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The 10 Best Butt Exercises for Women Who Want a Toned Booty

The best way to get the booty of your dreams? Get off it and work for it. And while lifting heavy is a surefire way to build gorgeous glutes, sometimes you want to get a little booty burn at home using your bodyweight alone. That’s where these best butt exercises for women-straight from trainer and YouTuber extraordinaire Kym Perfetto, aka @KymNonStop-come into play. (BTW she also has a killer circuit to torch your lower abs.)

How it works: Follow along with the video or the step-by-step moves below-as many reps as possible (AMRAP) for the time allotted. Repeat the entire circuit once for a quickie 5-minute butt workout, or repeat twice for double the burn and firm.

Squats

A. Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.

B. Shift weight back into heels and lower into a squat.

C. Return to standing, squeezing glutes at the top.

Do AMRAP for 30 seconds.

Pop Squats

A. Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.

B. Shift weight back into heels and lower into a squat.

C. Pop up to stand, jumping feet together, then immediately back out to starting position, lowering back into a squat.

Do AMRAP for 30 seconds.

Squats with Backwards Leg Extension

A. Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.

B. Shift weight back into heels and lower into a squat.

C. Return to standing and engage glutes to lift straight right leg behind body with foot flexed.

D. Return to starting position and repeat, alternating sides.

Do AMRAP for 30 seconds.

Walking Squats

A. Start in a squat position with feet wider than shoulder-width apart.

B. Remaining in squat position, step right foot forward, then left foot forward. Then step right foot back and left foot back.

Do AMRAP for 30 seconds.

Forward/Back Squat Jumps

A. Start in a squat position with feet wider than shoulder-width apart.

B. Remaining in squat position, hop forward about a foot, then hop backwards to start.

Do AMRAP for 30 seconds.

Single-Leg Deadlift Hop

A. Start balancing on slightly bent left leg, right leg hovering off the floor.

B. Bend at the hips to reach down and touch the floor with right hand, extending right leg backwards.

C. Drive right knee forward to a high knee and push off left foot to hop off the floor, landing back on left foot and reach down to begin next rep.

Do AMRAP for 30 seconds, then repeat for 30 seconds on the opposite side.

Sumo Burpees

A. Start with feet wider than shoulder-width apart apart.

B. Squat down to place hands flat on floor inside of feet. Hop feet back to high plank position.

C. Jump feet forward to land outside of hands, knees bent in a squat. Lift torso up to return to start.

Do AMRAP for 30 seconds.

Glute Bridges

A. Lie faceup with feet planted flat on the floor.

B. Press heels into the floor and lift butt off the ground, coming into a bridge position, forming a straight line from knees to shoulders.

C. Lower hips down to tap ground, then squeeze glutes to lift back up to bridge.

Do AMRAP for 30 seconds.

Bridge Squeezes

A. Start in a bridge position, feet flat on the floor, core tight and butt lifted.

B. Squeeze inner thighs to move knees toward each other. Repeat.

Do AMRAP for 30 seconds.

  • By Lauren Mazzo @lauren_mazzo

Photo: Ryan Kelly / Barre Harmony

Coveting a better behind isn’t just about aesthetics. A strong and sculpted butt is the secret to improving speed, power and overall sports performance, while also decreasing your risk of injury. After all, your glutes (made up of the gluteus minimus, gluteus medius and gluteus maximus) are the largest and strongest muscles in your body.

So how do you build a stronger backside? Squats are a good place to start. But if you really want to get your booty rock solid, it’s a good idea to incorporate weights, resistance bands, stability balls and even foam rollers into your glute workout. Here are 50 butt exercises that will help you think outside of the box when it comes to squats, lunges, glute bridges, leg lifts and more.

Butt Exercises: Squats, Lunges, Glute Bridges, Leg Lifts and More

Squat Low

Whether you love or hate ‘em, squats are one of the best butt exercises for strengthening your backside. Experts say that if you want to run faster, jump higher and lift heavier, squatting low is the way to go. They might look easy, but prepare to work when you add a barbell, slam ball or heel raise to the mix. These squat variations not only add some power to your jumps and kicks, but they also help improve your knee stability and range of motion. So how low can you go? Try these exercises to find out.

GIF: Daily Burn Power Cardio

1. Dumbbell Squat to Press

The beauty of compound exercise really shines through with this squat thruster. Using power from your glutes and lower body, you’ll press the dumbbells up overhead in one continuous movement.

