Fact: Just about every female client that I work with has the goal of getting a nicer, firmer, and stronger derrière. For the record, this is something I encourage wholeheartedly. Having a better—and fitter—butt isn’t just great for looking better in a bikini. A stronger butt is great for your lower back, for strengthening your pelvis, and for improving your balance and posture.
However, most women have a problem achieving results in the better backside department, and it’s usually because seeing results is difficult when you’re using conventional exercises such as lunges and squats. In fact, you need to try some different movements in order to get the right muscles to engage.
The best exercises to target your butt involve moves such as hip extensions, abductions, and external rotations with different weights and tension. If you struggle with strengthening and building your glutes, start by adding the exercises that follow into your routine 2 to 3 times per week and you’re guaranteed to see results. So read on for the 5 best exercises you need to do for a perfect butt. And for more great exercise advice, don’t miss these 4 Amazing Ways to Lose Weight While Walking for Just 20 Minutes.
One of the biggest training mistakes women make when trying to work their butt is not going through a proper warmup to get their glutes activated in the first place. If you can’t feel a muscle working, then you’ll have a hard time recruiting and building it. A good warmup I like to use to get my glutes warmed up? Some lateral band walks.
To do them, start by putting a loop band with medium tension above your knees. With your hips pushed back and knees soft, begin stepping out to the left. As you step, lead with your heel and don’t let your knee cave in. Go out for at least 20-30 steps, then move to the right for the other side.
And if you prefer walking for your exercise, make sure you’re aware of the The Secret Trick for Walking for Exercise, According to Health Experts at Harvard University.
The Romanian Deadlift (RDL) is a great exercise to teach you to load your hips and build your glutes. To perform the movement, grab a pair of dumbbells and have them in front of you. Keeping your chest tall and knees soft, push your hips back while dragging the weights down your thigh. Once you get a nice hamstring stretch, drive your hips forward, squeezing your glutes to finish. Aim for sets of 10-12 reps.
The hip thrust is an amazing exercise to isolate and target your glutes. It’s good to do the single-leg version with either a dumbbell or barbell in order to work on any imbalances. Performing the single leg version also forces the glute to work hard to stabilize itself.
Start the movement by placing a barbell across your lap or a dumbbell on the working leg. Keeping your core tight, extend your hip up by pushing through your heel. Squeeze hard at the top for 2 seconds, and then lower your leg under control before performing another rep. Perform 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps.
When it comes to single leg movements, such as lunges and split squats, you can adjust the exercise to focus more on quads or glutes simply by changing your body positioning. The more upright you are, the more quad you’ll target. But when you have a forward lean, the more hip flexion is involved, which leads to you targeting your glutes.
One of my favorite single leg movements is the Bulgarian split squat, and you can do it with a forward lean to really emphasize the glute. As you come down and up, maintain tension in your heel and your hip. If done right, your glutes should be on fire during the set. Shoot for 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps each leg. And for more news that can help you get healthier starting now, see here for The Secret Trick for Better Exercise, Says New Study.
This is a great exercise to use either as a warmup or finisher for your glutes, which you’ll really feel working during this exercise, as you’ll be focusing on extending your hips while they’re externally rotated.
Start the movement by laying on your back with your feet together and hips externally rotated with a dumbbell on your lap. Keeping your core tight, perform a bridge in this position, squeezing your glutes hard at the top. Aim for 3-4 sets of 20-25 reps, with a 30-60 second rest in between. And for more on the importance of having proper form at all times during strength training, see here for The Dangers of Taking a Virtual Fitness Class, According to Experts.