25 Exercises You Should Be Doing If You Want a Stronger, Firmer Butt
If you're bored with basic squats and lunges, here are some new moves for working your backside. To start targeting your glutes, grab an exercise ball, weights, and a resistance band — your backside will be in tip-top shape in no time!
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. This counts as one rep.
Lying on your belly and doing double leg lifts really works your hamstrings, booty, and back. You'll be in superhero strength in no time!
- 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.
A great move for the butt and core — double win!
- 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.
All you need is a bench, curb, or 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. This counts as one rep.
For a more advanced version, you can kick the left knee up as you step up.
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.
Without a kettlebell, you can do this exercise anywhere, but adding weight makes this exercise more effective and challenging.
- Stand tall holding a kettlebell with your right hand with feet hip-width apart.
- Place your weight in your left leg, keeping a slight bend in the knee, and bring your right leg behind you.
- Exhale, pulling your abs toward your spine, and tip your torso forward while lifting your right leg up as your torso lowers, until it comes almost parallel to the floor. Focus on the glutes doing the work.
- Then lower your right leg back to return to your starting position as you return to standing, but don't let the right toes touch the ground. This completes one rep.
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 rep.
This side-kick exercise looks like an old-school move, but this exercise targets muscles that give your butt that lifted look.
- 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, and then lower the leg. This completes one rep.
Bridge on BOSU
Grab a BOSU band and try this targeted move.
- Lie flat on your back on a mat with heels on the BOSU and knees bent, with your arms at your sides. Feet should be hip-distance apart.
- Slowly raise your pelvis up toward the ceiling to a point where your knees, hips, and shoulders are in one line.
- At the top of the movement, be sure to really squeeze your glutes while you hold the position for five seconds.
- Now slowly return to the start position to complete one rep.
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.
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 seconds. This is considered one rep.
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. This counts as one rep.
Straight-Leg Bridge With Stability Ball
This exercise-ball move is great for working the core, too.
- Lie flat on your back and place the ball under your heels, with your knees slightly bent.
- Press heels firmly into the ball to raise your hips off the ground, coming into a bridge and actively squeezing your glutes as you lift.
- With control, slowly release your bum back down to the floor. This counts as one rep.
Here's a move that'll not only work your booty but also your 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). This counts as one rep.
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. Be sure to keep your pelvis level throughout your reps.
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. This counts as one rep.
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. This counts as one rep.
It might be basic, but the squat is one of the best moves you can to do to tone your backside.
- Stand with your feet hip distance apart (holding a dumbbell optional)
- Now 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. The knee should track toward your second toe. Squat down as low as you can, keeping your head and chest lifted, your spine long, and your shoulders relaxed. Do not round your spine!
- Press through your heels and slowly straighten your legs to stand up. Make sure to keep your spine neutral. Do not round your back. This counts as one rep.
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.
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. This counts as one rep.
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. This counts as one rep.
A favorite core exercise for runners, this move works your hamstrings, low back, and glutes.
- Lie on your back with your arms at your sides; press your heels into the ball side of the BOSU, and lift your pelvis up until your knees, pelvis, and shoulders form a straight line.
- Hold your bridge while you lift your right knee toward your chest, until your hip is at a 90-degree angle. Return the heel to the ball, and lift the left knee. Do not let your pelvis sag or your back overarch while lifting and lowering your knees. This completes one rep.
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. This counts as one rep.
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. This completes one rep.
Lying Hamstring Curl
A great move for your core, butt, and legs!
- 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.