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by Katie Hoehn January 10, 2023 14 min read

If you're looking for some amazing exercises and tips on how to really grow and strengthen your butt ... look no further!

Now, exercising your butt isn't just for aesthetic reasons ... even though I know that's what my ladies are after. Your butt is an important muscle that facilitates movement in your posterior chain (the back side of your body).

On top of that, any time you sit, stand, walk, squat, bend over, climb, or engage your lower body ... you are probably using your glute muscles in some way! After all, they are the biggest muscles in your body - the gluteus maximus being the biggest.

But, no matter why you're trying to grow your butt, we can help make it happen!

In this article, I'll cover 15 of the best exercises for your butt, and even run you through a few example workouts!

Side note: You'll want to stick around for the booty burner I include at the end!

15 of the Best Butt Exercises

I won't keep you waiting any longer ... I'm sure you're excited to get after it.

I'll break down each one of the exercises with the equipment you'll need, and exactly how to do them. That way, there's no question whether you're doing the exercise correctly or not.

Workouts For Beginners

Don't worry about whether the exercise is too hard or too easy for you either. I'm also going to explain a way you can increase or decrease the difficulty to match your fitness level for each movement.

Get ready for one kick a** workout! Yes, pun intended!

1. Goblet Squat

Primary Muscles: Glutes, Quadriceps, Adductors

Secondary Muscles: Lower Back, Calves

Equipment: One Dumbbell or Kettlebell

How To:

Grab one end of the dumbbell (under the top of the weight) or one kettlebell (by the “horns” close to the bottom of the bell) with both hands. The better your grip, the more weight you can use!

Bring the weight close to your body, keeping it at chest height. Your elbows should be underneath the weight, pointing toward the ground. From here, place your feet shoulder width apart.

Keeping your chest up, lower into a full squat, bringing your elbows between your knees. Squeeze your glutes, push through your heels, and stand upright again with the weight. This is one rep.

Progression - Make it Harder:

Do some Zercher Squats! Set up a squat rack with a barbell at about chest height. Get close to the bar, hook it in the crook of your elbows, and clasp your hands together. Keep the bar close to your body, take a step back into your starting position, and follow the last two steps above ... lowering into a full squat, then squeezing your glutes and pushing through your heels to stand upright.

Regression - Make it Easier:

Lose the weight! Instead, hold both your hands right by your chest under your chin and perform the exercise.

2. Barbell Hip Thrust

Primary Muscles: Glutes

Secondary Muscles: Hamstrings and Adductors

Equipment: Barbell (weighted or not), Bench

How To:

Add the appropriate weights to each end of your barbell (if you choose) and set it up in front of the long end of your bench. Sit on the ground so that your legs are extended in front of you and the bar is at your feet. Rest your upper back on the bench.

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Grab the barbell and roll it over your legs until it meets your hips. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor, shoulder width apart, with an overhand grip on the bar. You will still be seated and your upper back will still be on the bench.

Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to lift the barbell with your hips. Make sure your head stays in line with your torso and your eyes are looking straight ahead.

When you can't bring the bar any higher, squeeze your glutes and hold for a second. Then, slowly lower your hips and the bar back to their starting position. Your knees should be bent, feet flat on the floor, and upper back on the bench.

If the barbell digs into your hips, causing discomfort ... try wrapping the barbell with a yoga matt or towel where it sits on your hips.

Progression - Make it Harder:

Add a band! Place a small resistance band around your legs at or just below your knees.

Regression - Make it Easier:

No Bar! Just use a band or your body.

3. Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift

Primary Muscles: Glutes, Lower Back, Hamstrings

Secondary Muscles: Adductors, Trapezius, Forearm Flexors

Equipment: Two Dumbbells

How To:

Grab a set of dumbbells, one in each hand with your arms by your sides. Let them rest on your thighs/hips. Roll your shoulders down and back, suck your belly button into your spine, and tighten your core.

Keep your back straight, head neutral, and your knees slightly bent. Slowly lean your body forward while sending your hips behind you (like you are closing a door with your butt). At the same time, lower the dumbbells along the front of your legs.

When you can no longer stretch your hamstrings (without rounding your back) and the dumbbells reach the middle of your shins … reverse the movement, bringing your hips back in and dragging the dumbbells back up your body.

Progression - Make it Harder:

Try a single-leg deadlift! Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and raise one leg off the floor. Grab one dumbbell in the opposite hand from the leg you are standing on. Keep your neck in line with your spine and send your hips back with your leg lifting up behind you until your upper body and leg are both are parallel with the floor. Squeeze the glutes as you stand up.

