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The Best Butt Exercises for Women

author image Becky Miller
Becky Miller, an ACE-certified personal trainer, has designed strength training programs for people of all ages and fitness levels since 2001. She specializes in empowering women of the baby-boomer generation. Her writing career began in 2004, authoring weekly fitness columns and feature articles for the "Navarre Press" in Florida. She earned her B.S. in business from the University of Colorado.
The Best Butt Exercises for Women
A fit woman is doing barbell squats in the gym. Photo Credit Ibrakovic/iStock/Getty Images


Women have more trouble toning their butt than any other muscle group, according to Brad Schoenfeld, author of "Sculpting Her Body Perfect." In addition, the butt is where women tend to gain weight first and to make matters worse, this area is prone to cellulite. If you’re trying to improve the appearance of your butt, this can be achieved through proper diet, lots of cardio and, most importantly, by building the glute muscles through strength training exercises. This combination will lead to a firmer, perkier, tighter back side.


Lunges are one of the best exercises for the butt. There are numerous variations of lunges, with some of them targeting the butt more than others. Walking lunges, or better yet, lunging up hill is extremely effective at stimulating the glute muscles. Lunging onto a step and back is also a good option. Concentrate on pushing through your heels to activate the glute muscles. One-leg lunges, performed by standing about 3 feet in front of a bench and placing one foot behind you, with the top of your foot flat on the bench, are an excellent choice.

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Squats are another exercise that will sculpt a woman's butt. They can be done in a Smith Machine, using a ball or standing free, with barbells or dumbbells. In order to keep your back and knees safe, make sure your chest is up and look forward, not up or down. Keep your heels approximately shoulder-width apart, with your toes pointed slightly outward. As you lower your body, bend your knees and keep your hips back, way back, like you’re sitting in a chair. Don’t let your knees go past your toes and lower until your quads are parallel to the floor. As you rise, squeeze your glutes and push through your heels.

Donkey Kicks and Fire Hydrants

Get down on all fours, hands beneath your shoulders and knees below your hips. Lift one knee off the floor and in a controlled fashion, squeeze your glutes and kick back and up towards the ceiling, leading with your heel, like a donkey kick. Return to starting position and repeat 10 times. Switch to fire hydrants using the same leg by lifting your knee way out to the side, like a dog peeing on a fire hydrant. Hold for a second and lower slowly. Perform 10 reps, then repeat on the other leg.

Cable Kicks

Place a bench in front of a cable machine, with the end of the bench facing the machine. Put a cuff around your right ankle and hook yourself up to the low pulley. Position yourself on the bench, facing the machine, supporting yourself with both hands and your left knee. Start with your right leg straight down towards the floor. Raise your leg back behind you -- without bending your knee -- until your leg is parallel with the floor. Return in a slow, controlled fashion to the starting position. Repeat for reps and switch legs.

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