Every exercise has its haters, and the squat is no exception. While they're an extremely functional lower-body exercise, they're far from the only booty-building option out there.
In fact, because squats tend to be quad-dominant, exercises that specifically target your glutes are even better for your butt-building endeavors.
If you're looking to make your butt look bigger (and get stronger in the process), you need to target all three muscles that make up your glutes: your gluteus maximus, medius and minimus.
While the gluteus maximus often gets all the attention (it's the biggest of the three, after all), building your gluteus medius and minimus helps give you that "high and tight," well-rounded derrière (pun definitely intended).
Ready to get started? Carolina Araujo, CPT, recommends you train your glutes two to three times a week, giving your body sufficient recovery between sessions.
Incorporate these four exercises into your next leg-day workout, performing four sets of 10 reps for each.
For every move, remember to focus on contracting your glutes with each exercise to get blood flowing to the muscles, Araujo says. This can help give your butt the stronger shape you're looking for. (Muscle pump isn't limited to biceps and shoulders!)
1. Barbell Hip Thrust
- Begin seated on the ground with a barbell across your lap, leaning against a weight bench where the lower part of your shoulder blades align with the edge of the bench.
- Position your feet hip-width apart with ankles and knees in alignment.
- Externally rotate your feet by slightly pointing your feet out to target your gluteus medius.
- With your chin tucked, press through your heels and elevate your hips, contracting your glutes.
- Once your glutes are parallel to the ground, lower back to the ground.
2. Seated Hip Abduction
- Loop a mini band around your thighs, a few inches above your knees.
- Sit down on a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Keep your back straight and your shoulders back.
- Engage your core and slowly separate your knees away from each other as far as you can, moving against the tension of the band.
- Slowly return your knees back to the starting position.
- Lie flat on your stomach with your arms and legs extended out straight.
- Engage your core and squeeze your glutes and lift your arms, chest and legs off the ground. Remember to keep your legs straight throughout the movement so that your glutes stay engaged.
- Pause for a moment, then release back down.
4. Glute Kickback
- Begin kneeling on all fours, maintaining a neutral spine, tucking your chin and keeping your back flat.
- Kick your right leg back behind you with your knee bend at a 90-degree angle, rotating your foot slightly away from your body. Raise your leg toward the ceiling and squeeze your glutes at the top of the motion.
- Keeping your back flat, lower your leg back to the starting position. Once you complete all the reps on one leg, repeat on the other.
You can make this exercise more challenging by using either the cable machine or resistance band. From this position, you can also do fire hydrants (knee starts on the floor then lifts out to the side).