2. Bulgarian Squat with Slam Ball

Want to amp up your split squat? Try balancing on a slam ball. Engaging your core will help keep your foot from rolling off the ball and move with control. Consider it a must-do if you want a workout that offers core strengthening and a butt lift.

3. Landmine Squat Press

Riding the line between free weights and fixed machines, the landmine is a great way to practice proper form with the squat. Feet should be hip-distance apart and the weight in your heels. Holding onto the landmine with both hands will help keep your chest upright while squatting.

4. Back Squat

Want to nail a badass move with the barbell? The back squat is a good start. Here, you want to sit your body straight down, weight in your heels, while keeping your chest and back upright. Check out more tips on how to nail this move here.

5. Lateral Pistol Squats on Rower

Aside from getting in a killer cardio workout, the rower can work your booty in surprising ways. This lateral pistol squat not only ignites your glutes, but also your inner thighs and quads.

Photo: Ryan Kelly / Barre Harmony

6. Sumo Squat

This barre-inspired bodyweight squat gives you the benefits of isometric exercise without putting pressure on your joints. You’ll not only get your glutes in gear, but your hamstrings and inner thighs, too.

GIF: Daily Burn Power Cardio

7. Squat Jump Tap

If you want to train like LeBron (or, ahem, Steph Curry), you’ll get a taste with this basketball-inspired move. As you jump up from the squat position, bring your legs together and pencil your arms up with the ball in your hands. It’s one of the best exercises for increasing power.

8. Tricep Extension Squat

You’ll give your triceps some TLC in this squat with extension. As you squat down, swing your arms slightly behind your hips. And then as you stand up straight, extend your arms overhead. Feel free to use a pair of dumbbells to add some weight.

9. Pencil Squat

If you’re someone who gets confused about know what to do with your arms in a squat, this move is for you. Reaching your hands up will help you focus on height, while getting your heart rate up, too.

10. Side to Side Squats with Bosu Ball

Testing your agility and coordination, these side-to-side squats will force you to get lower and move more precisely as you tap each foot on the BOSU ball. It’s a sneaky way to add in some core work, too.

Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365

11. Deep Squat with Heel Raise

Reminiscent of chair pose in yoga, the heel raise will get your calves and quads burning, as well as your back and shoulders. If you want to make it more challenging, alternate heel raises.

Photo: Pond5

12. Front Squat

Unlike a back squat where you place the barbell across your shoulders and lats, the barbell goes across your collarbone and in front of your body. This will force you to recruit more muscles in your core to maintain proper form.

GIF: Daily Burn 365

13. Diagonal Squat Thrust

A variation of the burpee, you’ll jump your feet forward from plank position to a diagonal squat with your hips squared to the front.

Next Up: Lunges

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24 Killer Bodyweight Moves for Your Butt

8. Diagonal squat

Stand with your feet wider than hip width, arms at your sides. Step right foot back on a diagonal, send hips back, and bend right knee. Your left leg will be straight with foot flexed. Keep your chest up and abs engaged. Return to starting position. Repeat on the other side.

9. Hip thrust single-arm reach

Sit on the floor, knees bent, feet hip-width apart. Place hands on the floor directly under your shoulders, fingers facing away from your body. Squeeze glutes to lift hips into a tabletop position and hold.

Reach right arm on a high diagonal across your body, keeping hips straight (no twisting). Lower hips and hand to the floor. Repeat on the other side.

10. Step-up

Stand in front of a bench, chair, or step. Place left foot on the bench and step up, engaging your left glute to lift. Do not push off your right foot.

Straighten left leg to stand tall, then slowly lower, sending hips back and bending left knee. Repeat on the other side.

Make it harder: The higher your step or bench, the more challenging the move will be.

11. Side lunge shift

Step your right foot to the side, send your hips back, and bend your right knee to lower into a side lunge. Staying low, shift to the other side, so left knee is bent and right leg is straight. Push off left heel to stand. Repeat, starting with your left foot stepping sideways.

Make it easier: Do not step. Keep your feet wide and shift from side to side, sending hips back to engage glutes.

12. Walking lunge

Step forward with your right foot. Use glutes, hamstrings, and core to lower into a lunge. Lift left foot and step forward, immediately dropping into a lunge on the other side. Continue to “walk” forward.

13. Single-leg hip lift

Lie faceup with knees bent, arms comfortably at your sides, and feet shoulder-width apart. Use both arms to hug left knee to your chest. Push up, engaging right glute and core, to lift hips off the floor.

