plié Squat
Shake up your squat routine with the pulsing plié squat, which targets glutes and inner thighs:
- Start in second position, with your legs opened wide to the sides and your toes turned slightly outward. Placing your hands on your hips, bend your knees, going as low as you can. Make sure your shoulders remain directly over your hips and your back stays in a straight vertical line. Use the mirror to monitor your posture, and do make sure to keep your heels directly below your knees to avoid harming the joint.
- While holding second position, in a pulsing fashion, lower and raise your hips one inch for 10-15 reps.
- Stay at your lowest point, reverse the emphasis of the pulse, and begin to lift your hips up one inch in a very tiny range of motion for 10-15 reps.
- Now, extend arms in front of you (as shown) and hold for 20 counts at your lowest point.
Elevated Split Squat
Whether on the ball or outside on the bench, the elevated split squat (aka Bulgarian split squat) really works your butt:
- Begin by placing the top of your right foot on the bench, with your left leg straight. Bend your left knee, engage your right glute, and lower your pelvis toward the ground. You want your left foot out far enough so that when you lower your hips, your knee stays directly over your ankle.
- Straighten your left leg and rise back up to the starting position. Complete three sets of 10-15 reps on each leg.
Superman Ball Lifts
The Superman ball lift is a butt-challenging variation on your standard Superman:
- Lie on your belly, and hold an exercise ball between your feet.
- Engage your abs, and extend your arms straight out in front of you.
- As you inhale, squeeze the ball and lift your knees, arms, and chest off the floor. Hold for a count of 10, and then slowly release your body back to the floor.
- Repeat for a total of 10 lifts.
Lateral Band Walks
For a shapely backside, you actually need to tone the glutes on the sides of your pelvis too. These lateral walks strengthen those very muscles: the glute meds. Plus, strong glute meds help stabilize the pelvis, making this exercise great for runners.
- Place a resistance band just below your knees.
- Begin standing with feet directly underneath your hips, and squat about halfway down.
- Take a step sideways to the right as far as you can. To fully activate the muscle, be sure to step onto your heel, rather than your toes.
- Actively resist the pull of the exercise band as you bring your left leg slowly toward your right, returning to the starting position.
- Step to the right 20-30 times, then reverse directions stepping to the left 20-30 times; you really want to feel the muscle burn. Repeat for three sets.
Single-Leg Deadlift With Kettlebell
The single-leg deadlift not only works your backside, targeting both the hamstring and the glutes, but also works the core. Be sure to choose a weight that is challenging for this exercise. If you don't have a kettlebell, then a dumbbell will certainly do.
- Hold a kettlebell (between 10 and 20 pounds) in your right hand, and lift your right foot slightly off the ground.
- Keeping your back neutral, lean your entire torso forward while raising your right leg, which should stay in line with your body. The kettlebell will lower toward the ground. Keep your right shoulder blade pulled down your back.
- With your back straight, return upright, coming to your starting position. This completes one rep. Maximize this move by keeping your right foot off the ground as you go through your reps.
- Do 12 reps on each leg, for three sets.
Squats are one of the most effective ways to target your backside. Holding dumbbells makes them a little more challenging.
- Stand with your feet hip-width distance apart, holding a dumbbell at shoulder level, with palms facing inward.
- Slowly bend your knees as if you were going to sit in a chair, keeping all the weight in your heels. Don't let your knees move beyond your toes, and don't let the knees roll out or in. Squat down as low as you can, keeping your head and chest lifted, your spine long, and your shoulders relaxed. Keep your arms steady as you lower down.
- Press through your heels, and slowly straighten your legs to stand up. Make sure to keep your spine neutral. Do not round your back.
- Do three sets of 12-15 reps.
Widening your stance while doing squats will target your glutes differently and will also tone your thighs.
- Hold a pair of dumbbells in your hands with your arms straight and your palms facing away from you. If you don't have dumbbells, keep your hands clasped in front of your chest as shown. Step your feet apart so there's about 20 inches between your heels. Point your toes out slightly.
- Bend your knees and elbows, keep your shoulders over your hips, and lower down so your weight is back in your heels. Then straighten your legs and arms.
- Complete three sets of 12-15 reps.
Sculpt a ballerina-worthy butt with this move that you can do using a chair:
- Start with one hip touching your support item; chairs and stable bookshelves work great. Reach the arm closest to that item in front of you, and hold onto it with your hand. Reach your opposite arm across your body to grab on as well. Make sure that forearm is touching across your core to get a good grip on the chair or shelf.
