A proud, perky rear end makes a good, lasting impression as you're walking out the door. However, with age, many people start to lose the lift in their rear end for two reasons: loss of muscle tone and excess body fat.
Here's the good news, though: You can do the best butt-lifting exercises (see below) as part of your workout routine. The bad news is that there's no quick and easy fix for a saggy rear end. You have to lose fat and gain muscle, both of which take time and effort.
Try These Butt-Toning Exercises
Building the muscles of your rear end is crucial for lifting a saggy butt. Your backside is made up of three butt muscles, collectively called "the glutes": gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. Grow the size of these three muscles with these eight glute exercises.
For a toned butt, you're going to want to do squats —- and lots of them. According to personal trainer Mike Matthews, the squat is "the single most effective movement" for building lower-body muscle.
There are many types of squats you can do, starting with the standard body-weight squat and then adding weight for back squats, front squats and sumo squats. Single-leg squats are a more challenging progression that can be done with or without weights.
- Stand with your feet between hip- and shoulder-width apart and your toes facing forward or slightly outward.
- Keeping your feet flat on the floor and your back straight, brace your core and push your hips back and down until your thighs are parallel to the ground (or as low as you can comfortably go).
- Pause here for a brief moment, then drive through your heels to stand back up.
- Keep your back straight throughout each squat and except for the wide-legged squat, keep your feet in line with your knees.
- The deeper you squat, the higher the activation of the gluteus maximums. Get to parallel or below parallel.
- Take your feet out to 125 to 150 percent of your shoulder-width, per ExRx. Point your toes out slightly to accommodate the wider stance.
- Voluntarily contract your glutes throughout the exercise, but especially at the top of your squat, to really activate them.
- Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides.
- Initiate the movement by bending your knees slightly. Keep your chest tall as you reach your hips back behind you. You should feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Keep the dumbbells close to your legs.
- Reach your hips back as far as you can without rounding your low back or your shoulders.
- Finish the rep by driving your legs into the ground and returning to the starting position.
This move is the next best butt exercise you can do. It's a more technical lift that requires practice. Doing a deadlift with improper form can lead to injury. Again, squeeze the glutes at the top.
3. Hip Thrust
- Sit on the floor next to a loaded barbell with your mid back against the edge of a bench or box.
- Place your feet on the floor about hip-width apart.
- Place some sort of pad, pillow or towel on top of your hip bones.
- Roll the barbell onto the crease of your hips.
- Squeeze your glutes and push through your heels to raise your hips and the weight up toward the ceiling. Keep your back flat and head pointed toward the wall in front of you.
- Pause, then slowly lower your hips down to return to the starting position.
To build the glutes, also do hip thrusts, starting without weight and gradually adding weight via a heavy bag, band or barbell. Do double-leg and single-leg thrusts.
Pressing through your heels, rather than your forefoot or toes, is a great way to engage your glutes. Focus on keeping your heels glued to the floor throughout the entire exercise. (You can lift your toes up a little bit if it helps keep you honest.)
The American Council on Exercise also recommends other great exercises to lift and firm your butt, including:
- Stand holding dumbbells (optional) at your sides, palms facing in.
- Place your left foot up on a step, bench or box so that your left knee is bent round 90 degrees.
- Press through the heel of your raised foot and push your body up until your left leg is straight.
- Control your body as you lower your right foot back to the floor and return to the starting position.
- Complete all your reps on this side, then switch sides and repeat.
During this exercise, many people don't feel a ton of work in their raised leg because they spring off the non-working leg. Avoid this by focusing on your top leg, keeping your body weight out of your back leg and lowering slowly and only until your toes touch the floor.
- Start standing up tall, then step a few feet forward with your left foot.
- Bend both knees to 90 degrees, with your back knee hovering just above the ground and your front knee either over your ankle.
- You can keep your hands on your hips or hanging by your sides.
- Hold for a beat before pushing off your front foot, returning back to standing and repeating on the other leg.
6. Side-Lying Hip Abduction
- Lie on one side with your feet stacked.
- Lift your top leg away from your body.
- Lower your leg to start and repeat for your desired number of reps before switching sides.
This is one of the best outer glute exercises (along with fire hydrant below), which helps give your butt a more well-rounded (pun intended) look.
7. Fire Hydrant
- Get on the floor on all fours, shoulders over your wrists and knees below your hips.
- Lift your right knee to the right toward your hip. Stop at hip height or as high as you can comfortably.
- Lower your knee to the starting position and repeat.
- Do all reps, then switch sides and repeat.
8. Glute Kickback
- Begin kneeling on all fours, maintaining a neutral spine, tucking your chin and keeping your back flat.
- Kick one 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.
How Many Days a Week Does It Take to Build Glutes?
Aim to do a butt workout (at home or the gym) two to three times per week as part of a total-body strength-training routine.
For muscle growth, do 3 to 6 sets in the 8- to 12-rep range of each exercise. Choose a weight that's challenging enough that your glutes feel very fatigued by the last rep.
How to Lose the Fat
Muscle is firm to the touch and stays in place — it doesn't sag. But if you have excess body fat, it hangs off the muscle, causing the rear end to look saggy and soft. Losing fat is a necessary part of fixing a saggy butt.
However, you can't spot-reduce says ExRx. You can't just target your butt for fat loss. Chances are if you have excess butt fat, you have excess fat in other areas of your body. To lose fat throughout the whole body, you have get your body in a caloric deficit so you're eating fewer calories each day than you're burning.
Building muscle helps rev your metabolism so you burn more calories all day long. Lowering your calorie intake with a healthy diet and doing cardio will help you increase the deficit.
Butt-Lifting Cardio Workouts
Any type of cardio burns calories, but some types are better than others for targeting the butt. Running, stair climbing and incline walking are some of the best butt-blasting forms of cardio. Cycling, spinning, elliptical training and step aerobics are also winners.
For burning fat and building muscle, high-intensity interval training is your best bet, per the Mayo Clinic. This involves doing short bursts of intense activity, followed by a slower recovery period.
For example, alternating jogging and sprinting on the treadmill — one minute jogging, one minute sprinting, and then repeat. Do this for about 30 minutes, including a warmup and cooldown. You can also do intervals on a bike, stair climber and elliptical.
How Long Does It Take to Strengthen Your Buttocks?
Can you get a perky bum in a week? Unfortunately, no. Not with exercise, at least. But, if you're consistent with your workouts, you can start to see results in about 4 to 6 weeks. However, modest muscle growth requires about 6 to 8 weeks of consistent work, and in 6 months to a year, you can change the musculature and body composition of your butt.
Explore Even More Butt-Building Workouts
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