If you've been sitting all day lately—or simply are craving a new fitness goal—we're willing to bet you've been thinking at least a little about strengthening and lifting your behind. Well, great news: There are lots of versatile butt-lifting exercises so you never get bored on lower-body day.
For lifted and toned glutes, you want to focus on the area where the gluteus maximus connects to the hamstring with standing exercises that implement hip hinges, or floor exercises that work the hamstrings.
Putting in the work to strengthen your backside does more for you than give you peachy aesthetic results. It’s essential for keeping your body healthy. Another perk of butt-strengthening exercises is that they help alleviate lower back and joint pain. These moves are crucial for anyone out there who works a desk job or has any long periods of sitting, which causes your hip flexors and quads to become excessively tight, and in turn, prevents your glutes from firing properly.
Your butt-lifting workout plan
Equipment: mini loop resistance band, medium/heavy dumbbells, chair or apple box, stability ball (optional)
Good for: glutes, hamstrings, outer thighs, quads
Time: 15-30 minutes
Instructions: Start by choosing four exercises from the list below—two standing exercises and two on the floor. Complete 12-15 reps each. (Switch sides if needed before moving onto the next exercise.) That's one set. Go through all four exercises and repeat. Do 3-4 sets.
1. Glute bridge
How to: Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor 12 to 16 inches from your butt. Brace your core, then press into your heels and squeeze your glutes to raise your hips toward the ceiling. Hold the position for two seconds before lowering to start. That's one rep.
2. Donkey kick
How to: Get on all fours on top of your mat. Keep your right knee bent at 90 degrees as you lift your leg into the air until your body forms a straight line from shoulders to knee, your right toe kicking toward the ceiling. Reverse the movement to return to start. That's one rep.
3. Single-leg deadlift
How to: Stand on your left leg with your right palm facing towards your thighs. Extend your left arm to the side for balance. Keep your left leg slightly bent. Lean forward, extending right leg straight behind you, until your torso is parallel to the floor, and your hand is almost touching the floor. Drive into your left heel to return to the standing position. That’s one rep.
4. Bridge hip cook lift
How to: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hug your right leg toward your chest and hold onto that knee. Engage your glutes and lift your hips up until your left thigh forms a straight line with your back. Lower down to the mat. That's one rep.
5. Squat pulse
How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands clasped in front of your chest. Push your hips back and bend your knees to lower into a squat. Lift your body up a couple of inches, then lower back down. That's one rep.
6. Banded leg lift
How to: Start on your hands and knees, with a resistance band wrapped around your thighs. Raise your left leg into the air behind you, foot flexed. Stop when it's parallel with your hips. Engaging your glutes, lift your leg up a couple inches, then lower back to hip height. That's one rep.
7. Dumbbell deadlift
How to: Holding two dumbbells in your hands, stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Position the weights in front of your thighs, palms facing your body. Keeping your knees slightly bent, press your hips back as you hinge at the waist and lower the dumbbells toward the floor. Squeeze your glutes to return to standing. That's one rep.
8. Modified pistol squat
How to: Sit on a chair with a dumbbell held in both hands in front of your chest. Lift your right foot so it's hovering above the floor. Push through your left heel and rise up to standing on one leg, while bringing your right leg up to a 90-degree angle at hip height. Reverse the movement and lower back to start. That's one rep.
Pro tip: Do this move with just your bodyweight first to nail your form before adding more challenge.
9. Weighted fire hydrant
How to: Get on all fours on top of your mat. Tuck a two to five-pound dumbbell in the crease of your right knee. Keeping that leg bent at 90 degrees, lift it out to the side, stopping at hip height. Return to start. That's one rep.
10. Lateral squat walk
How to: Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Maintaining a tight core, step your left foot out to the side, followed by your right. Then step back to the left; that’s one rep.
11. Bird dog
How to: Start on all fours (AKA tabletop position) with wrists under shoulders and knees under hips. Raise your left arm in front of you and right leg behind, forming a straight line from left hand to right foot. Hold for a second, then return to start. That's one rep.
12. Supported single-leg deadlift
How to: Stand on your left leg with a dumbbell in your right hand, palm facing toward your thighs. left arm by your side. Step your right leg a few feet behind your body, lift your heel, and press your right toes into the ground for balance. Keep your left leg slightly bent. Lean forward, hinging at the hips with a flat back while lowering the weight toward the floor. Drive into your left heel to return to the standing position. That’s one rep.
13. Single-leg glute bridge
How to: Lie on your back with your arms out to the side, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Keeping your thighs aligned, straighten one leg so that your toes point up. Squeeze your glutes to lift your hips evenly off the floor, then lower. That’s one rep.
14. Banded glute bridge with hip abduction
How to: Wrap a resistance band around thighs and lie on back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor and arms by sides pressing into mat. This is your starting position. Brace core, then press into heels and squeeze glutes to raise hips toward ceiling. Pause, then press knees out wide. Return to start. That's one rep.
15. Stability ball hamstring rollout
How to: Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet on top of a stability ball. Brace your core, then press into your heels and squeeze your glutes to raise your hips toward the ceiling. Lift your left leg straight up into the air. Hold the position as you straighten your right leg. Then, engage your hamstrings, bend your right knee, and bring your foot toward your butt. That's one rep.