Regression - Make it Easier:

Lower the weight, or use a kettlebell! Just grab a kettlebell with both hands and follow the steps above.

4. Banded Hip Abduction

Primary Muscles: Abductors

Secondary Muscles: Glutes

Equipment: Small Resistance Band, Bench

How To:

Sit on a bench and place the band slightly above or below your knees. Hold on to the bench behind you and lean backward at a 45-degree angle.

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Pulse your knees out & in, fighting the resistance of the band, and keeping your feet on the ground. Make sure you are keeping the tension on the bands for the entire number of reps. Don't let your knees come together. You can do this sitting straight up or leaning slightly forward as well.

Progression - Making it Harder:

Add extra weight by using an abductor machine. All you have to do is adjust the weight on the machine to challenge yourself. Push the pads out by moving your legs apart as far as possible. Then, slowly return your legs back to the midline of your body.

Regression - Making it Easier:

Try side lying hip abductions - no weight needed! Just lie on your side with your legs out straight and your bottom arm resting under your head (your body should be in a straight line from head to toe). Flex your foot and lift your top leg up to 45 degrees and then slowly lower it back down to meet your other leg.

You can also add a slight bend in your knee to the bottom leg for extra stability.

5. Box Squat

Primary Muscles: Quads, Glutes, Adductors, Lower Back

Secondary Muscles: Calves

Equipment: Barbell, Squat Rack, Box/Bench

How To:

Find a box that will allow you to squat to 90 degrees or a little lower than parallel. Set the box so that it’s behind you slightly. It shouldn’t be directly under the bar.

When the box is ready, get under the bar, unrack it, and position yourself where you can sit back onto the box comfortably. Squat down slowly, sitting all the way down until your entire butt is on the box.

Relax and allow all of your weight to sit on the box for a couple seconds and keep your feet on the ground. Push through your heel and squeeze your glutes until you are back up to standing upright.

Progression - Making it Harder:

Lower the box or do single leg pistol box squats (no weight). For pistol squats, stand facing away from the box. Extend your arms out in front of your body. Balance on one leg with the opposite leg extended straight in front of you off the ground. Squat down while keeping your opposite leg off the floor.

Keep your back straight throughout the entire movement. When your butt reaches the bench, stand back up until your knee is straight. Repeat this and then switch to the other leg.

Regression - Making it Easier:

Use your body weight - No bar needed!

6. Frog Pumps

Primary Muscles: Glutes

Secondary Muscles: Upper and Lower Abs, Quads, Lower Back

Equipment: None!

How To:

Lay on your back and press the soles of your feet together with your knees out to the side.

At Home Workout Guide

Draw your heels in as close to your butt as you can.

Keep your hands resting on your hips, your elbows on the floor, and the rest of your body on the ground.

Press down into the floor through your feet and squeeze your glutes as you thrust your hips to the ceiling.

Pause at the top of the movement and lower yourself back down.

Progression - Making it Harder:

Add a pair of dumbbells! Instead of your hands resting on your hips, rest a set of dumbbells on your hips.

Regression - Making it Easier:

Clamshells - Lie on your side with your feet and hips stacked. Bend your knees to 90 degrees, feet in line with your butt and rest your head on your arm. Keeping your feet together, raise your top knee as far as you can without rotating your hip. Squeeze your glutes, then slowly lower your top leg.

Take turns doing this on both sides of your body.

7. Glute Bridge

Primary Muscles: Glutes, Hamstrings

Secondary Muscles: Adductors

Equipment: None.

How To:

Lay on your back, bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor. Your arms are going to be by your side and just outside your feet.

Press your heels into the floor and lift your hips off the ground

Raise them as high as you can and squeeze your glutes at the top (pretend there is a straight line from your knees through your hips to your shoulders).

Hold for a couple of seconds and lower yourself back down.

Progression - Making it Harder:

Add a band, a weight or try a single leg where one leg is extended in the air!

8. Bulgarian Split Squats

Primary Muscles: Quads, Glutes, Adductors

Secondary Muscles: Calves

Equipment: Bench

How To:

Place one foot about 2-3 feet in front of the bench and the other on the bench behind you. Your “shoelaces” will be on the edge of the bench behind you.

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Keeping your chest up and shoulders back ... lower your hips down, sending your back knee directly toward the ground with your front knee making a 90-degree angle.

Just before your knee touches the ground, press your front foot into the ground (like you're pushing the floor down) to drive your body up until you are back to the starting position.