Hold for a count of 5. Lower down and switch sides (so right knee is hugged. Lift again, this time engaging left glute.

Make it easier: Don’t hold at the top of the hip thrust.

14. Hip drive step-up

You’ll need a step for this move. Perform a hip drive. Step your left foot forward. Use glutes and hamstrings to stand. Place right foot on step. Engage your glutes and hamstrings to step up.

Step back down with the same foot, return to a kneeling position, then to a seated position. Repeat on the other side.

15. Side step-up

Stand with your right side facing a secure chair or bench and place right foot on the chair. Engaging your right glute, lift off the floor, straightening right leg.

As with the step-up, do not push off your left foot (the one on the floor). Focus on engaging only your right glute to lift. Lower by sending hips back and bending right leg.

16. Single leg sit-to-stand

You’ll need a chair or bench for this move. Sit on the edge of the chair with back straight, left leg straight out in front of you, and right leg bent with foot on the floor. Using only your right glute and right leg, push up and rise to a standing position.

You can leave your flexed left foot lightly touching the floor for balance, but don’t put any weight on it. Push hips back to slowly sit down. Repeat on the other side.

Make it harder: Keep your left foot lifted a few inches off the floor the entire time.

17. Crossover lunge

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and lift your left foot, stepping backward and to the right to cross behind right foot. From this crossed position, perform a lunge, engaging glutes, abs, and hamstrings to lower. Push off with your left foot to stand. Repeat on the other side.

13 Best Butt Exercises to Sculpt Strong Glutes at Home

  • Having strong glutes can help you prevent injury, improve performance and move better
  • Most people have weak glutes because of inactivity.
  • Butt exercises should target the muscles of the entire glute complex including the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus muscles.

Note: These glute exercises are not gender-specific — experts recommend them all for both men and women.

Everyone wants a better butt these days, and not just to look good in jeans. A strong set of glutes can stave off injuries, improve athletic performance, and help you move well as you age.

“Walking, running, jumping, change of directions, and, well, just about everything is better with strong glutes,” says Brett Jones, MS, ATC, CSCS, founder of Applied Strength.

And not to drop a truth bomb but, most of us need to be doing glute exercises — and aren’t. “Lack of use is the biggest reason so many people tend to have weak glutes,” says Cassandra York, PhD, MS, RD, CSCS, best-selling fitness author and a professor at Central Connecticut State University. “We don’t walk as much as we used to. We don’t take the stairs. And when we do move, we tend to be quad dominant,” says York.

Over time, having weak glutes can lead to hip, knee and low back pain. Athletes with glute weakness are also prone to acute injuries such as ACL tears and hamstring strains.

A good butt workout should target the muscles of the entire glute complex: the big, power-producing gluteus maximus, and the smaller, stabilizing gluteus medius and minimus. Below, York, Jones, and award-winning personal trainer Katie Gould share 13 effective butt exercises you can do at home with minimal equipment. All you need for these glute exercises is a flat resistance band/mini band and a kettlebell.

Glute exercises with bands

1. Clamshells

Place a light resistance band around both legs, just above your knees. Lie on one side with knees bent, hips stacked and feet together. Make sure your butt is not tucked. Exhale as you lift your top knee, keeping your feet together. Inhale as you return your knee to the starting position. Do 15 reps. Switch sides.

Targets: gluteus medius and minimus

2. Lateral stepping

Secure a flat resistance band just above your ankles and stand with your feet at about hip width, keeping feet forward. Keeping your weight in your heels, step your right foot laterally, maintaining the tension in the band. Keep the band taut as you step your left foot slightly to the right. Continue stepping sideways to your right for about 5 steps. Then step to your left to return to the starting position. Repeat three times.

Targets: gluteus medius and minimus

3. Hip thrusts with band

Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place a band above your knees. Exhale as you drive your heels into the ground and lift your hips as high as possible, keeping the band taut. Inhale as you slowly lower your hips back to the starting position. Do 12-15 reps.

Targets: gluteus maximus, hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteus medius and minimus, abdominals

4. Standing kickbacks with band

Place a band around your ankles. Shift your weight into your right foot and place the toes of your left foot on the ground about an inch behind your right foot, so there is tension in the band. Exhale as you kick your left leg back about six inches. Avoid arching your back and keep your knees straight. Inhale as you return your left foot to the starting position. Do 10-12 reps. Switch sides.

