Even though our obsession with the booty has more to do with aesthetics than function, having strong glutes has everyday benefits too — preventing lower-back pain, increasing athletic performance and improving your posture. But just how do these A-listers get their backsides so perfectly round and lifted? Here's the lowdown on their best booty-building secrets.
1. Britney Spears
Britney Spears knows what it takes to build a camera-ready lower body that's also strong enough to keep up with her two active sons. In a video posted on her Instagram account, Spears works her glutes with jump squats, single-leg bicycle crunches on a BOSU ball, rapid lateral leg lifts, kettlebell swings, glute kickbacks with a resistance band, classic glute kickbacks, one-leg downward dog with some crunches and seated split stretches.
Certified personal trainer Linn Lowes says these exercises are great examples of how to target your booty during a full-body workout. By doing these moves at a rapid pace, it adds a bit of cardio too. For even more benefits, Lowes recommends adding weights or resistance to exercises like kickbacks and hip thrusters. "These moves help activate all three glute muscles; body-weight exercises alone aren't realistic for building a bigger booty," she says.
2. Jessica Biel
Jessica Biel's trainer Jason Walsh told Glamour magazine that her favorite exercises are the ones that "keep her butt healthy." And to get a butt as healthy as Biel's you need to be doing lunges — and lots of them. Walsh told Glamour that Biel does a mix of walking lunges and multidirectional lunges — she'll lunge in a circle, doing one at 12 o'clock, one at 3, one at 6 and one at 9.
"Lunges are great for targeting your glutes, especially multidirectional lunges, which help build core strength and balance," says Lowes. Keep in mind, however, that lunges also target your quads, so they're not an isolated booty move. That's why Lowes recommends adding targeted resistance band exercises like clams and variations of glute kickbacks.
3. Lea Michele
Lea Michele's secret weapon to keep her glutes in shape? The booty crossover. Trainer Erin Romney (who has trained Michele), told Health magazine she recommends doing a high number of reps three times a week in order to see results within the first two weeks. Start by holding a barre or chair and bend at the waist, balancing on your left leg. Raise your right leg to parallel with the floor and then cross your body to tap the toes on the left side.
"The booty crossover is a great warmup for glute isolation, but it's not going to really build a bigger booty," says Lowes. "Using your leg weight alone might be too light to create more muscle," she adds. If you really want a perkier peach, she recommends adding ankle weights or a band to create more resistance.
4. Kim Kardashian
You can't talk about famous celebrity backsides without including Kim Kardashian. People magazine laid out the exercises this reality star does for heavy leg day: hex deadlift squats using a cap barbell weight bar (or trap bar), weighted power sled pulls, Romanian deadlifts, seated leg presses and glute kickbacks on a weighted leg curl machine.
Lowes says that Kardashian's workout has a great variety of muscle isolation and multijoint movements and that by switching it up between heavy and light weights, she's able to really exhaust the glute muscle. That said, Lowes also recommends throwing in some cardio if your "junk in the trunk" is more fat than muscle — just remember you can't spot reduce a single area.
5. Kourtney Kardashian
Kim may garner more attention for her behind, but sister Kourtney Kardashian certainly has a booty worth mentioning. People magazine shared her favorite moves for sculpting her backside, which include leg lifts and kickbacks with a resistance band and weighted squat cleans with a kettlebell or sandbag. And the best part? All of these moves can be done at home with just a few pieces of equipment, including a resistance band and a kettlebell or sandbag.
"Leg lifts and kickbacks are great exercises because they isolate the gluteal muscles, and adding resistance bands can add a good amount of weight," says Lowes. "Squats are great for your booty as well, but they'll also hit your quads, which is great if that's what you're going for," she says.
6. Sofia Vergara
Don't tell Sofia Vergara that staying in shape gets harder as you age. The "Modern Family" actress, 45, has one of the sexiest bodies in Hollywood. To tone her backside, Vergara's trainer Gunnar Peterson told Health magazine the actress loves doing "high-knee step-ups because they challenge your balance, forcing each butt muscle to work individually." Peterson has her do 10 to 20 reps on each leg three times a week.
Lowes says that while step-ups are great for building stronger glutes, she also believes that doing a single exercise isn't going to cut it. That's why variety is key. "I recommend pairing this exercise with multi-joint movements like squats and different types of lunges or adding weights."
7. Jennifer Lopez
Sure, she has genetics on her side, but that doesn't mean JLo gets to sit back and let nature take its course. Lopez's trainer Gunnar Peterson spilled the singer's booty-building secrets to Shape magazine.
"If you want to enhance the shape of your butt as well as tone and tighten, the most important exercises are squats and lunges," Peterson told Shape. "Be sure to use weights, weights, weights and weights — and then some weights," he said. He also recommended moves like twisting lunges and a variety of squats from different angles.
"JLo's trainer has some good tips, and I completely agree with utilizing weights for any of these workouts," says Lowes. "Plus, mixing and matching all the lunges, squats, weights, bands and adding in that cardio will make it fun and sweaty at the same time."
If you want a booty like Beyonce, you better get squatting. According to an article in Shape magazine, the singer does a lot of squats and works with Miami exercise physiologist Marco Borges three to five times a week doing different strength moves on a variety of equipment. Two of the moves targeting the glutes are the body bar hip lift on a stability ball (works the glutes and hamstrings) and the single-leg extension on a stability ball (works the butt, back and hamstrings).