- Touching your heels together, separate your toes and bend your knees. Round your lower back until the arch disappears and your hips are completely tucked forward. Now extend your left toes behind you and retuck your hips; pulsate tiny holes behind you while you retuck at the same time. You should barely be able to see this move happening, just slightly initiating from your toes while your seat continues to press forward.
- Complete 20-30 repetitions, and then switch sides.
Deep Reverse Lunge
Reverse lunges are super-challenging, but if you step back even farther, deepening your lunge, then you'll really feel it in your lower body.
- Begin with your feet together, holding a dumbbell in front of your chest.
- As you step your right foot back into a deep lunge, lower the dumbbell to your left foot. Make sure your left knee is directly over your ankle.
- Step your right foot forward to return to the starting position. Repeat, lunging the left foot back. This counts as one rep.
- Complete three sets of 12-15 reps.
See the reverse lunge in action here.
Tone your butt while on your belly with this frog pose from barre-inspired workouts:
- Start lying on your stomach on top of a mat or soft area. If your mat is on hardwood, then fold a piece of the mat underneath your hips for extra cushion. With one fist on top of the other and your elbows bent, place your forehead into your top fist, pressing your arms into the floor for support. Bend your knees, flex your feet in the air, and lift your knees off the floor.
- From this position, extend your knees behind you, using the energy in your heels to press your legs away in a pulsing tempo. With every press of your heels, emphasize the slight straightening of the knees as you pulse your legs away from your butt. Think of a frog that squats down and leaps. Your knees are making a similar motion and, like a frog, your legs are suspended in air.
- Complete this exercise for 20-30 reps. For added challenge, release your arms out in front of you for the last 10 reps to tone your upper back at the same time.
This barre-inspired move gives your booty a surprisingly tough workout:
- Start on all fours with knees placed directly under the hips and elbows below the shoulders; legs should be touching. Round the back up toward the ceiling and pull abs away from the floor.
- From there, lift one leg from the ground, keeping it at a 90-degree angle, and point toes up at the ceiling. Make tiny pulses upward for 15-20 repetitions.
- For more of a challenge, flex the lifted foot, and pulse up with the energy in your heel for 15-20 more reps.
This rowing variation works the backside beautifully — and not just your bum. It targets the hamstrings and upper back along with the glutes.
- Stand up straight and hold two dumbbells with palms facing each other.
- Lift up your left foot so you are balancing on your right leg. Find your balance, then sweep your left leg back and extend your arms toward the floor.
- Holding this position, bend your elbows back so that the dumbbells meet the sides of your chest. Keep your shoulders down and elbows straight back.
- Do three sets of 10, then repeat with the other leg.
Side-Lunge to Curtsy
This sideways lunge will target your outer tush as well as your inner thighs.
- Holding a dumbbell in your left hand, side-lunge to the right, bringing your left hand to your right foot. Lower your booty as much as possible. Keep your toes pointed forward and your right knee bent to no more than 90 degrees.
- Push off gently with your right foot, and come into a curtsy position with your right leg crossing behind your left as you press your weight overhead. Keep your hips square and your curtsy tight. Both feet should be pointed forward. This completes one rep.
- Repeat by stepping immediately into a side-lunge from the curtsy.
- Once you have completed 12-15 reps, switch sides. Do three sets total.
This basic move not only targets your tush, but also tones the hamstrings and quads.
- Stand holding a pair of medium-weight dumbbells in each hand, arms at your sides, with your knees slightly bent.
- Keeping your arms straight and knees slightly bent, slowly bend at your hip joint (not your waist), and lower the weights as far as possible without rounding your back, which should remain straight.
- Now squeeze your glutes to slowly pull yourself up (don't use your back).
- Do three sets of 12-15 reps.
In this pose, the glute muscles lift that leg up and hold it so it remains parallel to the floor. Talk about a workout.
- Stand with your feet together. Inhale as you extend your arms out wide in T position or straight overhead for a more advanced variation.
- Exhale as you bend forward at your hips, lifting your left leg straight behind you coming into Warrior 3. Draw your navel toward your spine and hold for five breaths. Then come to stand, lower your left leg, and repeat with the right leg lifted for another five.
Adding arm work to this glute- and inner thigh-toner makes this a time-saving full-body move.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand or a medicine ball. Extend your arms down at your sides if you are holding dumbbells or hold the medicine ball in front of you with arms extended.