Targets: gluteus maximus, hamstrings, gluteus medius and minimus

Butt exercises with kettlebell

5. Deadlifts

Stand with your feet at shoulder width and position a heavy kettlebell between your feet. Hinge at your hips and bend your knees while lowering your hands to the kettlebell handle. Your shins should stay vertical. Gripping the handle, exhale as you drive through our heels to extend your hips and rise to standing. Inhale as you slowly lower the kettlebell back toward the ground by hinging at the hips and allowing your knees to bend as needed. Do 10 reps.

Targets: gluteus maximus, hamstrings, upper and lower back, abdominals

6. Kettlebell swings

Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width with a kettlebell about a foot in front of you. With your weight in your heels, hinge at your hips while lowering your hands to the kettlebell handle. Grab the kettlebell with an overhand grip, “Hike” the kettlebell back between your legs, catching the force of the moving kettlebell with your hips. Exhale as you swing the kettlebell forward by thrusting your hips, straightening your legs, and squeezing your glutes and abs. Once the kettlebell reaches chest height, inhale as you allow it to fall, and guide it back to the “hiked” position.

Targets: gluteus maximus, hamstrings, abdominals, upper and lower back, shoulders

7. Goblet squats

Stand with feet at shoulder width, holding a kettlebell at your chest. Inhale as you bend your knees and push your hips back to lower into a squat. Aim for your hips to come as low as your knees and avoid tucking your tailbone. Exhale and drive through your heels to rise to standing. Do 10 to 12 reps.

Targets: gluteus maximus, quadriceps, hamstrings, abdominals

8. Single-leg deadlifts

Holding a kettlebell in your left hand, stand on your right foot and lift your left foot off the ground.. Keeping your weight in your midfoot to heel, inhale as you hinge at your hips and slightly bend your knee to push your butt backward. Keep your shin vertical and hips squared forward. Exhale as you drive through your heel to return to standing. Do 10-12 reps. Switch sides.

Targets: gluteus maximus, hamstrings, gluteus medius and minimus, calves

Glute exercises with body weight

9. Reverse lunge to balance

Stand on your right foot and lift your left foot off the ground. Inhale as you step your left foot backward into a lunge, so that your left knee hovers above the ground. Exhale as you drive through your right heel to rise to a single-leg stance, bringing your left leg forward and up to hip height. Do 10-12 reps. Switch sides. Optional: Load this move by holding a kettlebell at your chest or a dumbbell in each hand.

Targets: gluteus maximus, quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus medius and minimus, calves

10. Single-leg hip thrusters

Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips to come into a bridge position. Lift your left leg off the ground and extend it in front of you, keeping your pelvis level. Inhale as you slowly lower your hips toward the ground. Exhale as you drive your right heel into the ground and lift your hips. Do 10-12 reps. Switch sides.

Targets: gluteus maximus, hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteus medius and minimus

11. Speed skaters

Stand with feet together, hips pushed back and knees slightly bent. Push off with your right foot and leap to your left, landing softly on your left foot. Push off with your left foot to leap back to the opposite side. Alternate sides for a total of 20 reps.

Targets: gluteus maximus, hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteus medius and minimus

12. Frog pumps

Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips to come into a bridge position with a neutral spine. Tuck your chin into your chest. Dig your elbows into the ground. Press the bottoms of your feet together and move your heels as close to your butt as possible. Inhale as you lower your hips toward the ground. Exhale as you lift your hips. Do 15 reps.

Targets: gluteus maximus, medius and minimus

13. Walking lunges

Step forward with your right foot and lower into a lunge, letting your left knee hover above the ground. Push off with your right foot to rise to a single-leg stance and step your left foot forward, immediately lowering into a lunge on this side. Alternate sides for a total of 20 reps.

Targets: gluteus maximus, quadriceps, hamstrings

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15 Butt Exercises That Don’t Require Weights

The glutes are the largest muscle in the body, so strengthening them is a smart move — not only for everyday life but for how you’ll feel as you lift heavy objects or sit from your 9 to 5 — or let’s be honest, longer than 5.

Don’t worry, you don’t need anything fancy to get a good glute workout. In fact, you don’t need weights to work your backside at all.

To see results, complete a glute workout twice a week. You’ll see results in just a month or two, no weights required.

Below are 15 glute exercises without weights that’ll shape and strengthen your derriere. Keep reading to learn how many sets and reps you need to craft a fulfilling routine.

