Get Stronger Legs and a Bigger Butt by Doing This Trainer's 2 Favorite Exercises

Kelsey Wells
Kelsey Wells

If your goal is to build more muscle and improve your strength, you've definitely got to begin incorporating strength training into your routine. Not just because we love it, but because research says it works. According to a 2006 review in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, "The general benefits for men and women include an increase in bone mass and lean mass, improved body composition (due to decreased fat mass), cardiovascular fitness, strength, and an enhanced sense of well-being."

To improve your overall strength, NASM-certified personal trainer and creator of the PWR program Kelsey Wells recommends incorporating barbell exercises into your workout routine. "I absolutely love barbell exercises," Kelsey told POPSUGAR. "Everything you do with a barbell is a compound exercise. It strengthens your whole body, essentially, because your core has to be engaged."

Kelsey said that using the barbell can be extremely intimidating — even she was afraid to use it when she started lifting weights. Initially, she wasn't strong enough to lift the barbell, but now it's become a staple in her routines, with her favorite moves being sumo squats and deadlifts.

If you're new to weightlifting, we don't advise using the barbell to perform these moves. First, master each movement with just your bodyweight and then begin to add dumbbells into the mix. Once you've mastered the dumbbells, you can graduate to using the barbell.

To learn how to do each move, continue reading.

Dumbbell Sumo Squat
POPSUGAR Photography | Kathryna Hancock

Dumbbell Sumo Squat

  • Stand with your feet wide, toes pointing out, holding both dumbbells in front of the chest. Bend your knees, lowering your hips deeply so your thighs are parallel with the floor. Make sure to keep your weight back in your heels.
  • Rise back up, straightening your legs completely and squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement to get the most from the exercise.
  • This completes one rep.
Romanian Deadlift
POPSUGAR Photography

Romanian Deadlift

  • Holding the barbell (or two dumbbells at your side), keep 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!