If You Do Squats Every Day to Build Your Butt, Here's What a Trainer Wants You to Know

When you're trying to build bigger, stronger glute muscles, simple bodyweight exercises like squats get real tempting. You can easily pump out a quick set in your room, at work, or in the kitchen waiting for your dinner to cook. But as good as that quick burn feels, it might not be doing much to get you the results you want.

"While squats and their variations are great for the glutes, we can't forget other vital exercises that shape and lift," said Jackie Vick, an NCSF-certified personal trainer at Gold's Gym and Gold's AMP coach. Will squats help you strengthen your glutes? Yes. Will only bodyweight squats with no weights? After a while, no.

"We are creatures of habit. Eventually, our habits become easy and so do our workout habits," Jackie explained. Mixing up your exercises and your tempo is vital, she told POPSUGAR, to continue growing your glutes and pushing past muscle-building plateaus.

If you love squats, you can still do them pretty often, though perhaps not every day; rest days are important as well, giving your muscles time to recover, rebuild, and get bigger and stronger. But if squats are something you want to keep in your routine, Jackie said adding weight is essential. Here are a few weighted squat variations to get you started, plus a guide on how to choose the right weight. Remember to stretch out your glutes afterward, as well. That active recovery, Jackie said, helps to relax your muscles and give you a better performance, which leads to better results. Try these seven glute stretches to start.

You should also pay close attention to your form, making sure to lower until your thighs are parallel to the ground. And when you push back up to standing, Jackie said, remember to squeeze your glutes at the top. That isolates your glute muscles, she told POPSUGAR, which increases your muscle activation.

As far as other moves to mix into your routine, Jackie had a few suggestions. These are all "outstanding" moves that she says will supplement your sculpting routine:

  • Split squat
  • Lunge (weighted and bodyweight)
  • Deadlift
  • Leg press
  • Glute bridge
  • Straight-leg kickback

Keep reading to see how to do each move. If you love squats, keep doing 'em — but there's no need to force yourself to fit them in every day. Try one of these replacements instead to work your glutes in different ways. The results won't disappoint.

Alternating Forward Lunge
POPSUGAR Photography | Benjamin Stone

Alternating Forward Lunge

  • Stand tall with your feet hips-width distance apart. Bend your elbows at your sides, or rest your hands on your hips.
  • Step forward with your right foot, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Keep your front knee directly above your ankle, and lower your left knee to just above the floor.
  • Keep the weight in your heels as you push back to the starting position.
  • Repeat stepping with your left foot this time, completing one rep.
Elevated Split Squat
POPSUGAR Photography | Benjamin Stone

Elevated Split Squat

If you're just starting, do a regular split squat — similar to a lunge, but holding most of your weight on your front foot. If that feels easy, progress to the elevated split squat, shown here.

  • 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 is one rep.
Romanian Deadlifts
POPSUGAR Photography | Kat Borchart

Romanian Deadlifts

  • Stand upright 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 hips (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 is one rep.
Leg Press
POPSUGAR Photography | Tamara Pridgett

Leg Press

  • Before getting started, add weight to the machine; 25- to 35-pound plates on each side is a good starting point. If this is too heavy or too light, feel free to adjust the weight.
  • Sit on the seat, and place your feet hips-width apart on the footplate.
  • Once your feet are in place, press the footplate with both feet as you simultaneously disengage the safety latches on the side of the seat with your hands.
  • With your feet still on the footplate, bend your knees, letting the footplate come toward your body. Once your knees are at a 90-degree angle, press the footplate up and straighten your legs. Be sure not to lock your knees.
  • This counts as one rep.
  • Once you've completed a set, press the footplate and engage the safety latches.
Traditional Bridge Exercise

Traditional Bridge Exercise

  • On your mat, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Be sure to keep your feet underneath your knees, not in front. Plant your palms by each side, face down.
  • Raise your hips up to the ceiling, tensing your abs and squeezing your butt as you do. You should be making a long diagonal line with your body, from shoulders to knees.
  • Hold for a few seconds, making sure your spine doesn't round and your hips don't sag. Keep your abs and butt muscles engaged.
  • Lower down to the ground. This is one rep.

Once the traditional glute bridge starts to feel easy, you can progress to the weighted glute bridge.

Standing Kickbacks

Standing Kickbacks

  • Stand upright with your feet together, your back straight, your hands on your hips, and your abs engaged.
  • Plant your left leg with a slight bend at the knee. It will be your balance leg.
  • Keeping both legs straight, lift your right leg directly behind you using your glute.
  • Lift your heel as high as you can without leaning too far forward. Squeeze your glute.
  • Then lower your right leg so it's parallel with your left without letting it touch the ground.
  • This is one rep. Make sure to do equal reps on both legs.