The warmup

Complete 10 minutes of light to moderate cardio before jumping in. This could be power walking, jogging, biking, or even dancing around — whatever feels good and gets your blood pumping.

Mix 4 to 5 of these exercises for a kick-butt workout (pun intended)

1. Squat

A gold-standard glute exercise, squats are worth every ounce of effort. Go slow and controlled, focusing on good form, to target your backside in the most effective way.

Directions:

  1. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms down by your sides.
  2. Begin to bend your knees, bringing your arms up in front of you and pushing your butt back as if you’re going to sit in a chair. Ensure that your knees fall out, not in, and stop when your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  3. When you reach parallel, push up back to start with your weight in your heels.
  4. Repeat 3 sets of 12 reps.

2. Reverse leg lift

The key to an effective reverse leg lift is to isolate the glute during the movement, letting it push your leg up toward the sky.

Directions:

  1. Lie facedown on the ground, resting your face on your arms bent in front of you.
  2. Using your glute, raise your right leg off of the ground, taking it as high as you can while keeping your hips square to the ground. Flex your ankle throughout the movement.
  3. Return to start.
  4. Complete 12 reps on this leg, then switch. Complete 3 sets.

3. Curtsy squat

Curtsy squats target your gluteus medius, the outer glute muscle, for a well-rounded look and feel. The lower your squat, the more you’ll feel it.

Directions:

  1. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms down at your hips.
  2. Begin to bend your knees and, on the way down, step your right leg back and to the left in a curtsy motion.
  3. When your left thigh is parallel to the ground, push up through your left heel and back to start.
  4. Repeat 12 reps on this side and switch legs.

4. Split squat

Not only will split squats work your glutes, they challenge your balance — another bonus.

Directions:

  1. Take a large step forward with your right foot and distribute your weight evenly between your feet.
  2. Bend your knees and squat down, stopping when your right thigh is parallel to the ground.
  3. Push up through your right foot, completing 3 sets of 12 reps.
  4. Switch to your left foot and repeat.

5. Step-up

Step-ups are an ideal functional exercise, helping you move better in daily life. They’ll also make your glutes stronger.

Directions:

  1. Stand with a bench or step in front of you.
  2. Starting with your right foot, step up onto the bench, lightly tapping your left foot to the surface while keeping your weight in your right heel.
  3. Step your left foot back down to the floor while keeping your right foot on the bench.
  4. Repeat 3 sets of 12 reps, then switch legs.

6. Leg kickbacks

Even without weight, leg kickbacks will have your glutes feeling sore the next day.

Directions:

  1. Start on all fours, your hands directly underneath your shoulders and your knees directly underneath your hips. Keep your neck neutral and brace your core.
  2. Starting with the right leg, extend your knee, sending your right foot behind you, keeping your ankle flexed.
  3. Squeeze your glute at the top, then lower your leg back to start. Ensure that your hips stay square to the ground throughout the movement.
  4. Complete 12 reps on the right, then 12 on the left. Repeat for 3 sets.

7. Superman

This exercise works your entire posterior chain, including the glutes. Squeezing them throughout the movement will ensure good engagement.

Directions:

  1. Lie facedown on the ground with your arms and legs extended.
  2. Lift your chest and legs up off the ground as high as they will go. Keep your neck neutral.
  3. Return to start. Repeat for 3 sets of 12 reps.

8. Bridge

While squats put pressure on your lower back, bridge allows you target your glutes and hamstrings without back strain.

Directions:

  1. Lie on the ground, knees bent and feet on the floor. Your arms should be at your sides with your palms on the ground.
  2. Pushing through your heels, raise your body off of the ground, forming a straight line between your upper body and knees.
  3. Brace your core throughout the movement and squeeze your glutes at the top.
  4. Return to start. Repeat 3 sets of 12 reps.

9. Clamshell

Another exercise that hits your gluteus medius — an important muscle for pulling your leg away from the midline. This one may look simple but it’s truly effective.

Directions:

1. Lie on your right side with your knees bent and legs stacked on top of one another. Bend your right arm, bring your hand to head and hold up your upper body.

2. Keeping your feet together and knees bent, lift your right leg up as high as it will go.

3. Slowly return to start. Repeat 10 reps, then switch sides. Complete 3 sets.

10. Broad jump

Plyometric exercises like the broad jump require lots of force to execute, especially because you don’t get a running start. Using your glutes and quads to explode upward is quite a workout.