- Take a large step diagonally forward with your right foot, planting your foot at the 11 o'clock position. Sink down until your thighs form right angles. As you bend your knees, curl the dumbbells toward your upper arms or the medicine ball toward your chest.
- Extend your legs, lift your right knee and bring it in toward your chest, and lower your arms. Step back with your right leg, this time lunging behind your torso and stepping back to the 8 o'clock position. As you sink down into the reverse lunge, complete another bicep curl. This completes one rep. Complete your set, and then switch sides.
- A set equals 15-20 reps on each leg. Do two sets.
Elbow Plank Donkey Kick
Evolve your basic donkey kick into a full-body move. Working your glutes and hamstrings in an elbow plank will work your core. Toning your abs and your behind with one move is a win-win in my book.
- Begin in an elbow plank with elbows directly under shoulders, abs engaged toward the spine. Don't let the pelvis sag down or pop up.
- Lift right leg off the ground, bending your knee so the sole of your foot is toward the ceiling. Keep pelvis square to the floor. Don't let your pelvis twist.
- Press your right heel toward the ceiling as high as you can without moving your pelvis or low back. The motion will not be huge, but concentrated on the booty and hamstring.
- Lower the bent leg slightly, and repeat for a total of 10 repetitions. Then switch sides.
- Do two sets on each leg.
Pure Barre Leg and Upper-Body Lifts
This exercise from Pure Barre targets thighs, love handles, and glutes:
- Begin by lying down with your belly on the mat, toes together and knees apart.
- Ground your palms on the floor, placing them on top of one another with your forehead resting on the back of the hands.
- With your legs still floating off the ground, lift your forearms up in one motion.
- Keep your back and seat engaged while you lift your upper and lower body together. Do this 10-15 times.
- Now, stay lifted as you extend your arms back behind you to grab hold of your ankles.
- Relax your shoulders and stay active in the stretch for 10 counts. Keep your whole body engaged, holding your highest position for the best stretch.
Lying Butt Lifts
Since this move requires no equipment, you really have no excuse to skip it! For a bigger burn, flex your butt for five seconds at the top of each move, or hold a yoga block between your knees as shown.
- Lie flat on your back on a mat with your knees bent and your arms at your sides. Feet should be hip-distance apart.
- Slowly raise your pelvis up toward the ceiling to a point where your body will be at about a 40- to 45-degree angle relative to the floor.
- At the top of the movement, be sure to really flex your butt for one second — try and make it a long second.
- Now slowly return to the start position to complete one.
- Do three sets of 12-15.
Booty Kicks With Resistance Band
Feel the burn with this move — your butt and outer thighs will be feeling it in no time!
- Hold onto either end of your resistance band, and place the center of the band around the sole of your right foot. Then place your elbows and knees on the ground so your back is straight.
- Hold the band firmly, draw your belly in, and extend your right leg straight out behind you. Then draw your knee forward, but don't let it touch the ground.
- Repeat for a total of 15-20 times. Then do this exercise with your left leg.
- Lie face down on your stomach with arms and legs extended. Keep your neck in a neutral position.
- With your arms and legs straight (but not locked) and torso stationary, simultaneously lift your arms and legs up toward the ceiling to form an elongated "u" shape with your body — your back arches and arms and legs lift several inches off the floor.
- Hold for two to five seconds and lower back down to complete one rep.
- Do as many reps as you can for one minute.
- Lie on your back, with the knees bent, and place your hands on the floor for stability. Extend the left leg out.
- Pressing your right heel into the floor, lift your pelvis up, keeping your body in a stiff bridge position.
- Slowly lower your body to the floor. This completes one rep.
- Repeat with one leg for 30 seconds, then switch sides and perform reps on your other leg for an additional 30 seconds.
Leg Balance Warrior 3
- Stand on your left foot with your right leg lifted to 90 degrees and your right knee bent.
- Lean your torso forward as you lengthen your right leg behind you. Reach your arms overhead for balance as your torso and leg come parallel to the floor. Keep your left knee slightly bent.
- Hold this position for a moment, and reach through your right heel to engage the back of the right leg.
- Bring your right leg forward, and return to standing upright. This completes one rep.
- Do as many reps on this side for 30 seconds, than do 30 more seconds on the left side.
Squat With Side Kick
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width distance apart, feet parallel. Hold your hands out in front of you for balance. Bend your knees, lowering your hips deeply into a squat, keeping weight back in your heels.
