This exercise will not only tone your butt, but it is also one of the most proven exercises for building overall size with heavy weights. Proper execution of this exercise will kick your metabolism into high gear as well.
There are various foot positions that can be used, but I prefer positioning my feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider and angling them outward slightly. I also suggest using a Smith Machine for added safety as opposed to a freestanding barbell.
- Rest the barbell behind your neck and across your shoulders. Keeping your back straight, look forward. Always concentrate on keeping good form during this exercise.
- Now slowly bend your knees until your thighs are parallel or below parallel to the floor. Feel the stretch in your butt muscles as you push it slightly outward before slowly pushing back up.
- Make sure not to bounce the weight at the bottom position. Keep this movement steady and concentrate on stretching the gluteus muscles as you come back up.
I recommend starting this exercise with a light weight for a set of 20 reps. Rest 2-3 minutes between sets and perform a total of 5–6 sets. While performing these exercises, try to concentrate on using your gluteus muscles with each repetition.
As you get more experienced, you can perform various routines with lighter weights and higher reps and sets, or heavier weights and lower reps and sets. When you are finished, your gluteus muscles should feel tight and pumped, and soreness should kick in one to two days later.
If you are feeling this exercise more in your legs, then try positioning your feet wider. Research has shown that a wider stance targets your butt muscles more than a narrow stance. I would recommend you try both and see which works best for you.
If you are not performing this at a local gym or do not have a Smith Machine, you can also perform this with a kettlebell held firmly in both hands in front of you. Or, you could use some dumbbells in each hand at shoulder position.
2: Stair Climbing and Step-Ups
There are various ways to practice climbing stairs and performing step-up exercises. The trick is to target your butt muscles more than your leg muscles. This is accomplished by getting that stretch in that we mentioned earlier.
The best way to do this is by skipping a step or two when climbing stairs. Step-ups on a chair, a bench or any other sturdy surface at least 1.5 to 2 feet off the ground are also excellent ways to target your glutes.
If possible, use added weight, such as dumbbells or kettlebells, for greater resistance to activate more muscle fibers and thus cause more muscle growth. Climbing bleachers at your local stadium is also an awesome exercise.
3: Forward Lunges
Lunges are my second favorite after squats and will probably give you more soreness in your gluteus muscles than any other exercise. Here’s how to do it:
- Hold a pair of dumbbells with your feet straight and about shoulder-width apart.
- Keep your back straight and step forward with one leg. Always keep your ankle ahead of your knee to avoid extreme tension on your knee tendons.
- Feel the stretch in your buttocks. Short strides will target your legs more, so try wider strides to hit your butt muscles.
- Next, position yourself back into starting position by pushing off with your heel. Now repeat this with your other leg.
Perform this exercise for a total of three to four sets of eight to twelve repetitions. Beginners may have trouble balancing their body weight at first, but with practice it will get easier.
4: Plie Squats
If you would like to tone up your inner thighs while you shape your butt, this exercise is for you. There are two positions you can use to perform this exercise.
- One is to hold two dumbbells, one in each hand, up at the sides of each shoulder.
- The other is to hold the two dumbbells, or even one heavier dumbbell in front of you, positioned hanging between your legs.
Keep your back straight, legs slightly more than shoulder-width apart with toes pointing outward. Bend your knees until your legs are parallel to the floor.
Again, try to feel that stretch at the bottom of this exercise and concentrate on using your butt muscles.
5: Cable or Machine Kickbacks
This is a great exercise using a cable or pulley machine.
- First, wrap the end of the cable positioned at the bottom of the machine with an ankle wrap or cuff to one ankle.
- Facing the machine, bracing yourself and keeping your non-working leg slightly bent and your working leg straight, raise your heel backward about one to two feet until you feel your glutes squeeze tightly.
- Hold that position for one count and repeat.
6: Leg Press
The name of this exercise can be deceiving, as it not only works your legs but also gives your glutes a big workout. Using a leg press, place your feet slightly higher on the platform.
If you position your feet too low, you put more stress on the front of your legs and less on the glutes. When performing this exercise, concentrate on pushing with your heels and getting a good stretch at the bottom of the exercise.
For women, positioning the feet close together will put more emphasis on the outer sweeps of your glutes for adding roundness to your butt and giving you that feminine round butt look. Positioning your feet wider apart will give you more range and provide for a deeper stretch at the bottom of the movement. Either way, both are excellent ways to round off your butt muscles and add thickness. Also try using one leg at a time.
7: Walking Lunges
The only difference between this exercise and the standing lunges is that you keep moving forward one step at a time, rather than pushing back off your heel in the same spot. Personally I prefer this exercise over standing lunges.
If you have a long hallway and have some heavy dumbbells, try walking the length of your hallway and back again without stopping. Wow! Your butt and legs will be so tight they will feel like they are on fire!
I find that wider strides target the gluteus better than shorter strides due to the extra stretch you get in the gluteus area. If you are not feeling sore after doing this exercise, then definitely try it again with wider strides.
The deadlift is an excellent exercise that works the lower portion of your buttocks for making that smooth transition from your hamstring to your butt. This exercise can be done with either a set of dumbbells or a barbell.
- Stand straight with feet positioned approximately shoulder-width apart and a weight suitable for doing no more than 10 to 15 reps per set.
- Lower the weight to the ground and back up again.
- While lowering and lifting back up you will keep your back straight and your legs almost straight. Do not lock your knees, and keep your head facing forward.
Always make sure to warm up and use strict form when performing these exercises. Concentrate on your muscles as you perform each movement.