Directions:

1. Start standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms down at your sides.

2. Squat down slightly and, with force, jump as far as you can, using your arms to propel yourself forward.

3. Land softly on the balls of your feet. Immediately squat down slightly and jump forward once again.

4. Complete 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps.

11. Plié squat

Channeling dance, the plié squat is an inner thigh and glute burner.

Directions:

1. Step your feet out wide with toes pointed out.

2. Start to bend your knees, squatting down as far as you can go.

3. Push up through your heels, squeezing your inner thighs and glutes at the top.

4. Complete 3 sets of 12 reps.

12. Squat jack

Part cardio, part strength, squat jacks give you the best of both worlds. Challenge yourself to squat lower with each rep.

Directions:

1. Start standing, feet together with your arms bent and hands interlocked behind your head.

2. Jump your feet out and when they land, immediately squat down, keeping your arms where they are.

3. Extend your legs and jump your feet back to the starting position, then immediately jump back out again.

4. Complete 3 sets of 12 reps.

13. Side lunge

It’s important to work your muscles in all planes of motion. The side lunge hits the sides of your glutes and your inner and outer thighs.

Directions:

1. Start standing with your feet together and your arms out in front of you.

2. Step your right foot directly out to your side, bending your knee and pushing your butt back as you go. Keep your left leg straight and stationary.

3. Push off of your right foot, straightening your right leg and returning to start.

4. Repeat 3 sets for 12 reps.

14. Upward plank

We all know how beneficial planks are for your full body — the upward plank is no exception. In this move, your glutes are working hard to hold the weight of your body off of the ground.

Directions:

1. Start sitting with your legs extended, back bent slightly and your arms straight, palms on the ground and fingertips facing your butt.

2. Inhale and, using your core, push yourself up off the ground so your body forms a straight line from head to foot. Allow your head to fall back so your neck is in line with your spine. Hold here.

3. Begin with 10- to 15-second increments and hold as long as you’re able to keep proper form.

15. Squat pulses

Pulsing in a squat increases time under tension, which means more work on the muscle and a bigger payout.

Directions:

1. Get into a squat position, feet shoulder-width apart and hands together out in front of you.

2. Squat down, and instead of rising all the way back up, rise less than half way and drop back down.

3. Complete 3 sets of 20 pulses.

The cooldown

Stretch or foam roll after your workout to give your muscles some TLC. Our guide to foam rolling is a great place to start.

Nicole Davis is a Boston-based writer, ACE-certified personal trainer, and health enthusiast who works to help women live stronger, healthier, happier lives. Her philosophy is to embrace your curves and create your fit — whatever that may be! She was featured in Oxygen magazine’s “Future of Fitness” in the June 2016 issue. Follow her on Instagram.

Blast unwanted fat and create a knockout butt with this two-phase program from Perkins. First, the “Wake ‘Em Up” body-weight exercises are designed to light up your central nervous system and get your glutes primed and ready. “Because they are a particularly sleepy muscle group, performing light glute-activation moves prior to weighted exercises will increase subsequent glute activation,” says Perkins. Follow it up with the “Build ‘Em Up” moves, which will challenge and stimulate your glutes to encourage muscle growth and rev your metabolism.

Two to three times a week, perform three sets of each exercise for the prescribed number of reps, resting 60 seconds between sets. Do all three sets for each exercise before moving on to the next. Remember: The last two reps of every set should be tough, but not so tough that your form suffers.

1. Prone Leg Raise

Thomas Danthony

Sets: 3 • Reps: 10/12/15 • Rest: 60 seconds

Lie facedown on the floor with your head supported by crossed arms, legs shoulder-width apart, core engaged (a). Contract your glutes to lift your legs about 12 to 16 inches off the ground and bring them together to touch (b). Pause, then slowly lower back to start. That’s one rep.

2. Glute Bridge

Thomas Danthony

Sets: 3 • Reps: 10/12/15 • Rest: 60 seconds

Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor 12 to 16 inches from your butt (a). Brace your core, then press into your heels and squeeze your glutes to raise your hips toward the ceiling (b). Hold the position for two seconds before lowering to start. That’s one rep.

