Summer is here! Summer means swimsuits, and swimsuits mean that your booty is going to be on display for all the world (or at least the beach) to see. If you’re feeling less than ready, or simply want to give things a quick tone and tighten, give these 10 tried-and-true exercises a go. Your booty will thank you…
1) Hip Thrusters
Hip thrusters are the number one exercise for your butt, using more muscle fibers in your glutes than any other exercise. Begin by lying down on your back. While pressing though your heels, raise your hips towards the ceiling, then control slowing down the movement back down towards the ground. At the top of the exercise, focus on squeezing your glutes to feel the activation in your lower back. Another variation is to perform this with your rear delts on a bench using a barbell across your hips. Both variations ensure great glute activation. For best results, repeat this movement for 10-15 reps or until failure.
Traditional squats are the second best exercise for booty gains. Not only do they build your glutes but they also help develop muscles in your quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. Once you’ve mastered the correct form, you can try adding weights and practice other variations. Start by standing with your feet just over shoulder width apart. Keep your back in a neutral position, and keep your knees centered over your feet. Slowly bend your knees, hips and ankles, lowering until you reach a 90-degree angle. Engage your core the whole time and return to standing position. Focus on activating your glutes throughout the entire movement. Depending on weight choice, repeat 15-20 reps with light weight or 10-15 reps with heavy weight.
3) Kickbacks (aka Donkey Kicks)
This exercise will be sure to get your glutes fired up if they aren’t already! Not only will you be activating your glutes, but your abs and hamstrings will feel this exercise too. Start in a tabletop position. Hands should be directly beneath your shoulders with knees below your hips. Bring one leg up in the air with a bent knee and squeeze your glutes at the top. Repeat on the same leg for 15 reps, then start back in the same beginning position and repeat on the other leg. For more of a challenge, place a dumbbell behind your knee, add some ankle weights or try this same movement on your hands and toes.
4) Walking Lunges
Walking lunges are one of the best booty exercises to build muscle and help get your heart rate up. This exercise can be performed with or without weights. Begin in a standing position, then lunge one leg forward, placing the majority of your weight in your front heel. This will help hold your balance and put more emphasis on your glutes. Try to bring your back knee as close to the floor as possible and don’t forget to engage your core. Bring your back foot to join the other and repeat the lunge walking in a forward motion. Repeat for at least 20 reps total—10 on each leg. If you want a challenge, try 100 body weight walking lunges in the beginning of your workout for a great leg and booty pump!
5) Curtsey Lunges
If you’re looking to shape your booty, this exercise is a must! The curtsey lunge directly activates your gluteus medius, which is one of the three muscles in your glutes (the one that specifically tightens and lifts your butt). Begin standing up with weights in your hands. Step one foot back and across to the opposite side while bringing your knee to the floor. Then step your feet back together. Make sure to step back and across to ensure a full range of motion. To increase the intensity level, try using heavier dumbbells, placing a barbell on your back or stepping down from a higher-level box. Depending on your weight choice, complete 15-20 reps on each side for light weight or 10-15 reps on each side for heavy weight.
6) Lateral Lunges
Lunges, lunges, and more lunges! This is the most wonderful thing about working out. The variety of exercises for your glutes is amazing! Lateral lunges also target the inner and outer thighs, and hips. Begin with your feet parallel, facing forward and hip-width apart. Tighten your core and keep your weight in your heels. You can use two dumbbells or a barbell for this exercise. Step directly to the side, keeping your knee and foot facing forward. This is very important; you don’t want to let your knee or toe face outward. Put your weight back into your straight leg and step together, repeating 15 reps on each side.
7) Step Ups
Time to really get your heart rate up! Step ups are a great booty exercise to ensure muscle activation and fat loss. These will help increase your squat and deadlift strength by fixing strength imbalances that are holding back your progress on bilateral leg exercises. This exercise is done with one leg so it’s also easier on your lower back and will help to improve your balance. Begin with a knee-high step or a bench that you feel comfortable with. Place one foot on the box, bench or step and push through your heel while bringing your other knee to your chest for extra core work. Step down and repeat for a total of 10 reps on one side, and then 10 on the other.
8) Sumo Deadlifts
Deadlifts are a great way to build lower body and core strength. Sumo deadlifts are an even better way to build booty strength and gains! The sumo deadlift is better for the hip structures, mobility levels and comfort. It’s also far less demanding on the lower back and is a much safer option compared to a conventional deadlift. Begin in a wide stance and place your weight in front of you. You can begin with dumbbells and work progressively towards a barbell. Put your weight in your heels, keep your chest up and pull the weight towards your body and back. Maintain a neutral spine throughout the entire lift and continue to spread the floor with your feet. Begin with 15 reps and once you feel comfortable, use a barbell if available and work your way up to an 8-10 rep max with heavier weight.
9) Band Squats
If you don’t have a band and want to work your booty, you should get one ASAP! Band squats are one of the best ways to take your basic squat to another level. By using a band, you increase the activation of your gluteus medius, which is a commonly forgotten muscle in your glutes. Make a conscious effort to focus on pressing your knees outward to activate this muscle. The band should be right above your knees. As you squat down with a neutral spine and weight in your heels, push your knees out and maintain a 90-degree angle between your hips and feet. Repeat for a high rep range of 15-25 reps.
10) Plié Squats
This exercise strengthens the legs, glutes and calves. It also helps to increase the range of motion in your hips. Start with a dumbbell or kettle bell in your hand and your feet spread wide apart. Tuck your tailbone to maintain a neutral spine and roll your pelvis backwards. Keep your shoulders back and bend at the knees to come down into a squat until your thighs are parallel. Return to a standing position by pushing up and through your heels, while squeezing your glutes. Repeat for a high rep range of 15-25 reps. If you want to challenge yourself more, increase your weight or place the dumbbells on your shoulders.