Progression - Making it Harder:

Hold a set of dumbbells in your hands or place a barbell on your back to add some resistance.

Regression - Making it Easier:

Body Weight Split Squats - Take a giant step back with one of your legs onto the ball of your foot as if you are going to do a lunge. From here, tuck your hips and lower yourself down so that your knee touches the ground, and stand up through your front foot.

9. Dumbbell Walking Diagonal Lunges

Primary Muscles: Glutes, Hamstrings, Quads

Secondary Muscles: Calves

Equipment: Two Dumbbells

How To:

Hold a set of dumbbells at your sides, shoulders rolled back.

Instead of lunging straight forward, you are going to take a big angled step (toward a 45-degree angle - think the corner of the room).

Keeping your hips facing forward, bend your front knee and lower into your lunge, keeping your back leg as straight as you can.

Push through both of your feet to stand up towards that front leg and then repeat to the other side.

Progression - Making it Harder:

Use a Barbell or add a band above your knees for added resistance.

Regression - Making it Easier:

Ditch the dumbbells and use your body weight!

10. High Step Ups

Primary Muscles: Quads, Glutes, Adductors

Secondary Muscles: Hamstrings

Equipment: Higher step, bench or box

How To:

Standing in front of the box or bench, place one foot on top with your heel flat, and leave your other foot on the ground.

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Keep your chest up nice and tall, and point your knee slightly outward.

Squeeze your core and push up off the ground through your front heel to bring yourself to standing on the box.

Slowly bring the same leg back to the ground to return to the starting position.

Perform all reps on one side, and then switch.

Progression - Making it Harder:

Grab a pair of dumbbells and keep one in each hand as you perform the exercise! This will add a ton of resistance and make it much more difficult.

Regression - Making it Easier:

Lower the box or step.

11. Banded Side Step

Primary Muscles: Adductors

Secondary Muscles: Glutes

Equipment: Small Resistance Band

How To:

Step inside the resistance band, leaving it at your ankles or bringing it just above your knees.

Space your feet to be shoulder width apart, creating a little tension on the band (you don’t want your knees or ankles touching).

Keep your chest up and slightly bend your knees so you are in a half squat position. From here, slowly step outside of shoulder width to one side of your body with one leg.

Step your opposite leg in the same direction, bringing both of your feet to shoulder-width apart.

Repeat this movement for a set amount on each side, then switch.

Progression - Making it Harder:

Rack two dumbbells up onto your shoulders.

Regression - Making it Easier:

No band, just use your body!

12. Sumo Squat

Primary Muscles: Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes, Inner Thighs

Secondary Muscles: Abs

Equipment: One Dumbbell

How To:

Grab one end of a dumbbell with both hands and let it hang in your arms in front of your body. Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and pointing 30 to 45 degrees out to the sides (this is called sumo stance).

Allow your arms to rest on the front of your body so that the other end of the dumbbell hangs between your legs.

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Lean forward slightly keeping your back straight and your neck neutral.

Lower slowly until your thighs are parallel to the floor.

Drive up through the heels and squeeze your glutes to bring yourself back to standing.

Progression - Making it Harder:

Tempo - Lower slowly for 4 seconds, pause at the bottom for 3 seconds, slowly stand for 2 seconds, then pause for 1 second to squeeze and repeat.

OR

Elevated - Stand with your feet on two benches, steps, boxes, or plates and repeat the above. This will allow you a little more depth!

Regression - Making it Easier:

Drop the weight and use your body! If you want to spice it up, add a little pulse at the bottom before you stand.

13. Cable Glute Kickback

Primary Muscles: Glutes

Secondary Muscles: Hamstrings

Equipment: Cable Machine, Ankle Strap

How To:

Attach the ankle strap to the lowest position (pulley on the ground) and select your weight.

Face toward the machine with the strap around one of your ankles

Standing with your feet next to one another, hold onto the machine.

Keep your body upright and raise your leg straight back as far as you can go, pause, and then lower slowly. This is one rep.

Progression - Making it Harder:

Increase the weight and add a little pulse at the top, keeping your foot off the ground the entire time

Regression - Making it Easier:

Banded - Place a band around your ankles, standing on one leg, lift one back behind you ever so slightly and pulse.

14. Donkey Kicks

Primary Muscles: Glutes and Hip Flexors

Secondary Muscles: Abs

Equipment: None

How To:

Start in the tabletop position on all 4's, hands under your shoulders, and knees under your hips. Keep your core tight and your spine neutral.