3. Straight-leg Hip Extension

Thomas Danthony

Sets: 3 • Reps: 15/12/12 • Rest: 60 seconds

Face a low cable machine and attach the ankle strap to your left ankle, holding the machine lightly for support. (If you don’t have access to a cable machine, use a light resistance band.) Shift your weight onto your right leg, keeping both knees soft (a). Squeeze the glutes and extend your left leg straight behind you, keeping your toes slightly flexed (b). Hold this position for two seconds. Return to start. That’s one rep. Complete all reps before switching sides.

4. Plie Squat

Thomas Danthony

Sets: 3 • Reps: 15/12/12 • Rest: 60 seconds

Stand with feet more than shoulder-width apart, toes turned outward 45 degrees. Hold a barbell across your shoulders and stand tall (a). Bend your knees to lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor, keeping your chest upright and core tight (b). Press through your heels and straighten your legs to stand. That’s one rep.

5. Walking Lunge

Thomas Danthony

Sets: 3 • Reps: 20/24/30 • Rest: 60 seconds

Place a barbell across your shoulders (a), then step your left leg forward into a lunge, bending both knees to 90 degrees (b). Press through your left heel to push up and step forward into a standing position. Step your right leg forward into a lunge and repeat. Each step is one repetition.

6. Sprinter Kickback

Thomas Danthony

Sets: 3 • Reps: 15/15/15 • Rest: 60 seconds

Face a low cable machine and attach the ankle strap to your left ankle. (You can also use a light resistance band if necessary.) Lift your left knee up in front of you, right knee bent (a). From this position, squeeze your glutes and drive your left leg back to extend your hip until your leg is straight behind you, pressing through your left heel (b). Return to start and complete all reps before switching sides.

7. Step-up

Thomas Danthony

Sets: 3 • Reps: 10/10/10 • Rest: 60 seconds

Place a barbell across your shoulders and stand in front of a stable stepping block or bench. Stand tall with your core engaged, then place your left foot on the bench (a). Driving through that heel, push yourself up on the bench (b). Step back down to the floor to return to start. Complete all reps, then switch legs.

8. Single-leg Deadlift

Thomas Danthony

Sets: 3 • Reps: 15/15/15 • Rest: 60 seconds

Hold a barbell in front of your thighs, using an overhand grip. Soften your knees and shift your weight onto your left leg (a). Hinge forward from your hips to lower the bar toward the floor, keeping it close to your body and raising your right leg behind you. Your left knee should be slightly bent, and your chest lifted, back flat, and arms straight (b). Press through your left heel and contract your glutes to reverse the movement and return to start. Complete all reps, then switch legs.

Jen Sinkler Jen Sinkler is a longtime writer and personal trainer at The Movement Minneapolis.

Hey guys! I’m here with another collection of tips to help you reach your fitness goals. Today my focus is on constructing an effective leg workout for women!

I’m often asked for advice on how to develop that killer booty and those stunning legs all women are chasing after. I usually tell them that it all starts with the way you train.

Fine tuning the ultimate booty and leg workout for women is absolutely essential to achieving a lean, toned, and strong lower body.

But knowing where to begin can be a little bit tricky. With so many workouts you can do for your legs, how are you supposed to know which ones to incorporate into your routine?

A quick online search for “leg workouts” comes up with literally dozens of exercise ideas! Whether you’re just starting out or simply looking to change things up, having so many options can definitely feel a little overwhelming.

But not to worry! I’ll totally help clear things up. I’m here to tell you which exercises you need to prioritize in order to have the best booty and legs workout ever!

Booty and Leg Workout Essentials

The main muscle groups that comprise your legs and butt are your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves. If you want to obtain that rockin bod you’re after, you can’t ignore any of them.

You won’t have enough time or energy to thoroughly focus on isolating each group in every leg workout though. That’s why it’s important to select exercises that engage multiple muscle groups.

It’s hard to say that one exercise is more important than another because they’re all important for different reasons. But there are a few exercises that are essential to any leg workout for women. This is because they’re compound exercises that effectively engage most of the muscle groups you’re trying to target!

While you should be doing other exercises as well, prioritize these three lifts during your leg workout. They’ll get you farther along the path to reaching your fitness goals than any other lower body exercises.

Squats:

Not many exercises are as all-encompassing for your lower body as the squat. Squatting works your glutes, hamstrings, and quads, and it can be done in a variety of ways.

Squats are versatile in that they can be performed effectively with added weight or just the weight of your body!