16. Kang squat
How to: Stand up straight with your feet wider than hip-distance apart, toes pointed slightly outward. Place your hands behind your head. Hinge at your hips and lower your torso down until it is nearly parallel with the ground. Then, sit your hips back and bend at the knees until your thighs are parallel with the ground. Push through your heels and reverse the movement, returning to stand. That's one rep.
17. Banded hamstring walk out
How to: With resistance band wrapped around thighs, lie down on back, bend knees, plant feet, and lift hips into the air so body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees. Keep hips still, then lift left foot and step it a couple of inches forward, followed by the right. Repeat until legs are almost fully extended, then reverse the small steps and return to start. That’s one rep.
18. Isometric lunge
How to: Stand up tall, then take a large step forward with your right foot, coming on to the ball of your left. Arms are by sides. This is your starting position From here, bend knees and lower body until knees are bent to 90-degree angles while bringing hands to clasp in front of chest. Hold for up to 30 seconds. That's one rep.
19. Hip CARs
How to: Get on all fours on top of your mat. Keep your right knee bent at 90 degrees as you lift your right leg away from your body, then rotate your leg until your knee is behind your body in a donkey kick position. Return to start. That's one rep.
20. Jump squat
How to: Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart, toes forward, arms at sides. Bend knees, stick butt back, and lower down into a squat, bringing hands together in front of chest. Then explosively jump up as high as possible off floor, swinging arms straight behind body for momentum. Land softly on the balls of feet and immediately lower into next squat. That's one rep.
21. Resistance band deadlift
How to: Start standing with feet hip-distance apart and a resistance band wrapped around arches. Grab the top of the band with both hands, arms straight, and press hips backward into a hinge position. Drive down through heels to stand up straight, squeezing glutes at the top. That's one rep.
22. Goblet squat
How to: Stand with feet hip-width apart and hold a weight in front of chest, elbows pointing toward the floor. Push hips back and bend knees to lower into a squat. Push yourself back to start. That's one rep.
24. Banded single-leg tempo deadlift
How to: Start standing on left leg with foot over the middle of a long resistance band and one end of the band in either hand. Push hips back to hinge at waist while lowering torso toward floor and lifting straight right leg back behind body until both are parallel to floor. Drive through left heel to reverse the movement and return to starting position. That's one rep.
25. Lateral lunge with reach
How to: Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, hands at your side. With your right hand, reach down toward your foot, lowering your body until your left knee is bent 90 degrees. Immediately repeat on the other side. That's one rep.
26. Stability ball hip thrust
How to: Start with arms behind head (elbows wide), upper back pressed into stability ball (or elevated surface, like a couch), legs bent, feet flat on floor, and hips hovering above the floor. Lean back into stability ball and lift hips toward ceiling until thighs are parallel to mat. Return to start. That's one rep.
27. Standing glute kickback
How to: Stand with weight on right foot and left leg long behind body with toes pointed and resting on floor. Bend right knee slightly and hinge at hips to lower torso forward slightly. Clasp hands in front of body. This is your starting position. Then, engage through left glutes to kick straight left leg back and up until nearly parallel with floor. Slowly and with control, reverse the movement to return to start.
28. Isometric squat
How to: Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart and hands by sides. Push hips back and bend knees until thighs are nearly parallel to the ground bringing hands to clasp in front of chest. Hold for up to 30 seconds. That's one rep.
29. Fire hydrant
How to: Get on all fours. Keeping your right leg bent at 90 degrees, lift your leg out to your right side, stopping at hip height. Return to start. That's one rep.
30. Bodyweight squat
How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees, sit your hips back, and lower your body down until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Bring your arms forward as you lower down to keep your torso upright. Rise back up to start, squeezing your glutes and the top, and bringing your arms to your sides. That's one rep.
31. Bulgarian split squat
How to: Stand about two feet in front of a step; extend your right leg back and place the top of your foot on the step. (Optional: Hold a dumbbell in each hand.) That's your starting position. Bend your knees to lower your body as far as you can (or until your knee gently taps the ground), keeping your shoulders back, chest up, and hips facing forward. Pause, then press through your left heel to return to start. That's one rep.
32. Dumbbell sumo squat
How to: Start standing with feet shoulder-distance apart, toes turned out slightly, and arms extended in line with shoulders, right palm resting on back of left hand. Bend at knees and push hips back to lower down into a squat until thighs are parallel to floor. Pause, then drive through heels to stand up. That's one rep.
Why it rocks: Sumo squats work the inner thighs and glutes more than traditional squats.
33. Glute bridge march
How to: Start lying on back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Engage core, then press into heels and squeeze glutes to raise hips until body forms a straight line from knees to shoulders. Lift right knee toward chest. Pause, then lower right foot. Repeat with the other leg. That's one rep.
34. Ice skater
How to: Start standing at back of mat facing sideways with right leg crossed behind left, heel high, hips facing forward, and arms by sides. Push through left foot to jump sideways toward top of mat, landing on right foot and cross left leg behind body toward back diagonal. Reverse the movement by hopping onto left foot and repeating the same thing on the opposite side. That's one rep.
35. Resistance band kickback
How to: While standing, loop a resistance band around left foot, and hold the other end in both hands. Hinge upper body forward slightly. This is your start position. Press right leg backward until it's completely extended. Return to start. That's one rep.
You Might Also Like