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Shift a little bit of weight to your right side and bend your knee to 90 degrees.

Kick your opposite leg behind you with your foot flexed toward the ceiling.

Squeeze your glute as you kick your leg up and back as far as you can.

Return your left leg to its starting position and alternate sides.

Progression - Making it Harder:

Place a dumbbell in the crook of your knee or add a resistance band above your knees.

Regression - Making it Easier:

Keep your back leg straight and raise it up and down.

15. Dumbbell Curtsey Lunge

Primary Muscles: Quadriceps, Glutes

Secondary Muscles: Calves

Equipment: Two Dumbbells

How To:

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and dumbbells in each hand, arms by your sides, with your chest up.

Shift your weight onto your right foot and take a step back with your left leg so that it is crossing behind (as if you were curtseying). Place your left foot directly behind your right foot.

Once your foot is on the floor, slowly begin to lower your hips and bend your right knee so your thigh is parallel to the floor. Keep your chest up the entire time.

Pushing through your right heel, lift yourself out of the lunge and return back to where you started. Complete reps on both sides.

Progression - Making it Harder:

Use a Barbell - Rack the barbell on your traps (as if you are going to squat) instead of having the dumbbells by your sides. This will allow you to increase the weight a little bit as well.

Regression - Making it Easier:

Fire Hydrants - Get in the same position we started in for Donkey Kicks and shift your weight to one knee. Keeping your leg bent, lift it out to the side until it's at hip height. Squeeze your glutes and repeat on the same side for desired reps and switch.

3 SAMPLE WORKOUTS + 1 BOOTY BURNER!

Now that we've looked at some exercises, let’s put them into action with these three sample workouts! I'll run you through a complete bodyweight workout that you can do anywhere, including the next time you're in the gym!

How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle?

Body Weight Workout (No Equipment)

Complete 3 sets of 15-20 reps of each exercise:

• Glute Bridges

• Donkey Kicks

• Body weight Diagonal Walking Lunges

• Frog Pumps

• Body weight Goblet Squats

Gym Workout

Complete 3 sets of 10-12 reps of each exercise:

• Barbell Hip Thruster

• Dumbbell Sumo Squat

• Bulgarian Split Squats

• Box Squats

• High Step Ups

• Cable Glute Kickback

BOOTY BLASTER

Let me just say, your glutes will be on FIRE after this one… 4 Exercises, 4 Rounds, Chipping down from 10 reps each leg!

You’ll start with the first exercise and do 10 reps right, 10 reps left, then 9 and 9, 8 and 8, 7 and 7 all the way down to 1 and 1. Rest for 30 seconds and move onto the second, third and fourth exercise, repeating the same countdown as above.

Straight Leg Up and Crossovers

Start on all 4s, hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Keep your core tight and your spine neutral.

Kick one leg up and straight behind you then cross it over your bottom leg touching the ball of your foot just outside of your opposite ankle (of the bent leg)

Raise it up and then touch it straight down to the floor and repeat going up and over

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 each side, rest 3 seconds and move on to repeat the same for the remaining 3 exercises...

• Banded Hip Abduction or Clamshells

• Donkey Kicks

• Sumo Squats

HOW CAN YOU MAXIMIZE YOUR RESULTS FROM THESE EXERCISES AND YOUR BOOTY WORKOUTS?

While all of these exercises are great for toning, strengthening your butt and even shaping your glutes, if you truly want to get all the benefits ... you need to make sure you are recovering properly!

It’s what you do with the other 23 hours of your day that matters most when it comes to building muscle. Proper nutrition and recovery are needed for your body to repair and build your muscles back stronger.

Post Workout Stack

The best thing you can do to start recovering faster right away is prioritizing your post-workout nutrition. With resistance training style workouts like all the exercises and workouts above, taking a rapid digesting form of carbs and protein immediately after the workout.

On top of proper post-workout nutrition, you should be prioritizing your diet as a whole.

If you're not sure where to get started to see the best results possible ... we're here to help.

Don't hesitate to reach out to us or download the 1st Phorm App. Inside the app, you'll get access to your own NASM Certified Personal Trainer & Certified Sports Nutrition Coach. You'll also get the ability to choose between tons of different training styles.

So whether you're looking for workout help, diet help, or anything else to help you reach your goals ... we have your back.

Katie Hoehn
Katie Hoehn

Katie Hoehn Registered Dietitian ACE Certified Personal Trainer ACE Fitness Nutrition Specialist ACE Youth Fitness Specialist 1st Phorm App Advisor