Skip the Squats, and Do These 15 Booty-Sculpting Moves Instead
Squats have their place in strength training, but there are plenty of other butt exercises out there! Mix up your routine, and try out the following moves that tone and lift your derrière. Who knows? You might say "so long" to squats (for now) and find a new favorite exercise in the bunch.
Single-Leg Forward Reach
Similar to yoga's Warrior 3, this exercise fires up your core by challenging your balance. As you move in and out of the pose, you will be working the back of your body too.
- Stand with all your weight in your left foot, abs engaged and chest lifted.
- Reach your torso forward as you lift your right leg behind you. Reach your arms out in front of you for balance as your torso and leg come parallel to the floor.
- Hold this position for a moment, and reach through your right heel to engage the back of the right leg.
- Moving in one piece, lower your right leg toward the floor as you return to standing upright, resting the right foot lightly on the ground. This completes one rep.
- Do 15 reps before switching sides.
Seriously effective for toning the entire back of your body, deadlifts are a must-do move.
- 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. Looking forward, not at the ground, will help you avoid rounding your back. Keep the weights close to, almost touching, your legs.
- Squeeze your glutes to slowly pull yourself up. Be sure not to use your back or round your spine!
- Do three sets of 12 reps.
Single-Leg Bridge Kicks
We love this backside move that works the hamstrings, too.
- Lie on your back, and place your hands on the floor for stability as you bend one leg and lift the other leg off the ground.
- Pressing your heel into the floor, lift your pelvis up, keeping your body in a stiff bridge position.
- Slowly lower your body to the floor and repeat three sets of 15 reps on each side.
This move fires up your glutes through a large range of motion combining the benefits of a deadlift with a deep single-leg squat without putting extra pressure on your knees. What's not to love?
- Holding a 10-pound dumbbell in your right hand, stand on your left leg with your right foot lifted.
- Keeping your back flat, bend your left knee while bending forward at your hips to lightly touch the dumbbell to the ground. Keep your right knee bent and your right leg close to your body.
- Push through your left heel and return to the starting position to complete one rep; try to keep your right foot off the ground as you complete all your reps.
- Do 12 reps each leg for a set, and do two to three sets.
If you're new to strength training, try this exercise without a dumbbell and work up to adding weight.
Side Lunge to Curtsy
Target your outer tush and your inner thighs with this move.
- Holding a dumbbell in your right hand, side lunge to the left, bringing your right hand to your left foot. Lower your booty as much as possible. Keep your toes pointed forward and your left knee bent to no more than 90 degrees.
- Push off gently with your left foot, and come into a curtsy position with your left 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 to 15 reps, switch sides. Do three sets total.
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.
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.
- Hold a kettlebell (between 10 and 20 pounds) in your right hand, and lift your left foot slightly off the ground.
- Keeping your back neutral, lean your entire torso forward while raising your left leg, which should stay in line with your body. The kettlebell will lower toward the ground. Keep your left 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.
Banded Booty Kicks
Tone your tush and outer thighs in one minute.
- Hold on to either end of your resistance band, and place the center of the band around the sole of your left foot. Place your elbows and knees on the ground so your back is straight.
- Hold the band firmly, draw your belly in, and extend your left leg straight behind you. Then draw your knee forward, but don't let it touch the ground.
- Repeat for a total of three sets of 15 to 20 reps on each leg.
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 or a medicine ball in front of you with arms extended.
- Take a large step diagonally forward with your left 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 dumbbell toward your chest.
- Extend your legs, lift your left knee and bring it in toward your chest, and lower your arms. Step back with your left 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 to 20 reps on each leg. Do two sets.
This rowing variation works the backside beautifully, but it also targets the hamstrings and upper back.
- 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.
Walking up flights of stairs is great for your tush, but stepping up onto a chair is an even more effective move.
- Stand in front of your chair and place your left foot in the center of the seat.
- Step up onto the chair and bring your right knee forward and up.
- Lower yourself back to the floor, with the foot landing quietly.
- Switch legs and repeat to complete one rep. Do 20 reps total.
Here are some more variations of the basic step-up.
Work the deep glute muscles and lift your tush with this classic exercise that reminds us of an old-school Jane Fonda move.
- Start on all fours with hands underneath your shoulders and knees under your hips. Keeping the knee bent 90 degrees, lift the left leg until it's parallel to the floor.
- Keep the left thigh still as you straighten your left knee, kicking your leg out to the side. Don't let the leg lower as you kick it.
- Bend the left knee back to 90 degrees, then lower the leg. This completes one rep.
- Do three sets of 20 reps per side.
Deep Reverse Lunge
Be sure to take a big step back! When you deepen your lunge, 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 to 15 reps.
Elbow Plank Donkey Kick
Working your glutes and hamstrings in an elbow plank will also work your core.
- 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 the 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.
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 left leg, keep both legs straight, and lift your right leg directly behind you. Let your glutes do all the work. Keep your right 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 right leg so it's parallel with your left, 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.