A traditional squat is great, and you can also switch it up with different squat variations. Some of the best squat varieties include:

  • Bodyweight Squat: As depicted in the above image, a bodyweight squat is performed with no added weight. Begin with your feet about shoulder-width apart and your toes turned out just slightly. You can keep your arms close to your body, or extend them for added balance.
  • Pop Squats: Begin as you would a bodyweight squat. Finish the upward motion with a small jump, landing with your feet just a few inches apart. Immediately jump back into starting position and perform another squat.
  • Wall Squats with Stability Ball: Stand with an exercise ball pinned between your lower back and a wall. Perform a squat with a straight back, keeping the ball pinned during the entire movement.

DeadLift:

Deadlifts blast your hamstrings and glutes, and also work your quads, hips, and back! The deadlift might be the most functional exercise you’ll do during your leg workout since it more closely mimics real life movements than most others.

Just remember to maintain good form. Try not to round or arch your back, but focus on keeping it as straight as possible, with your head in neutral position.

Just like with the squat, there are several variations you can try in order to target different areas. Check out each of the following:

  • Romanian Deadlift: Keep your back straight and your head neutral. As you rise with the weight to a standing position, bend your knees just slightly and avoid thrusting your hip when you reach the top of the lift.
  • Stiff-Legged Deadlift: As the name implies, the legs are kept relatively stiff during this exercise. This exercise is very similar to the Romanian deadlift, with the main difference being less bend in the knee. This leads to a better hamstring workout.
  • Single Leg Deadlift: Keep one leg on the ground while bending the knee just slightly. Your form should be similar to the stiff-legged deadlift, while the raised leg is lifted behind you and kept in line with your back. Scroll down to see a video where I demonstrate this.

Lunges:

One of the best lower body exercises, lunges work your hips, glutes, quads, and hammies!

Like squats, they don’t necessarily call for any special equipment. So you can do them anywhere!

While you don’t need to add weight when lunging, I recommend holding a set of dumbbells if you feel like it’s too easy without them.

Check out the following video for different variations you can do to target different muscles.

For each of these exercises, I suggest performing 3-4 sets, with 10-12 reps per set.

Isolate Your Legs and Booty Even More

Okay, now that we’ve gone over the core lifts of your leg workout, let’s talk about isolating each major muscle group to help you get the ultimate workout!

Quads

For a totally awesome quad circuit, check out my friend Trainer Tamara’s 4 Leg Exercises for Goddess Quads!

If you have enough energy for one more exercise once you’ve finished Tamara’s circuit, I suggest leg extensions.

Leg extensions are most effective when done on a leg extension machine, and when the weight level allows you to fully extend your leg.

Aim for 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps.

Hamstrings

After completing deadlifts, your hamstrings are probably pretty toasted, or at least they should be. But if you do feel like you have something left in the tank, go for a round of leg curls.

If you’re at the gym, head to the leg curl machine. If you’re at home, you can perform an effective bodyweight leg curl without any equipment.

This is performed by lying face down on the floor (I suggest placing a pillow under your head) and slowly bending one knee, raising the lower leg until the heel of your foot touches your butt. If you can’t quite touch heel to butt, just get as close as you can. Slowly return your leg to the starting point, and then repeat the movement using the opposite leg.

As with the other workouts, 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps should be sufficient.

Booty

The core lifts discussed earlier will definitely work your booty. But to better isolate your glutes and start building a killer butt, check out this workout template.

  1. Weighted hip thrust
  2. Single leg press
  3. Single leg deadlift with kettlebell
  4. Curtsy lunge with dumbbells
  5. Single leg bridge
  6. Weighted donkey kicks with dumbbell

I suggest 3-4 sets of each exercise and 10-12 reps per set with 60 seconds rest between each set. If you’re not familiar with some of these exercises, not to worry! You can check out my video below for a demonstration of how to effectively perform each one.

Don’t forget cardio!

Great legs are achieved by building lean muscle and burning fat. By combining aerobic exercise (traditional cardio) with weight lifting, you’ll be able to help rev up your calorie burn while working towards your lean muscle building goals.

Plus, cardio exercises such as running, stair climbing, or biking, involve your legs and can be a great warm-up to start off your leg workout!

So to obtain the maximum results from all your hard work, make a point not to skip cardio! Just don’t go so hard that you tire your legs out before your workout.

Get Started Today

Whether your fitness goal includes building lean muscle, burning fat, gaining strength, or getting toned, we all want to achieve a great pair of legs and an awesome booty.

The hardest part is getting started, but once you do the results will be awesome!

So don’t hesitate, start today!

Butt workouts for women

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