The Only 6 Exercises You Need for the Ultimate Butt Workout

Strengthening your lower body can 100 percent give you a bigger butt (and a rounder one). But strategic butt workouts complement the big lifts, like squats and deadlifts. That means strengthening your glutes can make your gains in the weight room skyrocket — all while, perhaps most importantly, improving your form significantly.

Butt workouts can make your bum bigger if you're incorporating the right exercises into your routine.
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Why Glute Exercises Are So Important

Your butt is made up of three muscles: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. Collectively, your glutes play a major role in your body's overall stabilization, Nicholas Rizzo, exercise biologist and director of fitness research at RunRepeat, tells LIVESTRONG.com. When your glutes are weak, your body is forced to distribute the load that should be on your glutes to other body parts.

That can "lead to a significant deterioration in your posture because of how it forces other parts of your body to overcompensate," Rizzo says. One common example: a chronic anterior tilt, where a person's pelvis is tilted down, putting greater stress on the lower back.

Over time, that can hurt. "When other muscles have to overcompensate for your glutes, it increases the likelihood of injury to areas like your lower back, groin, hamstrings and even your knees," Rizzo says.

Stronger butt muscles also mean greater progress toward your fitness goals. "Strengthening your glutes will help you develop explosive power that translates into your overall strength, conditioning, speed and agility, vertical leap and how quickly you are able to move or change directions," Rizzo says.

Before You Get Started

Try this five-minute glute activation routine before every butt workout.

The 6 Best Butt Exercises and How To Do Them

For the strong butt you're after, try these six butt exercises during your next lower-body gym session.

Move 1: Barbell Hip Thrust

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"Hip thrusts are a phenomenal way to develop the size, overall strength and explosive power of your glutes," Rizzo says. Body-weight hip thrusts are highly effective, but you can make consistent progress by adding a barbell, which "adds increased weight plus a level of instability that will make the movement more intense and rewarding," he says.

  1. Set up a sturdy box or bench so that it won't move when you rest your back on it.
  2. Load a barbell with weight plates. Choose a weight that's challenging but won't compromise your form.
  3. Sit on the floor with your upper back resting on the bench or box. Roll the barbell up to your hips.
  4. With your knees bent and your feet planted firmly on the ground and close to your butt, drive your hips upward, squeezing your glutes and keeping your core engaged, until your hips are parallel to the ground.
  5. Lower yourself back down until you are sitting on the floor and repeat.

Tip

Make sure to keep your head in line with your spine. If the weight you choose is too heavy, you may find yourself straining your neck.

Move 2: Walking Lunge

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Not only are walking lunges a great butt exercise, but they're a great conditioning exercise for your entire lower body. You can perform walking lunges with just your body weight or with dumbbells, kettlebells or a barbell. (You'll move forward, rather than staying in one spot as demonstrated above.)

  1. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart.
  2. With control, take a step forward with your right foot. Make sure your foot is entirely flat on the ground. Sink into the step until your left knee hovers just above the ground.
  3. Use your legs and glutes to push out of the bottom of the lunge, bringing your left foot to meet your right foot.
  4. Repeat, this time taking a step forward with your left foot.

Tip

Remember to keep your torso upright, your shoulders over your hips and your core tight throughout the entire movement.

Move 3: Superman

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This exercise teaches you how to utilize your glutes instead of compensating with your lower back.

  1. Lie on your stomach on the floor with your arms above your head and legs straight.
  2. At the same time, lift your legs, arms and chest off the floor. Only your stomach and hips should be in contact with the floor.
  3. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement before lowering back to the floor. Repeat.

Move 4: Banded Lateral Walk

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Lateral movements challenge your hip abductors, which include all of the hip muscles responsible for moving your leg away from the midline of your body, as well as your gluteus medius (the side of your butt).

  1. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and a mini resistance band looped just above your ankles.
  2. Step your right leg to the right, then follow it with your left leg, always keeping tension in the band.
  3. Continue to shuffle to the side for 10 steps, then repeat in the other direction.

Move 5: Donkey Kicks

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Once you've mastered this "simple yet effective" body-weight glute exercise, you can challenge yourself by adding a resistance band, Rizzo says. "It will strengthen your glutes and hip flexors in a way that also recruits your core into the exercise."

  1. Start on all fours in tabletop position.
  2. Using your glutes, lift your right heel toward the ceiling. Keep your knee bent and don't arch your back.
  3. Slowly lower your right knee back to the floor and repeat on the left side.

Tip

To make this harder, hold the handles of a resistance band that's looped around the foot of your working leg.

Move 6: Single-Leg Bridge

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Bridge exercises primarily target the glutes, but the single-leg variation to the basic bridge shown above also recruits stabilizer muscles and your core to a greater degree, Rizzo says, making this move the perfect all-around glute builder.

  1. Lie on your back with your left leg straight and your right leg bent with your right foot flat on the floor.
  2. Push your hips up using your right leg only and squeeze tightly at the top before lowering yourself back down.
  3. Switch sides and repeat.

Read more: Tired of Squats? Try These 7 Lower-Body Exercises Instead

Put It All Together

The six exercises above can come together for a well-rounded (pun totally intended) glute-and-leg day at the gym. Here's how to get it done.

Superset 1: Barbell Hip Thrust and Superman

  1. Perform 10 barbell hip thrusts
  2. Immediately follow with 10 supermans.
  3. Rest for one minute.
  4. Repeat two more times for a total of 3 sets.

Superset 2: Walking Lunges and Donkey Kicks

  1. Perform 20 walking lunges (10 on each leg).
  2. Immediately follow with 20 donkey kicks (10 on each leg).
  3. Rest for one minute.
  4. Repeat two more times for a total of 3 sets.

Superset 3: Banded Lateral Walk and Single-Leg Bridges

  1. Take 20 banded lateral steps (10 in each direction) and then rest for 30 seconds.
  2. Repeat two more times for a total of 3 sets.
  3. Hold a single-leg bridge for 30 seconds on each leg, then rest for 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat two more times for a total of 3 sets.

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