- Then rise back up, straightening the legs completely and lifting the right leg out to the side, squeezing the outer glute.
- As you step the foot back into shoulder-width distance position, squat down again. Then stand up and do a side leg lift on the left side. Lower the leg back to the starting position.
- Repeat this pattern for one minute.
The Pretzel move helps lift your backside and tone the lower back. Here's how to do it:
- Start with one leg in front and one leg back. Place your front shin in line with the mat, and check that your knee is directly in front of your hip, resulting in a 90-degree angle. Your back knee should be behind the edge of the mat at a 45-degree angle.
- Place your hands on the floor in front of you; one hand should lay flat in front of the ankle while the opposite hand frames the outside of the knee.
- Shift your weight to the center, and keep your shoulders and hips square. You want your chest to stay in the same line as your front thigh.
- Once you feel stable, lift your back leg up as high as you can while keeping your core and glutes engaged. Pulse your leg up as a whole, leading it with the knee for about 15-20 reps. Then lower your leg back to the starting position. For added challenge, keep your leg suspended and wrap your knee toward the opposite side for 15-20 more reps. Combining both movements will increase the burn! Hands are optional. Repeat on the other side.
Side-Lying Leg Lift
For a slight variation, try side-lying leg lift:
- Start on your side with your legs extended, flexing both feet. Place your top hand on the ground in front of your abs and your supporting arm under your head. Make sure your bottom leg stays extended for the duration of the series.
- Keeping the energy reaching out through your flexed heels, lift your top leg up about six to eight inches from the floor. From here, make tiny pulses upward 20 times. Holding your leg at the highest point of your lift, draw one-inch circles with your heel for 20 reps.
- Keeping your top leg lifted, bend and straighten your knee. Do this 20 times while not letting your thigh lower as you press through the heel to lengthen your top leg to the straightened position. For an even greater burn, finish this series with lifts in a bigger range of motion, taking the foot all the way toward the ceiling and back down, 10-20 times.
Standing Booty Kicks
A do-anywhere exercise, try standing booty kicks the next time you're brushing your teeth.
- Stand tall, and place your hands on your hips.
- Put all the weight in your right leg, keep both legs straight, and lift your left leg directly behind you. Let your glutes do all the work. Keep your left foot flexed, and work on lifting your heel as high as you can without leaning your torso too far forward. Engage your abs to help you stay balanced.
- Then lower your left leg so it's parallel with your right, but don't let it touch the ground. Then lift it back up behind you.
- Repeat this move 20 times at a moderate pace, and then lift your leg another 20 times so it's slightly out to the side to target your outer glutes.
- Then do the other leg, 20 times behind you and 20 times diagonally out to the side.
Beyoncé's Butt Workout
If you're working to tone your backside, like Super Bowl halftime star Beyoncé, then we have three easy moves you can do at home. But these are not your typical lunges and squats; these moves are fun variations to tone your glutes from a variety of angles.
Gwyneth Paltrow's Butt-Shaping Moves
Gwyneth Paltrow credits her longtime trainer Tracy Anderson with giving her butt an overhaul. Tracy helped transform Gwyneth's self-described saggy and square-shaped butt into a lifted, rounded, and shapely backside. We learned three of Gwyneth's favorite butt-toning moves directly from her trainer — just in time to help you rock your skinny jeans. Add these exercises (bonus: all three exercise are full-body moves) to your workout routine, feel the burn, and see the lift! Watch the video to learn the moves.
Lady Gaga's Booty Workout
Known for her crazy costumes and her cut abs, Lady Gaga also has quite a shapely backside. To get the scoop on her booty moves, we talked to her trainer Harley Pasternak. Here, he shows us three exercises you can do to tone your tush.
Victoria's Secret Workout: Butt Exercises With Trainer Justin Gelband
We've always been curious about how the Victoria's Secret Angels prep for their annual runway show. Lucky for us, one of our editors was invited to work out with model Candice Swanepoel and the Angel's trainer, Justin Gelband. The secret to rocking undies on the runway? Lots of glute work with ankle weights. Learn the moves when you watch the video.
10-Minute Sexy-Backside Workout
Here at POPSUGAR Fitness, we know you're pressed for time during the busy Summer season, but we're sure you can find 10 minutes to work your backside. We tapped Sadie Lincoln, founder of Barre3, to create a quick home workout for the glutes and hamstrings. Press "play" and follow along as Sadie leads you through a series of moves to tone your backside.