Borges also told Elle magazine that Beyonce works her assets by doing jumping lunges, plié jumps, pelvic lifts and reverse squat kicks. While many celeb workouts are next to impossible to duplicate, Beyonce's booty exercises are pretty doable for just about anyone.
9. Jake Gyllenhaal
To get ready for his role as a boxer for the movie "Southpaw," Jake Gyllenhaal trained like a boxer for five months, six hours a day, he told Bodybuilding.com. And the routine was grueling: running eight miles each morning, followed by sparring and body-weight exercises and two-a-day training sessions in the boxing ring, which included jumping rope, shadowboxing and heavy-bag work, plus full-body strength training workouts with compound lifts and body-weight exercises.
"It's not very realistic for the average guy to train six hours a day," says celebrity trainer Manning Sumner. "But keep in mind, Gyllenhaal was learning a skill, not just getting ripped." The takeaway from his workout, says Sumner, is that the average guy who wants to focus on his glutes should keep the training intense and primarily do Gyllenhaal's lower-body routine, which includes deadlifts, walking lunges, squats, jump squats, sprints and box jumps.
10. Dwayne Johnson
Dwayne Johnson has spent the bulk of his life building muscle, including his impressive backside. In an interview with Bodybuilding.com, the Rock said he gets a full-body workout in six days a week. His routine includes 30 to 50 minutes on the elliptical or treadmill, followed by weights. The Rock said he lifts heavy, hard and often. And to target his glutes, he does leg presses, barbell squats, barbell walking lunges, hack squats, deadlifts and hamstring work.
"The key to take from The Rock is consistency," says Sumner. "He never misses a workout, and that is how you not only hit your goals, but you keep them." One of the Rock's go-to glute exercises is the weighted hip thrust performed on the glute or booty builder. Sumner says this is a great exercise to strengthen your glutes, and you can superset it with squats or leg presses.
11. Hugh Jackman
To prep for his demanding role in "The Wolverine," Hugh Jackman spent a ton of time strengthening his legs and glutes. Jackman's trainer David Kingsbury told Bodybuilding.com that he worked with Jackman on building muscle mass by having him lift heavy weights in a low rep range — about one to five reps. Jackman's main glute-building moves include the back squat and deadlift. But it's not all about pushing heavy weight; Jackman also built his backside by changing to a higher-rep scheme and including cardio.
"Heavy resistance training is an excellent way to build your lower body and glutes," says Sumner. However, Sumner says that when using heavy weight, have a spotter close by and remember not to sacrifice form for weight. And always do warm-up sets before adding weight.
12. Chris Pratt
To get in shape for his role in "Guardians of the Galaxy," Chris Pratt exercised three to four hours a day, doing workouts like P90X, running, swimming, boxing and kickboxing, he told Men's Journal. Duffy Gaver, Pratt's trainer, told Muscle & Fitness that Pratt's workouts also include bodybuilding workouts. And to get those chiseled glutes, he does squats, high box jumps and power cleans in a circuit-style workout.
If you're exhausted just reading about his workouts, you're not alone. In fact, Sumner says that 60 minutes a day is plenty of time for the average guy. "To take his routine and put more emphasis on the glutes, include body-weight movements like squats, glute bridges, lunges, jump squats, sprints, incline sprints and butt kicks," he says.
13. Channing Tatum
Early-morning bike rides that included steep hills helped Channing Tatum's glutes look as good as they did for his role in "Magic Mike XXL." According to the Daily Mail, Tatum's trainer Arin Babaian told Alpha Magazine the actor averaged 25 miles a day, with climbs up to 2,300 feet. When he wasn't biking, he was in the pool doing workouts that included 100 laps and jump outs (like burpees in the water).
In the afternoon he performed weightlifting workouts, focusing on one body part at a time, followed by a conditioning circuit. As he got closer to shooting the movie, Tatum would also end his day with a four- to six-mile run. While this might be manageable for a set period of time (like training for a race), Sumner recommends sticking to the "water burpees," bike rides up hills, lifting weights and sprints.
14. Justin Theroux
It's no secret that boxing is a fantastic upper-body workout, but Justin Theroux — who stars in the movie "The Spy Who Dumped Me" — proves sparring can also build your lower body. Rob Piela, the owner of Gotham Gym, told Men's Health that Theroux is in his boxing gym about five times a week, boxing for 40 minutes, and then spending 20 minutes in the weight room.
"Boxing uses a lot of lower body, constantly bending, squatting and moving while throwing hands. Most of your power comes from your legs," says Sumner. To maximize the glute-strengthening benefits, Sumner recommends adding some glute bridges, lateral lunges and weighted butt kicks after a boxing session.
15. Sam Heughan
When Sam Heughan's trainer told the ultrafit celeb that his glutes needed some work, you can only guess how he responded: by upping his game, of course. James White, who is Heughan's trainer, told Men's Health that the "Outlander" star had to spend some extra time on strengthening and building his glutes for his demanding role.
To accomplish this, the trainer had Heughan dedicate one day to just training legs with a CrossFit-style workout that included front squats, deadlifts, conditioning work and even using a booty band. The best part about this workout? These exercises target all of the muscles in your lower body — not just the booty.